Travelling solo to New York City (NYC) can be a scary thought at first, daunting for most. I wouldn’t even recommend NYC for first timers solo travellers, even navigating the subway will scare the wits out of you!
Time Square was in my bucketlist for the longest time, so NYC here I come! From my experience and many months of pre-trip research, I came up with a list of essential tips for conquering NYC solo.
When using the subway, note the numbers and letters.
The colors don’t matter here even though when you ask questions around they say take the red or blue line, note the numbers and letters for your destination. On the map, you will also notice white dots and black dots on the train stop. Black dots are trains that stop at every train stations, while the white ones are the express trains ones. You can download the New York Subway map here.
Be a new yorker for a day or while you’re there.
Dine local. Dress local. Blend in. And try the hotdog stand!
New York city is full of people! The sidewalk crowd can be overwhelming at first but if you need directions, smile and ask around. They can be helpful and accommodating. One specific road rule though: Never, ever, suddenly stop on the busy sidewalk to take a selfie or read your guide book or map or suddenly stop at the entrance of the train on the busy subway to take a selfie. This irate most the busy New Yorkers who are always on the run to somewhere and when you have to suddenly stop, they bump into you. Trust me you will be the at the receiving end of i-hate-tourists-look.
Set aside a free museum day.
This city abounds with free museums depending on which day of the week it is. Do not just go to one museum expecting it to be open and offer free entrance to visitors. There are days that they do open for free to visitors. Here’s a link to the website that can guide you which museums are free and on which day.
New York is a beautiful, enthralling city but still watch out for negative elements around here. Watch your stuff and valuables especially in crowded department stores and shops. One of the most known strategy here is some elderly asking for your help to fit tight gloves while someone else is taking a peek at your handbag while you’re distracted. Watch out also for pickpockets in a crowded and packed subways. Just be alert always and trust your guts.
Buy the city pass online.
If you want to experience the top of the rock 360 degree view of NYC and the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island then get the New York City Pass. Included in this city pass is also the entrance to The Metropolitan Museum of Art and 9/11 Memorial. It’s valid for 9 days and you can save up to around $70.00. Before getting one, decide first on what activities interest you most when you reach the big apple. Because if you are not the museum type of person, then this city pass is not for you. I enjoyed the Top Of The Rock most because its one of the best places that you can get a view from the top of New York. Plus I was able to do my trademark 360 degree video 🙂
A lot. Manhattan is a big huge sidewalk. It’s the best way to learn the many one way streets here and where the landmarks are and when you get tired, sit and people watch in the many coffee shops that have mushroomed in the outskirts of Manhattan. Plus if you do flag a taxi here, you will be transported to a place where time stood still because you’re stuck in a horrendous traffic jam.
I have long dreamed of seeing New York City and the taking a selfie at Time Square. I am a big fan of crime TV series with locations shot in New York and I would sigh and say to myself, “I would get to see that NYPD neon light someday.” And I did. Solo! From some of the forums that said the city would be scary and dirty and crowded, I still see it as a city of beautiful approachable people, and they were just going on their way to home or work or school. They’re just that. People who needed to get on with their day. Like me, just someone who needs to be on my way.
If its your first time to go to NYC, just blend in, be new yorker for a day, smile and have fun!
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