Overwhelming and like no other place in the world, New York City is going to leave you with questions. Part of every tourist’s travel prep should include familiarizing oneself with acceptable and non-acceptable questions for locals. For example, “Will you take our picture?” and “Which way is Broadway?” are welcome inquiries. To find out which Big Apple-related questions leave locals with a sour taste, read our guide to the city faux pas you won’t want to make.
“Is living in New York like Sex and the City?”
Unless we missed the season when Carrie is broke, overworked, and living off “rent week” dinners for a month straight, then the answer is no. Please don’t remind us that our apartments are the size of her walk-in closet.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
“Where is the nearest Starbucks?”
You’re in New York City, the birthplace of the American cappuccino, home to one of the world’s most passionate (read snobby) coffee cultures, and site of countless independent cafés, and you want to stick to Starbucks? New Yorkers will always disapprove of the tourist’s penchant for chain restaurants and stores while in the city. If you don’t wish to be on the receiving end of a local’s undisguised eye-roll, refer to Yelp when chasing chains.
“New Yorkers are so nice!”
On paper, this statement seems innocent, even complimentary, but when pronounced in the shocked tone which often accompanies it, it can be downright offensive. Did you come to New York expecting the locals to glare at puppies and snatch candy from children’s hands? New Yorkers are generous, helpful, welcoming people—until you suggest otherwise.
“Hi, excuse me, sorry to bother you, but we’re looking for Central Park/the Met/the Empire State Building, and we’re lost. Can you tell us how to get there?”
New Yorkers love providing directions, if only to show off their mastery of the city and insider’s knowledge of its best “secret” routes. However, locals lack patience for the out-of-towner’s small talk. When asking for directions, keep it short and sweet, as in: “Excuse me, how do I get to Central Park?” This efficient approach will earn you a helpful response from an in-the-know local and perhaps a tip or two.
“Where can I see celebrities?”
Really? That’s why you came to New York City? With so many world-famous landmarks, cultural institutions, and unique offerings at your disposal, the tourist’s preoccupation with famous residents (and their rule-breaking lack of subtlety when sightings do occur) is disappointing at best and offensive at worst. That being said, SoHo, Greenwich Village, and Williamsburg are promising areas for celeb-seekers. (See? We are nice!)
“Does this park/train/deli have wifi?”
While many places in New York City come equipped with wifi, some spots, such as indie cafés, public parks, and subway stations (you’re underground, people!), don’t feature an internet connection. Tourists would do well to not expect free wifi everywhere they go—or at least not badger locals for the “secret” password.
“How much do you pay for rent?”
This inquiry may (hopefully) seem like an obvious social faux pas, but you’d be surprised how often New Yorkers are asked it. Regarding rent, a safe rule to follow is if they don’t offer, don’t ask, in part because it isn’t socially acceptable and partly because we don’t want to be reminded our shoebox-sized apartment costs $1,600 each month.
“I’m loving New York City! But how do I get to Brooklyn?”
Fun fact: Brooklyn is New York City, as is Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Manhattan. The city is so much more than the Empire State Building and Central Park—please realize that and don’t put us in a position to where we have to defend Staten Island.
“Is New York City safe?”
Asking this question reveals two things about you: you’ve seen one too many movies, and you are definitely not from around here. Every city has its good and bad areas and can seem daunting after dark. As long as you use basic common sense and are conscious of your surroundings (if you feel unsafe, take advantage of one of the city’s many brightly lit 24-hour convenience stores or taxi cabs), you should be safe in the city.
“Is the subway clean/good/safe?”
In short, relatively, yes, and it depends not only on the time of day but also the line you’re taking. Take it this way—nearly 5.7 million people ride the New York City subway incident-free each day, so being dainty about taking the train in New York is about as alienating as tourist behavior can get.
“Why is everything in New York City so expensive?”
Note: This is one question that will prompt a New Yorker to be mad with you, not at you. The short answer to this is we don’t know either! While you should expect to shell out a significant sum during your city stay, researching beforehand can clue you into the city’s best deals, such as donation-based museums and complimentary cultural events.
“How can I get to the top of the Empire State Building?”
This inquiry will always prompt the same response question: why would you go to the top of the Empire State Building? Paying for a view in New York City is never worth it, and the tourist’s willingness to shell out $30+ per person reliably baffles locals. Take advantage of the city’s many rooftop bars, where you can get a great view of New York City, a strong drink, and a sense of smugness only possessed by your New York neighbors, all for less than a standard sightseeing fee.
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.