7 Important Safety Tips for Visiting New York for the First Time
Towering skyscrapers, energetic streets and diverse districts, New York City is an incredible place for a holiday.
The Big Apple is one of the safest major cities in the USA, but it’s still important that you understand what to expect and how to make smart decisions.
We’ve come up with some top tips to help you navigate the city like a pro and make sure your trip is a success without getting ripped off or putting your safety at risk.
1. Arrival into JFK
If you’re flying into JFK, the busiest airport in New York City, you’ll want to start your trip off right, which means planning is key. Decide on your choice of transportation before leaving home and make sure your luggage is both manageable and recognisable.
While taxis are easy to come by in New York, some aren’t regulated by the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission and should be used with caution, especially if they are unmarked. To ensure you arrive at your destination safely, you should book some JFK airport transfers. This way, you also avoid any unprecedented fees.
Never leave your belongings unattended, including on counters and by doors. If a stranger offers to help you with your bags, politely decline. If anything seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
2. Riding the Subway
When it comes to efficient and affordable travel, NYC’s subway is at the top of the list but may seem a little daunting to newcomers at first. Note that you should only buy MetroCards from approved vendors in the station and make sure to stand behind the yellow line whenever you are waiting for the train.
If you’re using the subway late at night, try to position yourself in the conductor’s car. Generally, this is the middle car. There will also be signs to help indicate which this is so that you know where to get on once it arrives. Avoid moving to another car unless directed to do so.
3. Exploring NYC on Foot
New York is an incredible city to explore, but with so many people and things to see, you’ll need to take some precautions. Try to use the main streets and always cross at intersections. Remember, jaywalking is illegal here – you can’t just cross the road wherever you like.
Be diligent when following traffic signals and be aware of cyclists and cars. Always stick to well-lit roads at night and plot your route before heading out. If you get lost, seek out a shop owner or police officer for directions.
4. Beware of Pickpockets
Don’t let a lifted phone or wallet spoil your holiday. Like most destinations, pickpockets can be active, which is why you must remain vigilant and keep all of your belongings close to your person.
Some pickpockets will work together, with one causing a disturbance while another takes advantage of unaware bystanders. Street performances are one way they can catch you out, so ensure you pay attention whenever you stop to appreciate the local talent.
5. Stick to the Tourist Areas
Exploring Manhattan during day and night you are very unlikely to encouter any issues, but you should be cautious at night and also avoid some places. For example, its never a good idea to explore Central Park at night in the dark, stick to the day. Also avoid certain areas of Harlem, Brooklyn and Queens, specifically again at night.
6. Act like a Local
Dress conservatively and try to blend in; don’t stand out in a crowd by wearing conspicuous clothing and expensive jewelry. Always stay aware of what is going on around you and try to travel with company. Try to look confident; don’t carry maps and scowl at buildings, looking perplexed. You’ll stand out as a tourist.
7. Buy Travel Insurance
When ever travelling abroad you should make sure you have travel insurance, and this is especially for the USA.
Take out a comprehensive travel Insurance well in advance. Your policy should cover medical expenses in the event of illness, accident or hospitalization.
Ensure that apart from medical expenses, you’re covered for cancellation & curtailment, legal expenses, loss of baggage & passport, loss of money and repatriation, sports equipment and personal liability.