Preparations for traveling to New York


Our preparations for travel to New York, a city that we visited 15 years ago and that surely has changed a lot. From that time I remember that there was hardly any digital photography, a lot of travel guides were thrown and travel blogs began to emerge. Since then things have changed a lot and therefore we have had to make these preparations practically from scratch as if we had never been. Has it changed so much?

Image obtained by Shutterstock Author: IM_photo

Preparations for traveling to New York

In order to plan our trip to New York we present a series of personal recommendations that we hope will be useful. Surely something will remain in the inkwell, but with the following guidelines some headaches we can take off. Let's go in steps ...

1 Initial preparations

The first thing we have to be clear about is the number of days we can and want to spend. We believe that traveling to New York needs as minimum 5 days to be able to visit it and whenever we think not to leave Manhattan and surroundings. The ideal is a week and in this way we can spend more time in museums or even visit nearby neighborhoods like Queens on Long Island, Harlem or the famous Bronx. Keep in mind that many people spend a whole day solely on making purchases….

Search for cheap flights to New York

You can find them cheap but you play with the comfort of the journey. Many times flights to New York from secondary cities in the United Kingdom leave at bargain prices, but you have to stop and almost sleep at the airport. Personally I think it is best to leave the most requested dates, discarding the summer months, Christmas and Easter.

Image obtained by Shutterstock Author: Ventura

Companies such as Iberia, American Airlines, JetCost have direct flights and usually land at JFK, the largest airport in the city.

Request the ESTA

For a few years it is necessary to travel with visa to the United States from Spain. Visa visa is not as such, since it is not necessary to go through the embassy, ​​but in a way it has several similarities. Its reason for being comes from the need to have your data the United States authorities before traveling to their country and with that to be able to investigate you, in order to subsequently deny your request.

ESTA - Authorization to enter the US - Travel to New York

It has a cost of 14$ and can be requested through this link. It is important to use this and not other links whose costs are higher, in addition to not being the official mechanisms. This is valid for 2 years and we can enter the US as many times as we need, although surely if we do too much the alarms will jump.

What are they going to ask for? Because it really isn't too much.

  1. Data of our passport.
  2. Accommodation.
  3. Contact persons
  4. Questionnaire to fill out ... Do you carry weapons? Do you commune with terrorism?

Search accommodation. Hotel or apartment? Where?

You have the option to book a hotel from any booking website like Booking or Hotels Combined or rent an apartment on websites like Airbnb. The accommodation in New York is really expensive and going to a hotel does not usually compensate unless you are looking for certain amenities. Mind you, all do it with time. Remember that if you do it with websites for renting apartments, the owner of this can refuse the reservation, so it is good to have an alternative. This same made us Booking 2 days before, what a task. According to them, the hotel closed.

Ideally, look for it in Manhattan so that we have everything as close as possible. This can be an odyssey, especially if we got late to look. In addition this part is the most expensive by far and personally does not compensate. Public transport in New York works well, it is fast and its cost is relatively cheap for what one expects, especially if you use the MetroCard. Therefore it is best to go outside Manhattan and look for something for Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn or even Union City, although this I discarded because of its remoteness with the main airports.

To give you an example, Queens is only 20 minutes by train to Time square.

2 What to carry in our luggage

That Iberian Ham so rich that so many trips have saved us and we would like to taste in New York. Well, this will not be the case since the import policy of meat products to the US is very restrictive and even for personal use it is totally prohibited, regardless of the container we use. No meat

Shuttersock - Author: Josfor - Travel to New York

Cheese and canned fish is allowed but in small quantities, the same for alcohol that only allow 1 liter, but we will have to pay taxes.

What plug do you use in New York?

We have no choice but to buy an adapter and see that our devices support 120v. In the United States they use type A and B, being their flat connectors.

Plug - Travel to New York

What currency do they use in New York?

Difficult question of the trivial and whose answer is the American dollar. The change varies every day and it is best to pay everything with credit card or take out large amounts of money at ATMs to make the commission (usually 2$) We get cheaper than going to a exchange house.

In short, it is not worth going to a bank and changing the money.


Of course the passport we must take it, but this one that stays in the hotel (safe) and we always carry a photocopy of this in our pocket. He THIS Sometimes they ask for it at the airport, but they usually look at it on the computer.

If you wish to rent a car, an international driving license is not necessary.

3 How do we prepare a good itinerary to travel to New York?

We have opened pandora's box and in it everyone has their tricks. Certainly each city has its attractions and perhaps this advice does not work for other cities. In our case we have started like crabs, walking on our backs. We start writing what we are going to do at the end and then place the rest of the activities. Why it is very simple, New York is a city with stunning night panoramas and the ideal is to finish in one of them after a long day walking. These places are:

  1. Brooklyn bridge.
  2. Observatory Deck in the WTC: viewpoint from the tallest skyscraper in the city.
  3. Top of the Rock. Rockfeller Center: the most famous looks.
  4. Empire state : the most famous skyscraper in the city.
  5. Time square : the avenue of large screens and neon lights.

It is true that some of these points are in the same area, but the subway can move us from one place to another very fast. For example, we could start the day by visiting the statue of Liberty, going through the financial district and the Pier 17, ending the day crossing the Brooklyn bridge.

Updated!. After discovering the big apple, here are lostours in New York that we recommend

4 Transportation

Airport transfer

New York has several airports, being the JFK ó the guard the most important. If you travel from Spain, you are more than likely to use JFK, since Iberia and American Airlines fly there.

From JFK to New York

In the JFK there is an internal train called Airtrain JFK With two different destinations. A stop called Howard Beach JFK Airport and another Jamaica Station (the most used). The first is ideal if you want to go to Brooklyn or the southern part of Manhattan. The other to go to Queens or south of Central Park / Time Square. Both options usually cost about 8$ and the journey time is 50 minutes or so, stopping at numerous stations such as Penn Station in Manhattan

Image obtained by Shutterstock. Author: Luciano-Mortula

By the way a cab to Manhattan it costs more than 50$. If you pay more, feel scammed.

From New York to JFK

Knowing that the final stop is Jamaica Station (blue line), just buy a ticket and get on one of the stations where this line passes as Penn Station in Manhattan

Transportation in New York

New York is a city for walking, so the less you use public transportation the less you will miss things. Our idea is to walk and how much to use the subway to return to the hotel. Here you can buy a recharge card calledMetroCard, which costs 1$. To this we have to add the paths that usually cost 2.75$. There is an all-inclusive option for 7 days at a cost of 31$ (not valid for the airport). The airport costs 7$ one way.

Metrocard - Travel to New York

When the card is recharged, depending on how much money you put in, the system will give you extra money.

By the way, in the New York subway there is no concept of zones, so traveling to any neighborhood always has the same cost. As recommendations, consider the following:

  1. There are trains local and express. Expresses do not usually stop at stations painted on the map with a black dot on weekends. Only those that appear in white dot stop.
  2. The stations have several entrances and unfortunately on many occasions each entry points in only one direction, so if you make a mistake you will have a problem. Look at the sign before entering that always indicates the address. Others, the more "normal", have connection tunnels.
  3. The escalator is a luxury. Get used to going up and down stairs.
  4. Trains of different lines can pass through the same platform.
  5. The metrocard is valid for several travelers. The 7 day is personal.
  6. For many movies you've seen, the New York subway is very safe.

Even with these problems, the metro is easy to use and I would not hesitate to download the smartphone application NYC Subway which allows us to calculate the routes, indicating where to get off and the time of the journey.

NY Subway - Travel to New York

The most comfortable you can use the taxi or even Uber, comfortable and cheaper than the latter.

There's also Free transport, like the one that takes you to Staten island Boat. A good way to see the statue of liberty without paying.

5 Apps for SmartPhone and New York

There are many deapps for your smartphone where you can download the map of the city, with its streets, monuments and addresses. We use one called, for those who love Android or Apple, or Here, for the new Windows 10. In any case it is very useful to bring downloaded the city map, without using 3G / 4G, in order to guide you, but the best thing is that you can mark points of interest not to get lost and know the distance or the type of transport. Don't you think it's great? Seriously, whoever wants to get lost can, but with this impossible. - Travel to New York

Another very useful app isNY Pass. Even if you do not buy this discount card, its application gives us information on the costs of all tourist points and attractions.

NY pass - Travel to New York

And finally, NY Subway, the application of the city subway. With it we calculate routes, transfers and times through a very intuitive map.

6 The weather in New York

New York is a city with the 4 seasons very marked, being able to have a white and cold winter or a very hot summer, being spring and autumn the best seasons to visit it. May / June and November / December are the months with more rainfall. I hope this does not happen since the city has no places to shelter, the buildings are built without terraces :-D.

Here goes the time for the next 7 days.

7 Purchases and discounts

Apparently the famous Premium Outlets are quite far from New York inWoodbury and getting there can cost us 42$ through the bus company Shortline bus. There is always the alternative of going to smaller centers but with slightly higher prices such as 21st century or similar, a chain of highly demanded outlets in the big apple.

Many people choose to buy a second suitcase there and check it full of clothes. Beware of this because sometimes the cost is not a benefit.

Buy tickets in advance

If you don't like to wait for big queues, the ideal is to buy the internet tickets. Our advice is to do it two days before, after checking the time and if it is good to buy them. Sometimes they require you to enter and sometimes not. Places such as access to the statue of liberty may require that we buy it weeks in advance.

Discounts in New York

A good way to save money in New York is to acquire the Citypass. A card that includes the most interesting places to visit and optionally others. It includes the visit to the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, Natural Sciences Museum, Metropolitan Museum, Intrepid Museum and the statue of liberty among others. It also gives you the advantage of having access to these places without the tail from the ticket office.

New York CityPass

Buy New York CityPass

There is a website where we can see the free activities held in New York.

Tours in New York

For about € 50 you can do one of the many tours you can do in New York. From the famous Contrast tour, see the Big Apple from the sky, night walks, excursions to Boston or Washington, see a Gospel mass, etc. In New York everything is possible. Recommendable!.

 See tours in New York

Conclusions for traveling to New York

As you can see it is a simple trip and in which we can find all kinds of comforts. Many agencies will give you most of these things beforehand and many others will have to work on your own. Even so it is a simple trip, without stress and for those who live in big cities like Madrid or Barcelona, ​​they will know how to move with relative ease.

Photographs provided by Shutterstock, total, we had not yet traveled to New York :).