Hello friend,

I’m so glad that you will be coming to my city. Growing up here was the privilege of a lifetime, and I am passionate about sharing my insights and knowledge with my friends. I hope that this information helps you plan a successful adventure and I can’t wait to meet up and tour you around!

Planning your Trip

The Boroughs

New York is composed of five “boroughs.”

For first-timers I recommend focusing on Manhattan with jaunts into the other boroughs. On subsequent trips, focus on the outer boroughs and unique places off the beaten path.

Where to Stay

For a first-timer I recommend staying in midtown Manhattan or Chelsea (the very north of Downtown, between 14th and 28th streets). This will give you quicker access to the “must-do” NYC attractions and give you the classic “New York experience”.  If you’ve done a trip already and seen many of the Manhattan landmarks I recommend staying in Brooklyn or Queens for your next visit to get a more authentic feel for what it’s like to live here. If you’ve been here a lot and know your way around, staying in the Bronx, Jersey City or Hoboken can be great options to save some cash while still having easy access to the heart of the city.

New York has outlawed AirBNB. Other short-term rental options may be available but could be unreliable. New York has great hotels but be prepared for the high rates. I don’t recommend splurging on a high-end hotel experience because in my opinion staying in your hotel is not what an NYC visit should be about. At the same time, the lower-end hotels can be dirty and loud, with bed bugs and roaches, so I don‘t recommend cheaping out either.

Generally, if you are booking well enough in advance, as a solo traveler you should be able to book a decent hotel room for between $150 and $250 a night. For a family of four splitting two rooms, expect to pay around $300 a night per room. I recommend booking very far in advance, but if you need to book a room at the last minute, deals are often available. Booking 1-2 weeks out is the most expensive time, so if you do not have accommodations and live life on the edge, feel free to try and book a room a few days before or even the day of. Remember to check the reviews. Anywhere with less than a four-star Google review has something wrong with it.

I recommend using Google to find hotels, compare pricing, and book online. For last-minute stays, I recommend the HotelTonight app.


New York has many free and cheap attractions and food. It also has some of the most expensive restaurants in the world, luxury shopping everywhere, and can obliterate your bank account if you’re not careful. If you have a moderate budget I recommend picking a few high-end experiences to splurge on. New York has the best of everything and whatever you are into you can find. So don’t miss your chance to ball out and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Just keep it to one or two parts of your trip, and spread your remaining budget out on more affordable activities.

You can have a fun day out in New York for as little as $50/day per traveler, but you will feel quite restricted. The more you budget the more flexibility you can have. But I recommend thinking through your budget in advance because your trip can end up costing much more than you bargained for if you don’t keep an eye on it.