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NYC  | © dibrova/Shutterstock
NYC | © dibrova/Shutterstock

15 NYC Travel Tips That Might Save Your Life

Picture of Tillie Adelson
Updated: 21 April 2017

Traveling to New York City is always a good idea! But as fun and exciting as the Big Apple is, it can often be a bit daunting as well—NYC takes no prisoners, so when putting together those travel plans here are 15 NYC travel tips that might save your life!

Airbnb apartment

Since Airbnb and similar style accommodations (renting apartments) have become so popular, there is something you must keep in mind! A new NYC law has made it illegal for someone to rent their apartment to you unless they own it—in other words: if they are just renting they cannot have their apartment on Airbnb. When searching Airbnb for listings it may not be obvious who is a renter versus an owner—so be sure to ask if you are interested in renting the entire apartment.
Eli Duke | NYC Apartments | © Flickr

Eli Duke | NYC Apartments | © Eli Duke/Flickr

Elevators and AC

When looking for a place to stay make sure you check if they have an elevator and air conditioning. If you are not into climbing stairs (like me!) this is a super important question as many apartments and even boutique hotels do not have elevators and you’ll be stuck schlepping your stuff up and down each day. If you are traveling in the summer, ask if the apartment has AC—otherwise, don’t even bother going … the heat will take you down.


Even with all the ride apps there are now, taking a cab in NYC is still a very easy and fast way to get around. A major tip to know: the taxi is available to give you a ride when the light in the center is on. Don’t be the person waving your hand at a bunch of cabs with no lights on!

Always give cross streets

Most New Yorkers go by cross streets when they give directions of reference an area.  If you want to get somewhere, don’t give a number and the street name: give cross streets.


Metro card

You can put as much money as you want on your metro card and each ride is a flat fee—the fee isn’t based on how far you go: it’s $3.50 no matter where you go.

Museum costs

New York City is home to some of the most magnificent museums in the world. Many do cost a fee but not all do—the Metropolitan Museum of Art is free but asks for a donation, but The Guggenheim and MOMA have an entrance fee. It’s also definitely worth noting that many museums offer free entry on certain nights.
The Met | © Kamira/Shutterstock

The Met | © Kamira/Shutterstock


You’re not going to be waiting “in” line, you’ll be waiting “on” line—and no one will be referencing the internet when they say that.

Score discounted tickets to Broadway

On the same day as the show you want to see, head to Times Square and wait “on” line at the TKE booth on 47th and Broadway (see cross streets!). If you don’t mind waiting on line and have the time, this is your best way to see a Broadway show at a reasonable price!
Broadway | © Andrey Bayda/Shutterstock

Broadway | © Andrey Bayda/Shutterstock

Empty subway car

There’s always a reason for an empty subway car—especially in the summer! It usually means there is no AC or there is a foul smell that has permeated the air. Make sure you take note and don’t choose to ride in the empty one!


10% off at Bloomingdale’s for visitors

Going shopping? Visit the flagship Bloomingdale’s store and receive 10% off when you present your ID at the visitor’s center. It’s a great place to go when it’s raining as the 6 train exits right into the store below ground.
Tillie Adelson | Bloomingdale's | © Tillie Adelson

Bloomingdale’s | © Tillie Adelson

Get the tip right

 Tipping in NYC is typically 20% (some other states are a bit less so it can be confusing).

Always have cash

A lot of NYC establishments do take cards now, but there is always that one place that your friend recommended you go try and of course they don’t take credit cards. So it’s always handy to have cash in NYC.
Money | Molly DG | © Flickr

Money | Molly DG | © Molly DG/Flickr

Neighborhood acronyms to know: DUMBO, NOHO, SOHO

NYC has a lot of acronyms that have become names of neighborhoods. Some of the less obvious ones are: DUMBO: Down Under the Manhattan Bridge, NOHO: North of Houston, SOHO: South of Houston—Houston is a main street in downtown Manhattan and it’s pronounced “House – ton” not “Hugh – Stun” like the city in Texas.

In case of an emergency

Hopefully you won’t be in any kind of emergency on your visit to NYC. The city feels pretty safe and you’ll never really feel alone on the street, as there are always people out and about. However, always good to know the national emergency number: 911.

Check the weather as it will dictate your wardrobe

Depending on when you’re planning to visit NYC it may be really hot or really cold. Fall and Spring do exist but they are short. In summer, there is no need for any jackets (it literally stays hot all night). In Winter: bring boots, and even a fur as it can be just that cold. Spring and Fall: a trench coat, leather jacket (leather weather!), or jean jacket are just perfect. It can rain any time of year in NYC (summer raining is a thing), so it never hurts to bring a pair of boots.
messicanbeer | boots | © Flickr

messicanbeer | boots | © MessicanBeer/Flickr