New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Over 50 million foreign and American tourists travel here each year, and the city receives international attention for everything from its culinary scene, to its architectural treasures, and everything in-between.
Though for a destination constantly in the spotlight, there are still a couple of things first-time visitors should know. And as hotel culture varies from one country to the next, the following are a few city-specific things to remember while planning your stay.
Ditch Your Car Though Don’t Take a Taxi
Parking in NYC is hard to come by, and New York locals don’t drive. If a hotel does offer parking, you’ll find it will usually be charged at a premium.
And navigating NYC traffic won’t leave you in a good mood. Ungodly gridlock is never a fun start to a holiday. Do your research, and book a hotel as close to your favorite attractions as you can. Walking distance is ideal, though if you’re too far away, opt for transport other than a taxi.
Taxis in NYC mean you’ll get stuck in traffic. They’re expensive, and your driver might not always know where to go. Take the subway, book an Uber, or rent a Citi Bike.
Photo CC Richard Burger
Know the Dress Code
The fashion motto in New York City is stylish but practical, and this dress code applies within NYC hotels.
During summer you should prioritize breathable cottons, and during winter opt for cozy wool sweaters. It’s important to pack layers regardless of the time of year, as you’ll likely be moving between outdoor and indoor settings when sightseeing.
Tipping Is Expected
Tipping is expected in hotels in the United States, and if you’re visiting America for the first time, you’ll want to budget for this.
If driving and using the hotel valet, a $2-5 tip is the norm for handling your car. Plan on giving a couple of dollars to the bellman, and leaving the same for the housekeepers who service your room. The standard restaurant tip is 15-20 % of the total bill. Pay the concierge $10 for special requests (i.e., if they organize an airline booking), and a couple of dollars for the bartender for your drinks.
Bring a Compact Umbrella
New York weather has a tendency to fluctuate from day-to-day, regardless of the season. Rainstorms come on without warning, and hotels often run out of umbrellas to lend guests.
Make a habit of checking the weather each morning, and regardless of the forecast, travel with your own compact umbrella. Most of the things to do in NYC can be enjoyed despite potential rain.
Don’t Eat in the Hotel
There’s nothing wrong with hotel restaurants, but New York is famous for its culinary scene, and the city has amazing restaurants which offer a diverse range of ethnic eats.
To truly experience New York’s culinary scene, make sure you’re not eating at the hotel every night. Whether you’re in the mood for some of Chinatown’s dirt-cheap dumplings, or Michelin star cuisine, you have access to all that and more here, so it would be a shame to not take advantage of it.