Before visiting NYC, do these 3 simple things to make your visit even better!!
Welcome to the Big Apple!!
New York City gets a shade under 50 million visitors each year. I don't think there's any kind of peak season or slowing down of visitors as it seems theres a constant flux on tourists to the fair city.
My friends visiting the city often asks what they should do and see when they are here and my reply to them is to do your research beforehand as when you arrive to the city it's going to be a non-stop full-speed tour. It may be a cliché, but time does seem to speed up and with so many attractions and sights to see, your visit need to be well planned. But, a small reminder to those coming here for a HOLIDAY, plan some down time as well to reflect and explore some of the surrounding boroughs.
The best times of the year to avoid the extreme heat of the Summer and potentially cold and icy winters is to plan your trip around Spring and Fall/Autumn. So if you can plan around these time to travel as it's much more pleasant temperature-wise.
1. Make a list of all the attractions you wish to see and things you wish to do. E.g. If you want to see Broadway shows, check out the online ticket service sites to check date & times for the shows and ticket prices and book the tickets ahead of time if you have a tight schedule. If you are flexible with your time you can go to the theater on the day and get tickets for shows that evening at substantially reduced prices. Attractions like the Empire Stat Building, Statute of Liberty and other major attractions usually have an online booking site and it's advisable to get your tickets way in advance to avoid long waits and potential disappointments. If you like visiting the numerous museums, be aware that they have "free" entrance days so take note of those times as they allow you to pay whatever you like or nothing. So, for those priority attractions make sure you have reserved your tickets in advance via the corresponding online sites.
2. If part of you holiday is to do some shopping - especially for those visiting from Europe due to the favorable exchange rates - there are some major clothing chains and electronic stores in Manhattan that you can visit for some great deals. Again, check their respective websites to find opening hours - on most cases the stores are open 7 days!!
3. If you're going to have a mobile phone with you check out my articles on travelling with a mobile or smartphone. The articles apply more to visitors from Europe and your GSM phones will start roaming immediately with either AT&T or T-Mobile. If you want to avoid the roaming charges, do not turn your phone on upon arriving to NYC and as soon as possible visit either an AT&T or T-Mobile carrier store and ask for a Pre-Paid SIM that they can activate for you immediately and you can at the some time put money to the "Pre-Paid" number you just purchased. Also check that your phone is an "unlocked" GSM phone before you leave home. If you're after wifi hotspots, most of the open parks offer free wifi in the Summer, as does all the Starbucks, MacDonalds, and Apple Store retail locations.
So there you have it - a couple of simple steps to prepare for your trip to the Big Apple. If you have questions or want to get some references on places to shop or attractions to see, I'll be happy to help out.