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Planning a holiday to New York? Things to know before you go

© DoctorWho (Flickr) New York Times Square
© DoctorWho (Flickr)
Arrival in New York

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your intended stay in the US and that you have a valid visa unless your country is part of the Visa Waiver Programme.


New York is served by three main airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and La Guardia (LGA), both located in Queens. JFK handles primarily international flights while LGA mostly domestic. The third airport is Newark International (EWR) located in New Jersey which handles both international and domestic flights. Although based farther from the city it’s generally less crowded with more modern facilities.

Connections to/from the airports can be done by AirTrain/Subway, taxi, bus or car service. From Newark when traffic is bad, traveling into Manhattan can take a long time, but public transportation is quick and efficient e.g. Monorail. You can visit the airports’ websites for more details.
Getting around
Public transportation

The fastest and cheapest way to get around Manhattan remains the subway. Use a public transit map from subway ticket booths. For more information you can go to www.mta.info.Taxis are most convenient transportation after 1am.

Travel Passes

The easiest way to travel on NYC transit system is the Metrocard. Get one at any newsstand or subway station. There are options for one day – great money saver – up to seven-day or unlimited cards. Unfortunately, it’s harder for two people to share one card as you must let 18 minutes pass between each swipe. Pay-per-ride options are also available.
Forward planning

You should definitely catch a show (or maybe more) on Broadway. At least three weeks before you go to New York pick a show and book tickets. You may also need to check at the TKTS booth. See www.tdf.org/tkts for details.

What’s on?

Also check out in advance what will be going on while you’re in town. There may be events you wouldn’t want to miss. Take a look at www.clubfreetime.com or www.freeinnyc.net.

Consider free sights to see

It costs nothing to enter Central Park or admire the city’s emblematic architecture. One also doesn’t have to spend a dime to catch the magnificence of Grand Central Terminal or the Le Corbusier’s UN building. Also note that most museums (except Metropolitan) have at least one evening a week when they drop the entry fee and take donations.

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