New York, one of the world’s largest cities, is the absolute land of opportunities, adventure, and fun. If you have never traveled to New York before, there are many things no one will tell you about the city but some of which you need to learn on your own. There is a lot to do and see in New York City. It is vast enough that you wouldn’t navigate it on a single trip, so I guess you will still need more trips to learn about the city. The large crowds may intimidate you for the first time, but you can use some tips to help you maneuver like a pro. Here are some of the essentials you should know as you prepare to visit the big city.
when you get to the airport
When you travel to New York, your Cathay Pacific plane will land at JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark international airports. That is where your navigation into the city begins. Ensure you have a transportation plan beforehand to avoid confusion when you arrive. Label your luggage and ensure it is manageable to carry on your own. Do not leave it unattended, even if you are going to the washroom. Also, avoid leaving your stuff on counters and be hesitant when someone asks to help you with the luggage, especially at a lower cost.
New York cabs
You will quickly notice yellow taxis all over the city when you arrive. Note that NYC cabs are identifiable. They are yellow with a roof light that indicates the driver’s medallion number. It is also easy to spot the ID number. If you don’t see any of those things, be hesitant about hopping into the passenger’s seat. Other cabs such as Lyfts and Ubers are available in the city, but they are not regulated by NYC Taxi and Limousine Authorities, so they may be a bit expensive, and you should use them with caution. Remember to tip the taxi-driver when you arrive at your destination.
Accommodation hotel rooms are available all over the city. Find a safe hotel room by reading hotel reviews beforehand and finding out about its location. When you arrive at the airport, head over to your hotel room immediately. You don’t want to be walking around with your luggage. Deposit your valuables safely and ask the hotel attendant about the safety of your things before you leave.
Give yourself more time to move around.
This is important if you are in New York for business meetings and appointments requiring serious timekeeping. Many new Yorkers will tell you that it is easy to move around the city with all subways, cabs, Ubers, etc. But what they don’t tell you is that you may get stuck in traffic and miss out on an important meeting. So, have that in mind and allow yourself some extra time in your schedule to move around. Be prepared for subway delays, stalled lines, traffic jams, and other mishaps that may inconvenience you. For instance, if it takes 30minutes to get somewhere, plan for extra 10minutes or more. After all, it is better to arrive earlier than to miss a critical appointment.
Hailing a cab in the city
Please do not assume that the movie way of quickly getting on the road and waving a taxi, then it comes to a standstill immediately, and you hop in will work for you. That is just the glamourous movie thing. To hail a taxi in New York, look out for taxi tops whose lights are on. That indicates that the driver doesn’t have a passenger on board. If the light is off, then the taxi is already engaged. If the driver has turned on their off-duty lights, they won’t be stopping for any passenger.
Visit the times square.
Do not leave the city before visiting the times Square. It is a busy intersection that holds much history of the city, and it was named that in 1904 when the New York headquarters moved there. It is a commercialized epicenter today, and you will find all sorts of chaos, overpriced stuff, and dazzling scenes. All the same, walk around the intersection, take your photos and move ahead to other parts of the city.
Do not stop in the middle of a walkway.
You do not want to frustrate new yorkers. If you are walking in a walkway, keep on walking. The city people move in an orchestrated line, so when tourists stop to take photos, it pisses them off. Suppose you want to take a picture, step away from the sidewalk and do your thing. Otherwise, keep on walking.
When walking around the city
Always plan before you leave the room as you enter the city. Cross streets that will be easy for you to get back to your hotel room and note the landmarks. Pay great attention to traffic rules, cyclists, and cars. Stick to the main pathways and streets and use well-lighted and populated streets when you are walking at night. Also, save your heels for a night out and wear comfortable shoes to explore the city with. You will have to endure long walks, so you need a comfortable pair of shoes. When you lose your way, ask a shop owner to direct you or lookout for a police officer. Keep your items close to you as you do not want to risk being wallet lifted in the middle of the city.
Tipping is a culture.
You have heard people say that tipping is a culture among the westerners. It’s precisely that in New York. Tip in restaurants, taxis, cabbies, bellhops, or any other services you receive. In fact, for many taxis, you will find an automated payment system whereby you select a tipping percentage based on the services rendered, then you top it up on the fare as you pay. A tip of 15-20% of the bill is good at restaurants.
The bottom line
Keep in mind that new york is a great city with lots of friendly people. Do not always worry about doing anything wrong. If anything, technology is available to help you explore the city. Navigate the city with confidence by using common sense and having your safety tips in mind at all times. Lastly, take more photos and make more memories.