So, you’ve booked your trip to New York. Then what? So many things, so little time. Do you want to just tick off the highlights, feel the NY vibe or perhaps a combination of the two? Our site gives you information that might be of use. And we’ll start with the basics.
Passport make sure that it does not expire while you’re in the States. And in case of questions, check with the US Consulate in your country.
Esta is required. Apply for your ESTA a minimum of 72 hours in advance (but better not leave it to the last moment). When permission is granted and you’ve paid $ 14, you get your Esta-code (which is a lot of numbers and letters); write it down somewhere, print it, save it somewhere on your smartphone. And make sure that you have entered the same code as in your passport. It has happened to me once that I could not check in at Schiphol, because they could not find my ESTA registration. And the reason for that was that in my ESTA registration I had mistakenly put an “0” where I should have put an “O”…..
Suitcase chances are pretty big that your suitcase is opened and looked into when you’re not near it. Use a special TSA authorised lock. This can only be opened by yourself and custom officers. You can get a TSA lock anywhere and they’re not very expensive. All other locks will be opened (broken).
Electricity in NYC the voltage is different (115 -120 Hz) than in Europe, so bring an adapter. Check if you can also charge your phone with that.
Transportation to Manhattan we prefer to take a taxi. You can also make use of public transport and (shuttle)busses. We've tried it all, really, but it is never easy peasy. And after a long flight we always much rather go the easy way. It will take you around an hour to get from the airport to Manhattan by cab.
Timedifference Check the worldclock for the current local times around the world.
Opening hours in Manhattan most stores are opened on weekdays and Saturdays from 10 am until 9 pm. On Sundays that slightly differs, usually they open at 11 am and close around 7 or 8 pm. But there are always 24/7 drugstores in the neighbourhood for basically anything you’d need.
Tipping we’ve been embarrassed frequently. Read Daphne’s article on tipping and you’re well informed about the do's and don'ts. 15-20 % is usual in NYC.
Dollars / bank get your dollars at an ATM at the airport. Just as easy and cheap. Make sure that your bank has you covered for worldwide and not only for Europe or Australia (our readers are everywhere). It has happened to me that my bank blocked my bankpasses after they had noticed some “unusual activities” on a Sunday afternoon. So, there I was, late one Sunday, with 3 bankpasses that were not accepted. Nobody had informed me about this, I was just cut off and in panick. The unusual activity had been in a Chinese mani/pedi salon by the way (maybe good to pay cash in those places). Luckily Daphne could lend me some money, but it is not an ideal situation. So now I make sure that I always have some extra cash with me and that the bank’s emergency number is in my phone.
Directions actually the layout of New York is pretty easy to understand. But, if you’re not much of a mapreader, like I am, you’ll keep getting lost. Which might not a bad thing at all. It is my experience that New Yorkers love to take the time to get you back on track. Plus, you see so much more of the city….
Jetlag I hate jetlag. But how can you fight it? As soon as you get on the plane, set your watch to the new time. Upon arrival and after check in, go get some fresh air. Don’t go to bed too early but adapt to the new timezone and live by it. There are Melatonin pills to help your system, but they don’t work for everybody. And hey, you’re in New York….the city that never sleeps!
What's next? Inform yourself. It would be such a shame to have missed out on things, just because you were too overwhelmed in the beginning.