Planning a trip to New York


Ah bank holiday weekend. It’s been sunny and pissed it down. I’ve been shopping, had a hangover, done some cleaning and eaten too much. So pretty standard right?

G and I agreed this weekend, albeit somewhat drunkenly, that we were going to start planning our American road trip and so naturally I’m already cracking on. I do love a good planning session.

Which is how a post about planning a trip to New York has come about. It may or may not be useful but hey ho, I’m off to watch Beauty and the Beast again and eat fancy M&S popcorn.


Flights 

As always with any big holiday, the cost of flights was the deal breaker for us. We agreed we wanted to go but didn’t properly decide until we’d looked at the cost of flights. I’ve heard good things about the British Airways January sale but we were booking in June so we looked into an option I’d come across on the internet, which was to fly with Aer Lingus via Dublin. I’m not keen on long journeys or flying so I was never going to be one to jump at the chance at adding extra journey time or an additional flight into the mix BUT that option was a lot cheaper. I can’t remember exactly but I think there was about a £300 difference in the cost of flights which suddenly made hanging around in Dublin airport for a couple of hours a lot more appealing. Plus, a real perk of flying via Dublin is that you can clear US immigration BEFORE you get on the plane. So when we landed in JFK, we breezed straight into baggage claim without so much of a whiff of passport control. Those of you who have flown to ‘Merica before will know the SHEER TORTURE of having to stand in a 2 hour immigration queue after a 7 hour flight. Torture I tell you.

Hotel 

I would absolutely recommend YOTEL. The location was dreamy for one; it was just round the corner form Times Square so you felt at the heart of Manhattan and could get everywhere easily. If you book far enough in advance you can get a room with a view over midtown for the same price as one without. Everything was really modern and efficient; there was decent wifi, a roof terrace, easy check in via a machine in the lobby and ridiculously quick check out via an app. Plus the bed moved up and down so there’s that.

ESTA 

Yeah boring, but needs to be done if you wanna actually get into the country. They approved ours on the same day so it’s easy peasy. Fill out your application here and don’t forget you have to pay *insert eye roll emoji*.


Booking before 

Worth looking in to whether things you definitely want to do need to be booked in advance. The One World Trade Centre has booked time slots like when you go up the Shard so we bought tickets for that before leaving as well as our Yankee game tickets, helicopter ride, and CityPass voucher. We also booked our table at the Boathouse in Central Park; it was rammed when we were there so there’s no way we’d have got a table just wandering in.

CityPass 

If you want to do some of the typical tourist stuff in New York then I cannot recommend CityPass enough. Essentially, you pay $122 and that gets you tickets to Empire State Building, Natural History Museum, the MET, Top of the Rock, Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island and the 9/11 museum. When you take in the individual prices of these, you save A LOT of money and time queuing to buy tickets. Plus, some of the tickets give you two different options. E.g. you can do the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island trip OR one of the Cruise tours, some of which take you round the Statue of Liberty anyway. This came in vair useful when we tried to get on the boat for the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island trip and the queue was, no word of a lie, a mile long in the midday heat. So we sacked it off for ice cream in Central Park and opted for the Liberty Cruise trip instead.

Subway 

Get the weekly metro card. It gives you unlimited travel for the week (or there’s a 3 day one) and only cost $32. Not much to dislike tbh. And download the subway app. It works offline, gives you a map of the whole subway and tells you which are the local and express trains (which you defs need to know unless you wanna go hurtling through your intended stop and delay pancake-eating time).

Central Park 

Spoiler: it’s effing big. I planned this a lil bit like I did our food (see below). I researched bits I definitely wanted to see and marked them on a map with stickers. At least then, we knew vaguely what direction we needed to walk. Also, if it’s hot, don’t just casually wander in without water. You may never come back out again.

Food map 

Given how many incredible restaurants New York has, I was adamant that we weren’t going to waste even one meal on some meh place. Nor were we going to wander round aimlessly unsure where to eat and end up in said meh place. So I stole an idea I saw on a blog (I can't remember which one otherwise I'd link it here - it would probably explain it better than me!). Essentially, I bought a load of colourful dot stickers and then blew up a New York map, splitting each area onto a A4 page to print. Then, every time I came across a recommendation for a restaurant, whether on a blog, in a travel guide or from a friend, I marked its place on the map with a coloured sticker (blue for snacks, yellow for drinks, green for brunch/lunch and red for dinner). Then when we were there, when it was time for food or drink (which was about ten times a day), we could just whip out the map and see what was nearby. This worked even better than I imagined. Everything we ate/drank for the entire week was just dreeeeamy and I was so flippin’ happy about it.


Hope your bank holiday weekend has been a good’un.


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