New York City Travel Guide

Take a good look at our New York guide! With everything you need to plan a trip on your own from start to finish! One of the destinations we know best and of which we have more articles published.

We have visited the Big Apple on many occasions, in one of them we spent two months there living the New Yorker life! In this New York City guide we have compiled and summarized everything you need to have a movie trip!

If you also take a look at all these tips to travel to New York for the first time, you will land in like a real expert!

Flights, accommodation, travel insurance, tickets, reservations… Here we go with our New York City guide!

Complete New York City Guide

New York Guide step 1: Flights to New York

Right now from Spain there are several companies that make the direct route to New York, including the low cost Level and Norwegian, which sometimes have very low prices!

The best thing, as we always recommend, is to do a search in Skyscanner and try more and less days until you find the flight that suits you best.

It cost us 400 euros/person, but we have seen lower prices. It always depends on the dates you plan to go.

The closest airport is JFK, but getting to Newark is sometimes cheaper and not a bad option either.


New York Guide step 2: Passport and ESTA

To enter the United States with a Spanish passport we can take advantage of the ESTA visa exemption, and we will only need it:

A passport with a minimum validity of six months.
Have completed the ESTA visa exemption application online.

It costs $14 and you usually receive your approved ESTA document in the mail within hours of applying.

Unless you have visited a country with which the United States does not have very good relations, as is the case with Iran. In this case you will have to go to the US embassy and apply for a visa.

There are many companies that apply for a visa exemption and then charge you a commission, the best thing is to do it yourself on the official website, it’s very simple

For travelers from other countries we do not know the requirements completely, it is best to inquire at your country’s U.S. embassy.


New York City Guide | Central Park

New York Guide step 3: Travel insurance for the United States

One of the most important things to do when travelling to the United States is to have travel insurance, although it is not compulsory, you should take it as if it were.

Healthcare in the United States is very expensive, a simple appendicitis does not go below 10,000 euros, you never know when you will need it and it is better to travel quietly! We wouldn’t dream of traveling to the U.S. without travel insurance.

We always recommend the Iati Estrella because it is the one that offers the most medical coverage, in addition you have a 5% discount on your insurance if you hire it from this link, so you save a little bit in this aspect and you can invest it in other things!

In this post you can read more tips for traveling to the United States.


New York City Guide Step 4: Airport Transfers

In the post about how to go from JFK to Manhattan you have all the data and information in detail, here I will try to summarize.

To get from the airport to our accommodation in New York, we have two options: the fast one or the cheap one.


Hire the transfers before leaving home and not worry about anything else! The driver will be waiting for you on arrival with a small sign and will drop you off at your hotel door.

It is the most comfortable option, after all the hours of plane is a pleasure to have someone who leaves you in your accommodation without having to complicate.

No matter what airport we land at, we’ll have no problem.

You can choose between shared transport and private transport, the former is cheaper and is the one we used on our last trip to New York! You can both book them from the link below.



Go by public transport. Of course it’s more cumbersome, you’re carrying your bags, you’ve just landed and your body doesn’t even know what time it is, but it’s also the cheapest!

From JFK Airport: First we take the Air Train that connects all terminals with the subway station and then the subway to our destination. This was the option we chose when we visited New York at Christmas, $8.75 per person.

From Newark Airport: First we take the Air Train that connects the terminals with the train station, and then the train to Penn Station ($15.25), once there we take the subway to our destination.

Free New York City Travel Guide

New York Guide step 5:Accommodation in New York

Accommodation in New York is not exactly the cheapest we’ve seen! Hehe! But well it’s in line with the big cities of the USA.

On this last trip to the Big Apple we stayed at the Pod Times Square, very cool! Very well located, new and modern.

The Pod Times Square has a private bathroom, unlike our accommodation last Christmas, the West Side YMCA which had a semi-private bathroom.

In New York, a lot of time is wasted moving from one place to another. We know this from experience and that’s why we always look for something that is in Manhattan and next to a subway station if possible.

Don’t miss our list of cheap accommodation in New York

Nor are the best places to stay in New York

Other interesting and “cheap” hotels in New York:

Another option is to book an apartment through Airbnb, we have done it in other occasions and with time you can find very cool and well located apartments.



New York City Guide step 6: Book your tickets in New York

Our advice is to book the tickets from home, so you avoid wasting your valuable travel time in queues to buy the ticket.

Our recommendation is that you plan to visit all the tourist sites first thing in the morning, we can assure you that it is worth it! You’ll save yourself a lot of lost time in lines.

Buying a New York tourist card can also be a good option, in the next point we will talk about them.

Recommended tickets to buy from home:

Entrance to some Broadway MUSIC.
Entrance to the TOP OF THE ROCK, in the Rockefeller building. For us the best viewpoint in town! Book here.
Tickets to see a New York Knicks NBA game at Madison Square Garden. Book here.
Other RESTAURANT reservations.
Top of the Rock, New York

Other tours to book from home:

Tour of contrasts, one of the most famous in New York! More info here. We did the VIP contrast tour, with less people and in a smaller van, highly recommended!

New York Guide step #7:New York Tourist Cards

If this is your first time in New York, it will most likely pay off to buy one of the tourist cards, so you can save some money on tickets.

The four main tourist cards for New York are:

– The New York Pass. More info

– The New York Sightseeing Pass. More info

– New York CityPass. More info

– New York Explorer Pass. More info

The most famous of all is the New York Pass, but recently it has come up with a great competitor which is the New York Sightseeing Pass.

The main difference between the two is that the New York Pass has access to the Empire State Building and the New York Sightseeing Pass has access to the One World Trade Observatory.

Brooklyn Bridge | New York City Guide

New York City Guide Step 8: Tours from New York City

The city has a huge tourist offer, even though you will surely repeat that you have a lot of other things to see and do in New York that you didn’t do the first time.

But if you have enough days and feel like discovering a little more of the United States, the main excursions from New York are

– EXCURSION TO WASHINGTON. We rented a car for this excursion, you can go on your own and once there take a guided tour or go on an organized tour from New York (he has very good opinions). There is also the option of taking a train or bus to Washington.

– EXCURSION TO NIAGARA FALLS. We also did it on our own, although it’s a lot of driving hours, but we love road trips! There is also the option of taking the excursion on an organized tour.

– EXCURSION TO BOSTON. We don’t know this city yet, but like the previous ones you can visit it on your own by renting a car or taking a train, or on an organized tour.

If you are thinking of renting a car, our post with tips for renting a car in the United States can help you.

If we had to choose one, we’d have no doubt, Niagara Falls are amazing!


New York Guide Step 9: Cards and Currency Exchange

Is one of the most recurrent questions currency exchange before the trip?

Before you leave, check the charges your card has for paying in a currency other than the euro and for withdrawing from the cash machine, to avoid any scare!

We use the N26 card with which we can pay in any currency with no exchange fees and we also carry the BNEXT and REVOLUT cards that do not charge fees for withdrawals from the ATM.

We recommend you take the N26 because it is the most reliable of all when it comes to paying, we have never been turned down and it has worked wonders for us on all our trips to the USA, it is free like the other two.

Normally we don’t change money before we leave, when we arrive we take out a little bit of money from the ATM and most things are paid for with a card.

But if you prefer to arrive with some cash, a good option is to do it in Ria, they make a good change and it is very comfortable because they send it to your home in a few days. You also have a discount from our link.

Banks usually make a very bad exchange rate, but you can check it at your usual bank. And if you have to change once there, better do it in Manhattan because at the airport the change is not very good.


Travel to New York City on your own | Central Park

New York Guide Step 10: Electricity and Plugs in the United States

Electricity in the United States works at 120V and in Spain it works at 230V.

With most things we will have no problem, but some small appliances such as hair dryers, hair straighteners or razors may not work or if they do they will go to “half power”.

To know if something we want to take with us will work there, we have to look at the plug, which should indicate something like this: 120V – 230V, if you only put 230V it will probably not work in the United States.

The plugs are not the same either, but we quickly solved that with a plug adapter like this one. We recommend that you also bring a USB stick so that we can charge several things at once!

New York Guide step #11:SIM Card for the United States

To stay connected in New York and be able to consult anything on the internet, schedules, directions, maps, etc! We recommend buying this SIM card (with a 5% discount) before leaving home.

We activate it as soon as we set foot in the United States and we have internet running on our mobile phone with unlimited data.

In addition, Holafly has a 24 hour help service in Spanish in case we have any problems with the activation.

It depends on the days you’re going to use the SIM card, it has a price. For example, for seven days it costs 34 euros.

ORDER SIM CARD IN HOLAFLY with 5% discount!

New York for free | Preparations

New York Guide step 12: Essential applications

Some applications helped us on our trip to New York:

– Application of the MTA. Real-time bus location, transportation incidents, routes, how to get from one place to another, etc. App on Android. App on Iphone.

– Application of YELP. Around here we are more used to using TripAdvisor, (which by the way now has a social network we are also on! You can join us here) but in the United States they use more Yelp. To know the reviews of the restaurants we consulted it a lot!

– GOOGLE MAPS. This one may be obvious but it’s the best of the best! I don’t know what we would do without it, we use it a lot when we are on the road!

New York Guide step #13:Read all our New York articles

This New York guide wouldn’t be complete without all the articles we have written! You can also see them here. New York in 7 days, daily route + tips

15 tips for first time travel to New York

60 things to see and do in New York

Tourist cards in New York, are they worth it?

Where to stay in New York, the best areas and neighborhoods

Where to stay in New York City cheaply

Getting from JFK to Manhattan

Cheap Broadway tickets

Getting around New York City : Public Transportation

Budget for travel to New York 7 days

Where to eat in New York, 20 recommendations

12 tips for first time travel to the USA

How to have internet in the United States – SIM card

The best travel insurance for the USA

The best cards to travel without commissions

10 must-see places in New York

Christmas in New York – Travel Guide

The Christmas lights of Dyker Heights, New York

Little Italy, New York City Travel Guide

New York City Guide Step 14: Luggage drop-off

If your flight arrives too early or leaves too late and you can’t (or don’t want to) leave your luggage at your hotel in New York, you can leave it in the Luggage Hero lockers.

They have a lot of them spread around Manhattan and with the reservation you have an insurance in case anything happens to the suitcase.

We have never used it in New York but we have used it in London and it worked very well!

You also have 2 hours free with the code HOUSINGTRAVEL, you have to put it in the upper right side where it indicates “promo code” as soon as you enter the Luggage Hero website.

We couldn’t stop including it in this New York guide because we think it could be good for a lot of travelers!

New York City Guide Step 15: Pack your bags!

After all this, you have to have everything ready to travel to New York City on your own and dive into its streets among endless skyscrapers!

Now all you have to do is pack!

Remember to take all reservations printed out in case they are requested at immigration control upon arrival.

If you travel in winter to New York nothing you take with you will be left over, fill your suitcase with thermal clothes and take everything double, double pants, double socks, double gloves!

From our route along the West Coast, we always take these organizers with us to pack, the truth is that it has been a real discovery and helps us to bring everything more orderly.

If you are going to padlock your suitcase, remember to use a TSA lock so that in case of inspection the agents can open the suitcase without breaking it.

In the United States it is quite common for them to open their bags as a routine inspection.

In this post you have the details of our photo equipment and other luggage that we take with us on each trip.

And so much for our New York City guide!

I don’t think we missed anything! If you have any questions you can leave us a comment below and we will respond shortly.

We hope it will help you and that you will enjoy your visit to New York to the fullest.


Other links of interest for your visit to New York