Thursday, 30 April 2015

life | top 5 tips and tricks to New York

After coming back from my first holiday away in New York, I've got definite holiday blues. 
Over my week long trip in the city that never sleeps, I picked up a few tips and tricks that I wanted to share with you - they're stuff I'd have wanted to know if I was about to head to the Big Apple for my first ever holiday.

1. What to Pack
This one is by far the biggest tip for me. I'd say you have to be prepared for all kinds of weather in New York - no matter what time of year you're there. It was meant to be warm and sunny for our entire trip there, but the weather turned freezing cold half way through the week - so much so it actually snowed one day. SNOWED. IN APRIL.
Another biggie is pack comfortable footwear - I can't stress this one enough. And they have to be seriously comfy - there's a difference between comfy shoes for a few hours shopping and comfy shoes you can walk for genuine miles in. On our first full day in NY, we walked for more than 6 miles - and my feet were ruined already. Leading on to me telling you to pack plasters and blister patches - a god send!

2. Plan your Days
This one I'd say is pretty obvious. New York is a massive city - and chances are you'll only be visiting for a week tops. Which means you have to try and fit a LOT into a short amount of time. I found it best to plan days around different places you'll be within the city. So if you're planning on going to the MET or American Museum of History, plan it for the same day as going around Central Park as they're all really close. And if you're heading down to Lady Liberty, consider visiting the 9/11 memorial or Brooklyn Bridge whilst you're downtown. 
Find yourself a map, make a list of where you want to go and see, and try to make them match up.

Ernest Klein and Company deli

3. Research places to eat
In New York, it's obvious that you can throw a stone and hit a food place, but whether it's actually good is a whole other story. Lets just say that with the amount of tourists in NYC, it's easy to find yourself eating at really terrible places just because they're there. So I'd say Trip Advisor and Yelp become your best friends - if you have wifi or access to the internet, plan where you're going for the day and then check out places near that have good reviews. 
When we were visiting, we wanted to find fairly healthy places to eat - I'm not really a greasy burger kind of girl and much prefer some good old roasted veg and salmon. So for me, deli's became a god send - most of them do huge hot and cold buffets that you can just help yourself to. Two of my favourites were the Ernest Klein and Company deli, on 6th Ave near Central Park, and the Cucina Liberta deli, on Battery Place near Lady Liberty.
Also can't forget Dough - they genuinely do the best donuts I've ever tasted - I heartily recommend the cafe au lait one!
Other places needing a mention are Evergreen and Roxy's Diner for breakfast, and Roast Kitchen for healthy, filling warm bowls for lunch or dinner.

4. Be Prepared to Spend Money
Another obvious one. If you're in the heart of New York City, you should be expecting to spend a bit of extra money. For starters, you're obliged to leave a tip on all food and meals you buy (unless you go to a chain like McDonalds), and everything's pretty expensive in the heart of the city. Don't be surprised to spend around £10 for breakfast - but don't worry it'll be worth it if you go to the right places! And chances are you'll be buying all of your meals out - three meals a day over however long you're there for. Also, shop around for gifts for family back home - some places can be extortionate with 'I love NY' tops going for $25 - but you can find legit tops for $5 if you look around a little bit.

5. Exchange Rates
NEVER forget about the exchange rates when you're off on your holidays. Check them when you're changing your money to make sure you're getting the best deal. The dollar is currently averaging 65p, which is pretty good, but some places can charge you up to 75p instead - meaning you're losing out on valuable money. So keep an eye out on how it's going and make sure you shop around for the best deals.

And the biggest, best advice?
You're in one of the most amazing cities in the world - and every second you spend in NY counts. I have some seriously amazing memories from my holiday, and I know for a fact I'll be heading back at some point in the future.

So have you been to New York?
Do you have any tips of your own? Share them down below!

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