Helpful NYC advice the guidebooks don't tell you


If someone recommends a place to you, check it out yourself to make sure it’s right for you. People like different things and equally expect different things from essentially the same thing. When you tell people you’re visiting NCY, everyone has a recommendation for you regardless if they were there 10 months or 10 years ago. The city changes and what was there last year may not be there now or may be different or may be being refurbished. It was my mum’s birthday when we were there and so many people told her of a famous cocktail bar so we got dressed up, headed over and it was closed for refurbishment. She was extremely disappointed, if only we’d thought ahead and checked it out for ourselves then this could’ve been avoided. So listen to people’s reccomendation but don’t go solely on that.

The city can be quite overwhelming, it’s constantly busy and noisy and you’re seeing so many iconic things all at once. If you have the time, i’d definitely recommend taking a few hours out of the city. This could be a whole day trip or even just a morning. We got our tour bus tickets from Gray Line which is the red bus (if you’ve been in any big city you’ll know which ones i mean) they offered day excursions which were really easy if you’re a little unsure about using the public transport. We decided to go to Woodbury Common Outlets because we’d found the shopping in the city so expensive. The outlets were about an hour away and it was so peaceful and relaxed! The shopping was also great just incase you’re wondering! If shopping isn’t your thing there is lots of other trips available. It’s really relaxing and allows the previous days to sink in because it’s quite overwhelming.

As a Brit, tipping in America is completely absurd! It feels like you are expected to tip EVERYONE between 14%-20%. To give you context, let’s talk about tipping in the UK. You go for a meal, the service is particularly good, say the bill is £40, you’d tip between £1-£5 depending on how generous you’re feeling. If the service is bad, you don’t tip- why would you tip for bad service? It completely misses the point of tipping. Another thing, they are not shy about asking for tips!

My advice is don’t be intimidated to tip because they ask for it. You do not owe people anything, you’ve paid for goods so don’t be pressured to give more. That being said, if the service is good then tip but tip an amount you feel comfortable with. As a customer, show me why i should tip you.

For being a very clean city, New York City has such a high level of pollution. If you’re not used to it, it will be quite hard on you… particularly your skin! Drink plenty of water, wash your face properly- the odd face-mask definitely wouldn’t hurt! Get sunscreen particularly for your face and perhaps one of the pollution defence sprays on the beauty market. I used the REN Flash Defence Anti-Pollution mist (x) which worked well but do this before your skin breaks out- preventing is better than correcting! Take good concealer as well… just incase!

If you feel like hitting a Broadway show, it’s tempting to buy your tickets online so you’re not worried about getting a seat or getting ripped off when you get there. Take it from someone who has been in your position, buy them over there. I’ve never bought tickets on the street so i was quite terrified they were going to be highly expensive and/or fake. Don’t buy tickets from people on the street. Right now i’ve probably highly confused you but stick with me, i’ll explain.

On Times Square there is a ticket booth which sells discounted tickets, their name is tkts (x). The booth opens at 3pm for an evening show and 10am for a matinee- you can only buy the tickets for that day and that show, so you couldn’t roll up at 10am to buy tickets for the night showing. You have to queue- we got there about 2.45pm and we had our tickets for 3.20pm so the line looks big but it moves quickly. You’re getting 40-50% off the ticket prices (we got two stalls tickets for Matilda and it was $165.) 100% recommend this to buy your tickets, get there before 3pm and you will get tickets- always best to have a back-up just incase but there was still empty seats in the theatre when we went.

Be aware, there is people wandering Times Square in very smart, efficient uniform with iPads who have a similar logo to tkts- don’t buy tickets from these people. There are plenty of signs telling you not to buy tickets from people on the streets but it’s very easy to be confused as the people on the streets look like they work for tkts- they don’t.


I definitely wasn’t prepared for just how expensive it is to eat, drink & shop. Two cocktails worked out about $30- i drink mojito’s for what it’s worth not champagne. It is expensive to eat and drink so just be prepared for it, it is what it is.

When i told people i was visiting NYC, i felt like everyone i told would sing me off a list of things “i had” to do or visit or places to eat to the point it was pretty overwhelming. I understand people were just being nice and recommendations are always a good thing but please don’t feel like you have to do anything. If you feel seeing the Statue of Liberty from the boat is enough then that’s okay, you don’t have to get off and walk around because someone else thinks you should. You don’t have to do anything so find your own way, do what you’re interested in and make the trip your own!


Those are my helpful tips! I’m going to do a whole separate post on Shopping in NYC (both the stores and the outlets|) and i’m going to do a stand-out moments post as well… just trying to fit it all in as i’m aware i need to finish my Zoella Bookclub and upload an August Favourites- where is the time gone?!

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you found it helpful please let me know in the comments below or if you have any similar tips to share!

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