Friday, 25 November 2016

Top Tips For A Short Trip To New York | WhatLaurenLovessTravels

AHHH it makes me so excited to be finally sitting here and writing up my New York content for you. Not only has this content been long awaited, but my trip to New York was probably about 3 years in the making and I am so happy I have finally had the opportunity to go and visit what is now my favourite place on the whole planet. 

So as you guys will definitely know if you follow my instagram, twitter, snapchat, facebook and also my youtube - I visited New York about a week ago and was there for roughly 6 days with my boyfriend, Simon. We jam packed so much into the time we were there and saw pretty much everything we set out to, we walked over 50km the whole time we were there so you can obviously imagine the foot and muscle ache afterwards! 

As this was my first trip to New York and my first trip to America it really was a massive learning curve and I really do feel as though I learnt so many helpful hints and tips throughout the time I spent there, and I really want to share these with you! If I had known some of the things that I am about to inform you about I could have saved some money, saved myself some embarrassment and the pain - so I really do hope that these tips help you all out and make your time in New York extra amazing!! So here goes.. you may want to get a pen and paper or open up a new note on your phone so you can write these things down...

1. Always get a taxi from JFK to Manhattan when you arrive - make sure its a yellow cab or Uber, do not jump into any unofficial taxis if you do not know what you are doing. This seems like a really simple little tip but its much easier and so much less stressful doing this. I learnt this tip before I went so I knew what to expect when I got there and it made life so much easier with luggage and finding the hotel and things. Basically, just leave your terminal and find the nearest taxi rank. There is usually a guy standing at the taxi rank helping you out and pointing you in the right direction so look out for them as well. There is a flat rate of $52 when you jump in a taxi which is pretty reasonable to get you into Manhattan but then on top of that they will also charge you a toll for any bridge or tunnels which is usually around $8 and you will also be expected to pay a 18-20% tip on top (this is something which is expected everywhere a service is provided in New York). We paid $70 for one journey which we were expecting and the taxi driver was really friendly, and dropped us right off at our hotel, saving us from getting extra stressed with the Subway and trying to find the right hotel and avenue.

Remember to save the $70 for the way back to the airport too.. as the same flat rate, tolls and tip applies! 

2. Always ask prices for food and drink from street sellers. You know those famous little kiosks you see on the streets of New York which sells hot dogs, pizza, chilli cheese fries? Well be sure to always ask how much the item is before buying, because this is somewhere you could get severely stung. On day one of the trip we decided to get a bite to eat from one outside of Central park, I had heard that this was a cheap option for lunch and it seemed the perfect opportunity to grab something whilst strolling around the incredible Central Park. 

Anyway, to cut a long story short. We grabbed some food (philly cheese steak sandwich, a chilli hotdog and a snapple iced tea) and it came to $30!! My jaw hit the pavement when the guy said this to me, I was so unbelievably shocked at how much it cost - especially when we could have gone to an actual restaurant for that money! Anyway, the lesson I learnt from this was that you need to ask the sellers how much things are before you buy them! If I had asked how much the food was and he had told me $30, I would have declined but unfortunately it was too late! On other street sellers stalls I had seen hot dogs for $3 and drinks for $3 so I think we obviously just caught a little bit of a con one or something! But basically, just ask before you order! 

3. Walk as much as you can. Prior to going to NY I was under the impression that we would be pretty much living on the Subway, however when we actually got dropped off at our hotel I really was surprised by how near to everything we were, and how everything I wanted to see was either in walking distance or a short subway away. I would say for each day make a plan for what you want to do and try to figure out the things which are near to each other in the city so you kind of see everything within one area during one day. If you are staying in midtown I would say walk to everything within midtown itself and also up to Central park. Its a long walk but there are lots of things to see and do on route, like walk up 5th avenue, lots of big buildings and sights to see and lots of coffee shops to stop in so you can take breaks if you need to. Walking obviously means you get to see lots of different things, and making the most of the surroundings, take lots of photographs and enjoy the weather if its actually nice - so I would definitely recommend doing this as much as you can! Everything is super easy to find within the city and if you don't have a natural sense of direction then its easy enough to use your maps on your phone or grab a little hand held map! 

Similarly though I would advice getting the subway if you are heading downtown from midtown because this does make life super easy and it doesn't take too long either. Also if you are heading into Brooklyn to walk over the bridge I would definitely recommend getting the Subway over there too. Its $3 for a single ticket and its super easy to use and do once you get the hang of it. I would say if you are REALLY into walking a fair distance you could give the walk a go, we attempted to walk all the way up to midtown from the Brooklyn bridge and got to roughly around 14th street before deciding this was a little bit ambitious and jumped on the Subway! Its up to you, but I do recommend getting the subway for distances like this. 

4. Now I have some phone and app recommendations for you to download before your visit. I would highly recommend getting the NY subway app, this was like my bible for our trips downtown. It made life so much easier for planning our routes and how many stops it was before we needed to climb off. The Subway is easy to use and is separated into colours and then numbers and letters for routes. It is really easy to use once you have figured out where you need to jump off at the landmark you are wanting to visit that day. For Ground Zero you need to get off at world trade center on the blue E route, Chambers street on the red line and walk from there or city hall on the Yellow R Line and walk from there. Its so easy honestly, download the app and you will soon get a hang of it. 

The next app I would recommend is the trip adviser app, we used this for maps, restaurants and bar recommendations and it was honestly another gods send. Also, I definitely recommend using snapchat, instagram and twitter and showing off your beautiful photographs of the incredible city you are in! Make the most of it! 

5. Fight the jetlag. Its bloomin' horrible waking up at 5am and knowing you have a full active day ahead of you, but honestly you just have to power through the tiredness and remember that your time in NYC is limited and you need to just basically get over it. Drink as much starbucks coffee, red bull or sugar as you need, but just power through. I could not recommend this enough. 

In some ways actually, jetlag is a bit of a gods send because it means you get up earlier and get out there and have more time to explore. Get up, get ready and out there between 8 - 8:30 and head for breakfast because it gets soooo busy after half past 8. 

6. Use smaller dollar notes for tips. Smaller notes will definitely become your best friends when in NYC. Everywhere you go that offers a service will expect you to add a tip onto what you pay, and its much easier to sort this out when you have smaller notes to work with. Save your larger dollar notes for meals out or excursions. As I said before you are expected to pay tips of a maximum of 20%, and when you pay your bill this is sometimes automatically added onto the total or it is at the bottom in suggested amounts. When they come to collect your money they will then ask you if you want change from the money you have left, it is much easier to provide a specific amount of not ask for change back, than ask them for a certain amount back. This is the reason why it is much easier for you to have smaller notes to add to the total than asking for them to deduct the tip from a large note. (Hopefully this is easy for you to decipher and I have not confused anyone too much with my terrible explanation.)

7. Do not believe the hype entirely about places like sephora being cheaper. Before going to NYC I feel like I was lead to believe that make up in Sephora would be SO much cheaper, and I thought I would be completely amazed by the prices but honestly I actually thought it was pretty damn expensive. All I would say is only really grab the products you cannot get a hold of here in the UK, because otherwise its usually much more expensive to buy them out there. And remember that the price you see is never the price you pay, when you get to the till they add the tax onto everything so just bare that in mind too! If you are looking for make up to buy in America from Sephora, I would recommend looking at brands such as tarte, Anastasia Beverley Hills, BECCA, Kat Von D and more! 

8. If you are packing essentials (i.e straighteners and curlers) bare in mind the voltage on each of them! Put it this way, I was pretty confused and gutted when I plugged in my babyliss wave wand and it didn't work! You guys know how much I love my wand wand and use it religiously and I was so so upset when it didn't work because this meant I had to straighten my hair the whole time I was there! I have read online that your appliances should be 110-120 volts, which is completely foreign to me and I don't really understand what this means. So to put it into perspective - my babyliss wave wand was 49 watts and my GHDS are 150 watts, which is the reason why my straighteners worked but my wave wand didn't. All I am saying is, when you pack - look at the wattage of your appliances because there is no point taking them all the way to America and not being able to use them! This also wastes packing space, weight in your suitcase and it would be very very upsetting if you got all the way to America and didn't have something to do your hair with!! 


That brings my first New York related post to an end. I really hope you have all learnt something from this, whether it be because you are going to be visiting soon or not! Its always handy to know these things and this can definitely be a post which you can refer back to! I will be bringing you plenty more posts which are New York related so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for them too! And also don't forget that 2 new York videos have now gone live over on my channel too! My America haul and my New York travel diary video - so be sure to head over to my channel and subscribe and check them out too! I have also linked them below for you all! 

Much Love 




  1. Cheerful hat! I love. Especially when combined with your bag. It seems to me that you have very good taste!

  2. Woah, I'm definitely going to follow your instructions, cause the essays on do not specify the important information. But you've made an amazing list.

  3. Like any buyer, it is very important for me to see and understand the final price that I have to pay, so I will use your advice.


© WhatLaurenLovess. All rights reserved.