Our travel tips for New York

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As the saying goes? "New York is always a good idea!" And let's tell you something: whoever said that is absolutely right.

We love New York and think everyone should have been in New York at least once in their lives.

We always come back to New York and have written down our best New York travel tips.

On this page you will find an overview of all our New York articles and, under the article overview, we will give you many helpful travel tips for your city trip to New York: everything about travel, transportation and what else to plan and do locally have to know.

Jump directly to our New York travel tips

Hey! We are Jenny Basti

Globetrotters, travel photographers, full-time bloggers and sun children. At 22places we tell you about our travels and give you easy-to-use photography tips: with great attention to detail, inspiring, authentic and, above all, always honest. In our online photo course , we'll show you how to make beautiful photos yourself.

Learn more about us!

Our most important articles for New York

  • NY Pass Comparison

    Which New York Pass is the best?

  • Hotel Tips

    Where do you sleep the best?

  • 1 week program

    Program for a week New York

  • New York airports

    Transfer from the airport to the city

  • Go by subway

    Tips for Metro and Metrocard

  • travel time

    When to travel to New York?

  • travel Guide

    Which guides are best?

  • restaurants

    12 great restaurant tips

  • Attractions

    You should have seen these places

  • helicopter flight

    Our experiences and tips

  • viewpoints

    Our most beautiful viewpoints

  • Brooklyn

    Sights and our tips

  • Photo Locations

    The most beautiful photo spots

  • statue of Liberty

    Helpful infos about the visit

  • Museums

    The 22 best museums in New York

  • packing list

    You should wrap that up

  • Our online photo course

    Just take better vacation pictures

  • Travel Credit Card

    Free money abroad

  • Health insurance

    So we are insured abroad

Our New York travel tips at a glance

Arrival Documents

Airports in New York

New York has a total of three airports, of which two are in New York and one in New Jersey.

Most international flights arrive at John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens (JFK) or Newark, New Jersey (EWR). Above all, LaGuardia Airport in Queens (LGA) is a hub for domestic flights.

If you are looking for cheap flights to New York, you can easily enter 'All airports', because it does not matter if you land in JFK or Newark.

Direct flights to New York are available from Frankfurt, Hamburg , Berlin , Dusseldorf and Munich , as well as from Vienna and Zurich.

From Frankfurt, we can warmly recommend the connection with Singapore Airlines, because the fly from Frankfurt fairly early (about 9 clock) and the return flight from New York in the evening at 20:00 clock. So you really have the maximum length of stay in New York with this connection.

To find the best flight connections, we use the Skyscanner flight search engine.

From the airport to the city

Both JFK and Newark have several transfer options to Manhattan.

We have written a detailed article in which we present all options:

How to get to New York from the airport to the city

A quick overview of the different options can be found in the following tables.

Transfer from JFK to Manhattan:

How duration price tickets
AirTrain + Metro

60 to 90 minutes $ 10.50 buy online
AirTrain + LIRR
45 to 60 minutes $ 15.50 to 18.50 AirTrain
LIRR
taxi 60 to 90 minutes about $ 75 -
bus about 90 minutes $ 19 buy online
private transfer about 60 minutes from $ 131 (for 3 people)
from $ 175 euros (for 6 people)
from $ 183 euros (for 10 people)
buy online

Transfer from Newark to Manhattan:

How duration price tickets
AirTrain + train
60 minutes $ 14.75 on site
taxi 60 to 90 minutes about $ 75 -
bus 60 to 90 minutes $ 17 buy online
Group shuttle
90 to 120 minutes $ 21 buy online
private transfer about 60 minutes from $ 136 buy online

ESTA passport

You must apply for your US entry permit, ESTA, online before your trip.

The ESTA is valid for two years after approval and you can use it for any number of US trips of up to 90 days.

You should apply for the ESTA online at least 72 hours before your arrival, but better earlier.

The ESTA costs $ 14. You do not have to print the confirmation, the permit will be stored electronically and the officials on entry will see it automatically!

You can apply for the ESTA here: Official ESTA website .

Attention: If you google for ESTA visa you will be overwhelmed by service providers who will help you to complete the ESTA visa. But then you pay much more, but ultimately have no advantages. So make sure that you post your ESTA on the page linked above and not on any agencies.

In addition to the ESTA, you will of course need a passport that is valid for the entire period of your stay. aus! A temporary passport is not enough for the entry!

With which New York Pass can you save money?

Tourists in New York are offered a total of 5 different citycards and passes, which allow you to visit various sights and attractions.

If you want to visit many paid attractions, such a passport may well be worthwhile for you.

We have written a detailed article in which we highlight the pros and cons of the passports and show who is worth which passport:

Read our New York Pass comparison article

Withdraw money and pay in New York

There are ATMs in New York like sand by the sea. At most ATMs, especially those at the entrance of a restaurant or deli, you pay up to $ 5 in machine fees.

The nice thing about New York is that you rarely need cash.

On our last trip, we just picked up $ 200 at the start and got away with it for two weeks.

Credit cards are accepted in almost all shops, restaurants and ticket counters. This is of course super comfortable.

If you do not have a credit card that allows you to pay for and withdraw money abroad, be sure to read our article on the best travel credit card .

We prefer to use DKB's credit card, which allows us to pay for cash and withdraw cash worldwide.

Travel expenses in New York

New York is definitely not a cheap travel destination. Especially hotels are very expensive, and the entrance fees for the various attractions are not cheap.

Dining in New York is also reputed to be very expensive. But we can not confirm that.

In simple restaurants, delis and on the many food markets you can eat good and cheap. The prices are slightly higher than in Germany, but not very much.

What is really more expensive than in Germany, are upscale restaurants, as well as alcoholic drinks in restaurants.

With the hotel rooms you can save, in which you z. Stay in Queens instead of in Manhattan. We have written down our hotel search tips in our article Hotel Tips New York . We personally like to stay at the CitzenM Hotel .

Here is a small overview of what costs you have to expect in New York:

Flight to New York: 500 to 900 euros
Overnight in a good middle class hotel: 150-250 Euro
1 liter bottle of water: 1 to 3 euros
Beer 12 oz (0.35 liter) or 16 oz (0.47 liter): 5 to 10 euros
Coffee: 3 to 5 euros
Metro ticket: 2,75 Euro
Dinner in a simple eatery: 10 to 20 euros
Dinner in a better restaurant: 20 to 40 euros
Food at FoodCourt or Foodtruck: 5 to 15 euros

Health Safety

What foreign health insurance do you need for New York?

Before you travel to New York, you should definitely take out a foreign travel health insurance for the US, because in the US, a visit to a doctor can quickly cost several thousand euros.

Not all international health insurance covers the US automatically. Check in any case, whether the USA is included in your international health insurance

For years, we have been using the Hanse Merkur health insurance for around 17 euros a year and so far we have been very satisfied.

There are travel insurance in the US and Canada insured. If this is interesting for you, read this article , where we talk about the insurance and our experiences.

The documents of your insurance and contact information for emergencies, you should always have it with you.

We have all our important documents online in Google Drive, so we can access them anywhere in the world.

Are there any German doctors in New York?

There are numerous hospitals, emergency rooms and doctors in New York. If you need help, it's best to always ask the hotel first if they can recommend a specific doctor.

If you would like to visit a doctor who speaks German, you will find what you are looking for on the Doctors' List of the German Consulate in New York.

You must pay for the visit to the doctor by credit card. Remember, too, that your credit card limit will not put you on the wrong track.

Depending on the doctor, treatment and location (practice or emergency room of a hospital), you should count on between 100 and 2000 euros.

If you have to go to the hospital and face an even higher bill, the hospitals can also bill the insurance directly if necessary.

In any case, it is important that you get a medical report from the doctor on which the findings and the type of treatment are described. You then have to submit this together with the bill to your international health insurance.

How does it work with pharmacies in New York?

There are a lot of pharmacies in New York, but most of them are not recognizable at first glance. As a rule, pharmacies are located in drugstores operating around the clock.

There is a wide selection of over-the-counter medications, drugstore items and sometimes even a small selection of foods.

The prescription drug counters, however, are usually not open around the clock, but have normal opening hours.

Typical drugstore chains with pharmacies are drugstores, such as Duane Reade , CVS , Rite Aid and Walgreens .

Which vaccines do you need for New York?

For the US, no special vaccinations are recommended. The standard vaccinations should of course be up to date and we still have hepatitis A and B as well.

Is New York safe?

There are no special safety instructions for traveling to the USA. You can always find current information on the website of the German Foreign Office .

New York City is now a very safe city and you are not exposed to any special risks here.

We never felt unsafe in Manhattan at any time. You should just, as in any big city, exercise common sense.

What to pack for New York?

It's best you write down what you want to take to New York. So you have enough time to get everything and the likelihood that you will forget something is much lower.

If you want to make it easy, check out our city trip packing list .

Especially important for New York are comfortable shoes in which you can walk for a long time and a power adapter. We always have a universal travel adapter and multiple USB plug with us and are thus well equipped for all countries.

If you want to go to chic bars or restaurants, you should definitely pack appropriate clothing and shoes.

When packing but also remember to leave some space in the suitcase, because New York is a true shopping paradise. Especially clothes you can buy here very cheap.

Travel time length of stay

The best travel time for New York

The most popular seasons for visiting New York are definitely autumn and spring, ie April, May, June, September and October.

The Christmas season is of course also very popular, but the streets of New York are then even fuller than already.

We personally also love summer in New York, but the heat in the city of up to 35-40 degrees is not for everyone.

Our clear recommendation therefore: the best travel time for New York is in the spring or fall.

Also read our best travel time article in New York

How much time to plan for New York?

In our opinion, you should plan at least 5 full days for a visit to the city. Of course, you can always go longer.

Another possibility is to connect the visit in New York with another destination in the US, z. Niagara Falls, Boston or Washington DC.

Good guides for New York

If you are traveling to New York for the first time, we recommend the combination of these two travel guides:

Dumont travel guide New York : Classic travel guide
Polyglot walks for New York : 30 walks through New York

Of course, it always depends on your interests and your way of traveling. Even more guides we present to you this article:

The best travel guide for New York

Telephoning, Mobile Internet and Wifi in New York

There are hardly any hotels without free wifi. The internet in our two hotels, the Arlo Soho (hip hotel in Soho) and the CitizenM Hotel (our favorite in New York) worked quickly and reliably.

Free Wi-Fi is also available in most restaurants, shops, department stores and subway stations.

On the way, we also bought a sim card from T-Mobile with 10 GB data volume for 30 days including free national phone calls and SMS for $ 50.

3 GB would have cost $ 30. But you can just as easily buy a SIM card from any other telephone company or dealer.

Do you tip in New York?

In New York, tipping is a very important part of their salary for many service workers. So before you travel to New York, you should know roughly who to tip for.

Here is a brief overview:

Waiter in restaurants / cafes 15-20 percent
Delis / fast food restaurant (no service ) no tip
Bartender 1 euro / drink
Hotel room service $ 2 a day
Porter in the hotel $ 2 per piece of luggage
Wardrobe staff $ 1 per garment
Taxi drivers 15-20 percent

In restaurants, you will receive your bill, put down your credit card and then get a receipt printed out.

On this document you then write the amount of the tip on it. Nearly all restaurants, you will find on the bill also recommendations on appropriate tips.

Otherwise, you can easily take the amount of VAT x2 and come to about 17.5% tip.

Getting around New York

How does underground travel in New York?

Without the subway, nothing would work in New York. However, subway driving in the ailing subway system of the city, especially in summer, is a real experience.

As soon as you go down the stairs to the subway, you suddenly find yourself in a sauna - it's so hot on the platforms.

Most of the time, the subway gets relatively fixed and you can get on the redeeming air-conditioned train. There you will freeze after a short time, because the Americans are just waiting for overly cold air conditioners.

And still: The subway is just perfect to get from A to B quickly.

Our tip : Get the rechargeable MetroCard for 7 days on site or already here in Germany. Just read our detailed article about subway driving in New York , where we also give you all the important facts about the MetroCard.

How does taxi driving in New York?

Driving a taxi is much more common in New York than we know it from the big cities and somehow it is also part of a New York visit to drive through the city with a yellow cab at least once.

How it works? When the display on the taxi lights up, the taxi is free and you can wave it over.

You get in the back, let the driver go first (otherwise he is usually all other cars in the way) and then tell him where you want to go. It's best to always tell him directly on a crossroads.

Here's an example: The address of our hotel was 218 W 50th Street. Taxi drivers usually can not do that much with the statement. Look ahead on the map, at which intersection the address is. Our hotel was between 7th and 8th avenues, so we told the driver: 50th Street between 7th and 8th avenues.

Then you can sit back and watch the turmoil on the streets. At the end of the journey, you either pay cash or by credit card (eg with VISA, Mastercard, American Express).

But you have behind the front passenger seat a small display. There you just click through, choose how much tip you want to give the driver (we always give 15 percent) and pay with your chosen credit card.

The receipt then you get at the end of the driver. Incidentally, paying by credit card does not cost more.

And most importantly, please always climb out to the sidewalk and even there you should take a look backwards before you open the door. You never know in New York.

The alternative: drive over in New York

We love Uber! Unfortunately, the offer does not exist in Germany, but if you travel to a country where Uber exists, you should definitely use it.

For one thing, it's about 20 percent cheaper than driving a taxi and you usually meet really cool people at the wheel. You dare! You will love it!

Driving over is super easy. For that you simply load the Uber app on your mobile and enter all information there.

You just fill out your profile (do not worry, everything is really super fast) and deposit your desired form of payment.

If you decide in New York to take a Uber from A to B, you just have to open the app and type in which location you want to drive.

With the GPS turned on, Uber also knows where you are at that moment and tells you directly how much the trip will cost.

Then you just have to order your Uber, confirm your pickup address and an Uber driver will be assigned to your trip.

At that moment, you can already see where your driver is, how long it takes to reach you (usually only a few minutes) and you can even watch his way to your pick-up point live on the map.

You will also see the name and photo of the driver and the license plate of the car. So you can recognize your driver well and wave him to you.

If anything should happen, you can also send a message to the driver or just call him. Sometimes the driver calls you for a moment because he does not immediately find you in the crowd.

Attention : If you order your Uber, you give the driver your point of view at that time. So if you move away from this place after ordering, the driver can not know that. You can also choose a place of your choice when you order, so you can choose from the time of ordering. For example, you can still stay in the building and still be able to order your Uber to the entrance of the building.

Can I Bicycling in New York?

We personally are not fans of cycling in New York, but we have some readers who enjoyed it very much.

One of the ways to explore New York by bike is the CitiBike, whose stations you can find everywhere in New York.

You can rent the rental bikes with the CitiBike app and drive through the city for $ 30 for 30 minutes each. But then you have to turn it off again at a station.

There's also a 1- and 3-day pass ($ 12 and $ 34), which allow you to make as many 30-minute rides as you want, but you still have to park your bike at one station after 30 minutes and take a new one there for the next trip.

Alternative : You simply borrow a "normal" bike. Many hotels even provide bicycles free of charge.

Shopping Tax Refund

It's no secret that it's very easy to shop in New York. The question is, if you can go shopping in New York tax-free, of course, close. The answer: you can not.

VAT varies across the US in each state. In New York, it is 8.875 percent, making it one of the highest in the US.

Prices in the US are always stated without VAT, so you should expect the prices that you see, always roughly 10 percent on it. This not only applies to clothing, but also to food, drinks, prices in restaurants, etc ..

For clothes and shoes there is a special regulation: Under $ 110, the purchases are tax-free, ie there is no VAT on it.

Incidentally, this applies to every piece of clothing or every pair of shoes. So if you buy 5 things at 100 bucks with a purchase, the complete purchase is tax-free.

But beware : You may import goods worth up to 430 euros to Germany.

Can you drink tap water in New York?

Yes, the tap water in New York is theoretically drinkable. Why only theoretically? We do not like it.

When Jenny lived in the US for a year, she got used to the taste after a short while, but if you're in New York for just a week, the strong chlorine taste takes some getting used to.

But it is definitely not harmful to health and almost all restaurants and cafés serve tap water for free. If you're lucky, it's also filtered again.