New York is so far my most favourite place I have visited. I love the things to do, places to see, the people and the vibe. If you are planning your first trip to New York, it really is worth putting in the time before you go to plan your itinerary to make the most of your time whilst you are there.

That way you can get off the plane and hit the floor running. After all New York is the city that never sleeps!

planning your first trip to New York
Slightly shaky picture taken from our helicopter flight over the city.

Ensure you have an ESTA

Making sure you have the correct travel documents when planning your first trip to New York is essential. Passports, travel insurance and your flight tickets are the obvious things. But you should always check what other documents the country you are visiting requires you to have.

When visiting anywhere in the USA you will need an ESTA which is a Electronic System for Travel Authorisation. It is used by US Customs and Border Protection to preemptively screen visitors to the country.

An ESTA is required whether you are visiting for a holiday or for business, and entry to the States will be refused without one. You can apply for an ESTA easily by filling out an online form. The cost is £29.95 per person and children will need their own ESTA when travelling too.

An ESTA USA is valid for two years. During that two years you can visit the States as many times as you wish for a maximum of 90 consecutive days per visit.

planning your first trip to New York
“How you doin’?”

Travel Money Card

I never know how much cash to take when travelling. The Post Office Travel Money Card makes paying for things abroad so much easier. It’s effectively a pre-paid credit card. Once you have applied for the Travel Money Card, you can download an app where you check or can top up your balance at any time.

planning your first trip to New York
So many stores, so little time.

Do some research

New York has so much to offer. Realistically you are not going to fit everything in on your first visit. Research the things New York has to offer. Whilst visiting Tiffany’s might be a must for you, there may also be things available that you hadn’t thought of. The best plans always start with a list. Make a list of all the things you want to do and then prioritise them.

Look how happy I am!

Plan what you want to do by area

Getting around New York is actually pretty straight forward. Whether you are on foot, in a cab or use the subway, the grid system is easy to navigate. It is worth looking at some maps before you go so you can plan things in close proximity to one another on the same day. For example, Ground Zero is close to the ferry for Staten Island. Grand Central Terminal is near to the Chrysler Building and New York Public Library.

It doesn’t take long to get your bearings and work out what distances are walk-able, and what you might prefer some wheels for. Heels are definitely not recommended though. Even if they are stylish!

planning your first trip to New York
Times Square

Book things in advance

There are bound to be some things high on your priority list when planning your first trip to New York, Whether it’s going to the top of the Empire State Building, Taking in a game at Maddison Square Garden, or a show on Broadway. Maybe you want to do a movie tour, take a boat trip around the Statue of Liberty, or visit the outlet stores in New Jersey. It’s simple to book most things in advance, which save you time spent queuing and avoids disappointment.

Get Recommendations

It’s always worth talking to people who have been before to find out what they really enjoyed. Whether it’s hotel or restaurant recommendations, or maybe something they did that you hadn’t thought of. You can gain from someone elses experience.

I wasn’t a fan. One bite and it went in the bin!

New York has so much to offer. More than you can fit into one trip. That’s why planning your first trip to New York is worth the effort. Once you’ve tasted the Big Apple, you will definitely want more.

This post is sponsored by e-visa.




Claire Kirby

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