11 Essentials for Your NYC Trip

Which essentials do you need to pack for New York City?

Are you going on a city trip to New York? And are you having trouble deciding what you REALLY need regardless of the season? With these 11 essentials, you are ready to explore this amazing city!

Getting around is much simpler with a mobile phone full of helpful travel apps. These are some of my favorites:

  • Install Google Maps (make sure to download the area beforehand, so you can navigate offline as well)
  • Use Citymapper for public transportation
  • If you are planning to take a cab you might want to install Uber
  • Unlock a New York city bike with Citi Bike
  • Download a currency converter like XE Currency
  • Use Google Translate if you are having trouble understanding English
  • Install TripAdvisor to get tips from other travelers
  • Get restaurants reviews and recommendations on Yelp

A paper map (usually available in all hotels or souvenir shops) or a city guide is a smart idea, because:

  • Your phone service can be out order
  • Your battery could run out of power (to prevent that see #9!)
  • GPS isn’t always reliable or available

There is no service in most subway stations and none at all on the actual subway. This is the perfect moment to figure out how to get to your next point of interest!

ATM’s are available and almost every place takes cards but having a little bit of cash might come in handy. I would suggest about $25 on a daily basis. I find cash easy for small payments, like a bathroom visit or for a small snack/drink.

Watching Sex & the City might made you think that you can easily walk in Jimmy Choos! BUT New York is a walking city and, believe me, comfort is key when you are walking that much. You might want to bring the following type of shoes:

  • A good pair of sneakers or other comfortable shoes with a solid sole are necessary. Also pick a pair that you can clean easily afterwards. Don’t be surprised to end up with dirt on your shoes after one day already…
  • Sandals or flats can be an option, but your feet might turn out dirty. Always carry a back-up pair of comfy shoes in your bag!
  • Flip flops can be a lifesaver if you end up in a not-so-clean accommodation.
  • You can definitely bring a pair of heels (hello, fancy dinner!) but save them for short walks.

New York’s weather is unpredictable. It can change frequently and drastically! Regardless of the month I can recommend to always bring a jacket and/or a sweater. During the summer you’ll probably be wearing a jacket only at night, but because the majority of the buildings have air conditioning a sweater will be a life saver.

It’s nice to have a bag in which you can carry everything (like a water bottle, some snacks, camera and an extra layer of clothing) you need for a full day. And it’s a relief to have your hands free while walking:

  • Personally, I love to carry a fashionable backpack. A backpack divides the weight and you will feel more in balance.

  • If you’re not into backpacks, satchels and messenger bags are the way to go. They are also widely used by commuting locals. So, you will blend in perfectly!

Sunglasses are essential to a New York City wardrobe. Sunglasses help you to look stylishly (jetlag, anyone?) at all times and of course it helps to protect your eyes against the sun’s UV rays. No matter the season, New Yorkers love their pair of sunnies. So bring your favorite shades (and its case) with you!

Make sure to bring your mobile phone (duh!) and check the settings before you leave New York:

  • Are you able to use your mobile phone in the US or do you plan to buy a local prepaid card?
  • Have you checked your data roaming and voicemail settings to prevent high bills?
  • If you’re planning to use a local or travel SIM, is your mobile phone unlocked?

Of course, you could take photos with your mobile phone BUT you definitely won’t regret bringing a real camera:

  • If your phone battery dies you can still capture memories from your trip
  • You will have more features to ensure that your photos come out perfectly
  • You have the option to edit your photos afterwards with proper editing software

How much time are you going to spend in your (hotel) room during your trip? If the answer is “not much” a portable charger is a must! Even with a paper map or city guide you’ll be on your mobile phone and various other electronics off and on, over long periods of time. Also, don’t forget to bring the connectors of the devices you’re planning to recharge with you!

Leave a little extra space in your suitcase because New York is one of the most famous shopping cities in the world! Maybe you will come across your dream designer bag? Or find a cool pair of vintage Levi’s in one of the many thrift shops? Saving extra space in your luggage is essential when you’re planning a trip to this city!

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11 New York City essentials

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