07 Jan 6 Tips for Traveling Solo to New York
I was able to take a solo trip to New York in February of 2018. Here are 6 tips for any individuals bold enough to visit the vast city of New York:
- Plan ahead.
- Prepare for the weather.
- Act like you know where you are going.
- Head home when it gets dark.
- Carry a portable charger.
- Talk to strangers.
Trip Itinerary (02/21/2017-02/28/2017)
Feb. 21st: Dinner & relaxation
Feb. 22nd: Visited the Statue of Liberty
Feb. 23rd: Grand Central Terminal, Columbus Circle, Central Park & Tour
Feb. 24th: Rhode Island – by bus
Feb. 25th: Downtown Providence, Rhode Island
Feb. 26th: Downtown Boston for the day
Feb. 27th: Back to New York, Brooklyn Bridge
Feb. 28th: Returned to California
Now let’s get into the details…
1. Plan ahead.
My itinerary was created months before my trip and although I had to make slight changes, it was great to have a plan because it allowed me to visit as many locations as possible. Planning also included calculating the time it would take to get from one location to the next. If I wanted to go to 3 locations in one day, for example, I would calculate how long it would take to get from location 1 to location 2 to location 3 and back to my hotel. This helped ensure I had enough time to visit each location, and helped me determine a suitable time to leave my final destination before dark. I also researched the cost of my daily activities. For example, how much will your train fare be for the day, how much is the admission price, if you prefer rideshare, how much will that be? This will ensure you can plan to save ahead, and be able to pay cash and not use credit. Map out everywhere you would like to go and plan accordingly, based on time and location.
Tip: Plan to go to the locations that are close on one day so that you do not have to start in Manhattan for example, and make your way all the way to Brooklyn.
2. Prepare for the weather.
My mother had been to New York years ago, and so she told me how cold it could be. So I went to buy snow boots. Little did I know, I would not need them. I ended up packing them, which took up a significant amount of space in my bag, not to mention the added weight. I was also fortunate to have just missed the snow storm that just passed as well. Pack according to the weather, but try not to over-pack, so that you have more space in your bag and less weight to carry.
3. Act like you know where you are going.
Although I got turned around on various occasions using the train system, I acted like I knew where I was going so that I could ‘blend’ in with the locals. There was something about this conscious act that made me confident when I navigated the city solo, and it allowed me to stay stress free, even when I did get lost. It is okay to use your g.p.s. System when you need to and it is okay to get lost. Just don’t allow yourself to stay lost and become frustrated. Be open to asking someone for help. I wasn’t afraid of asking someone if the train I planned on catching was going in the direction I planned on going. This actually saved me money as well because changing platforms requires you first, find the entrance to the opposite platform and second, pay for admission again.
Tip: Use your navigation system to plan your trip so that you are able to see the stops on the train as they come. If the stop you reach while on the train looks unfamiliar; you are most likely going the wrong way.
4. Head home when it gets dark.
While I was visiting a location one evening, I began to notice my phone battery decreasing charge at a higher rate than normal. I was of course depending on my g.p.s. to navigate and so no battery would mean, I would not be able to easily find my way back to the hotel. Not only is it good to head home when its dark, or at least within a few blocks when it’s dark, but it also allows you to be well-rested for the next day’s adventures.
5. Carry a portable charger.
Based on the occasion of my phone losing charge at a higher rate that night, I would recommend bringing a light, portable charger with the ability to charge your phone at least twice before needing to be charged itself. I did bring my phone charger with me at the time, but I found that a lot of the Starbucks did not have outlets available for public use, which often hindered my ability to charge my phone.
Tip: You can charge your phone faster in airplane mode. Take some time to rest while you charge your phone (it can also be a phone detox). You will probably enjoy it after walking all day.
6. Talk to strangers.
Now I know you were told to not talk to strangers when you were younger, but you’re an adult now, and you are in a new place. The locals know the area better than you do, and are usually willing to help. I actually experienced my first ‘New York’ accent by doing this, and it was an interesting experience.
Tip: If you are an introvert like me, prior to your trip, prepare yourself mentally to be more social during your trip. I often find that by going on solo trips, I become more social. I hope the same for you too.
The lovley Nina Sawetz, Owner & MD, Future – a remote PR agency based in the UK was able to provide 3 bonus tips! Here are her tips for visiting New York solo, that I did not tap into while visiting:
1. Book onto food or walking tours to get a real feel for the city, and find out the best places to eat.
2. New York is full of live music.
3. If you’re feeling lost and anxious, sit at the hotel bar.
Interested in learning more about Nina?
Visit her website: www.thisisfuture.co.uk