Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting New York City

There’s a reason why it is called “The City of Dreams.” If you have only seen New York City on TV, experiencing the place yourself can be a lot to take in. The concrete jungle is filled with people from all walks of life.

If you’re thinking about visiting, or if you already have your bags packed, here’s a quick recap on things to know before you arrive at the airport. Use this guide to help you get around New York City, knowing how to get around may avoid turning your journey into a rough one.



New York City has three airports: JFK, Laguardia, and Newark Liberty. JFK airport is the most popular one, but the Newark Liberty airport (located in New Jersey) has plenty of transport available. Laguardia airport has the least transport options and is an hour away from Manhattan. 


We’re talking about New York City, but what part? It’s made up of five different boroughs: Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, and the most popular one, Manhattan.

Explore Outside Manhattan

Visitors make a beeline to Manhattan and assume they have seen everything, but there are other boroughs to discover. The cost of living has skyrocketed in Manhattan, raising the average price of rent to over $3,000. Storefronts and restaurants from Manhattan have now been pushed to the outer boroughs such as Brooklyn and Queens. 

Social Customs

Anticipate Tardiness

There are countless ways to get around New York City, and everything may appear to be minutes away. If you plan to be somewhere in twenty minutes, give yourself extra time by leaving thirty minutes early. With so much going on in the City, delays, long lines, and stalled traffic are common.  

Know What To Tip

Tipping is standard American etiquette, but do you know how much you should tip? For restaurants, the proper gratuity for excellent service is between 15% to 20% of your bill. In taxis, there is an automated system where you can select the percentage already calculated for you.  

Go With The Flow

People move at a fast pace while heading to their destination. Resist the urge to stop in the middle of the sidewalk because it is the quickest way to irritate the locals. When you see something that you want to take a picture of, step to the side so that you’re not in the way. 

Getting Around

Official and Unofficial Taxi Cabs

Once you arrive, beware of unlicensed taxis that linger at the airport, waiting to solicit unsuspecting tourists. Cabs without licenses often appear as personal for-hire vehicles, and do not have taximeters – so they’ll overcharge you since you’re not familiar with the actual costs. 

If you want the experience of riding an NYC taxi, note that hailing a cab is not as easy as it looks in the movies. Get cab drivers’ attention by standing on the curb with your arm raised so that they see you. Ignore taxis that do not have their lights on, or if their cab says “Off Duty.” 

Other Transport Services

Regardless of whether you take a cab or drive, traffic is an absolute nightmare, so you would be paying to sit in traffic. Walking or taking the subway is faster than hailing a cab. If you are traveling in a large group, book a ride with a bus rental NYC service to save money with travel.

There are also bike rentals, but we wouldn’t recommend it until you’re more familiar with the area. Once you feel comfortable enough, you can enjoy scenic rides through bike paths and parks. 

Save Time And Money

Going to NYC doesn’t have to be expensive. Do your research ahead of time for affordable hotels and no-cost activities. 


The New York CITYPASS allows you to visit many main attractions at special discounted rates, and the best part, you can save time by skipping long lines. 

Affordable Sightseeing

Don’t tell yourself that you have to go to mainstream spots for sightseeing. Instead of seeing the skyline from the Empire State Building, you can wine and dine in lesser-known rooftop restaurants at lower costs. 

If you’re trying to get around and want to get a good view, go on the local East River Ferry. It’s more expensive than a subway card, but the fresh open air and sightseeing make it a worthy expense. 


Avoid eating at chain restaurants! The City’s diverse cuisine is one of The Big Apple’s best features. That includes eating at Times Square, which is made mostly of overpriced chain food restaurants. Ask for recommendations from the locals and give yourself a food tour by trying New York City’s classic foods.

Have Fun

When people visit NYC, they feel overwhelmed because they feel like they have to see all of the major attractions. Not even the locals that grew up there can confirm that they have not seen it all. Don’t let the City wear you down; and choose things that interest you, rather than the standard tourist traps.