Going on vacation is an exciting and memorable experience, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Our trip to New York City (NYC) was filled with unexpected challenges and a few regrettable decisions. In this article, we’ll share the mistakes we made during our vacation to NYC, hoping to help future travellers avoid similar pitfalls. From hotel choices to navigating the bustling city streets, let our experiences be your guide to a smoother and more enjoyable trip.
Our choice of hotel was a massive mistake we made on our first trip to NYC. We prioritized cost over location and ended up staying far from Manhattan in Brooklyn, which led to excessive commuting times and added transportation expenses. Lesson learned: carefully consider the proximity of your hotel to the places you want to visit, even if it means spending a little more. It will save you valuable time and energy during your stay.
On our second trip, we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Manhattan / Midtown East on 52nd at 3rd St and had a way better trip due to staying closer to the action.
New York City’s weather can be notoriously fickle, and we didn’t adequately prepare for it. We assumed it would be mild during our visit, but we encountered unexpected rain and chilly temperatures. Always check the weather forecast before packing and be prepared for sudden changes. Having an umbrella, a light jacket, and comfortable walking shoes can make a world of difference when exploring the city.
Missed NYC Events: Fashion Week and More
Another regret was not taking advantage of the events happening in NYC during our stay. We missed the opportunity to attend Fashion Week and other cultural happenings. Before your trip, research upcoming events and festivals, and plan accordingly. NYC is known for its vibrant arts and entertainment scene, so make sure to align your visit with any exciting events or exhibitions.
Times Square: Timing is Key
Visiting Times Square is a quintessential NYC experience, but we made the mistake of going during peak hours. The massive crowds made it challenging to fully appreciate the iconic location. If you want to enjoy the vibrant lights and atmosphere without feeling overwhelmed, consider visiting Times Square during off-peak hours when it’s relatively quieter.
Regrets of Not Seeing a Broadway Show
Attending a Broadway show is often high on the list for NYC visitors, but we chose not to see a show on our first trip. This was a huge mistake.
On our second trip, we booked Hadestown in advance (last row of the theatre, but still great seats) and then went to TKTS at 250pm for a 3pm Shucked show. We paid $80 per ticket for 10th row, centre.
Consider your preferences and interests, and choose a show that aligns with them. It’s better to invest in a production you genuinely enjoy rather than settling for something that leaves you underwhelmed.
Free Museum Days: Don’t Overlook Them
NYC is home to some of the world’s most renowned museums, but we didn’t take full advantage of the free admission days. Many museums offer designated times or days when entry is free or pay-what-you-wish. Plan your visit to coincide with these opportunities and save some money while exploring the city’s rich cultural heritage.
The other thing to keep in mind is to look at whether the museums are 7-days a week and if something can impact your visit.
On our last trip, we were two days ahead of the grand opening of the Gilder Centre – a $465 million dollar expansion of the Natural History Museum.
The Struggle of Too Much Walking
While walking is an excellent way to explore NYC, we underestimated the sheer amount of walking required. NYC is vast, and the attractions can be spread out, so be prepared for long walks. Invest in comfortable footwear and take breaks when needed. It’s essential to find a balance between sightseeing and taking care of your physical well-being.
Seriously – we walked around 38,000 steps on our first day.
H-angry: Plan Your Meals Wisely
We made the mistake of not planning our meals strategically, which led to being hangry (hungry and angry) during parts of our trip. NYC offers an overwhelming number of dining options, but relying solely on spontaneous decisions can lead to disappointment or settling for subpar food. Research local restaurants, read reviews, and make reservations in advance to ensure you have satisfying dining experiences throughout your trip.
Our big tip was to use OpenTable to find reservations nearby, but don’t be afraid to compare the prices on the website versus what you find at the restaurant. We had to leave a taco place because “they had just changed the prices the night before”, increasing the prices more than 30% to the advertised price.
Research on Buildings: Avoid Regret
We regret not doing enough research on the buildings we encountered. NYC is known for its architectural marvels, and there is often fascinating history behind each structure. By conducting some preliminary research, you can appreciate the significance and beauty of the buildings you come across. Websites, guidebooks, or even local walking tours can provide valuable insights into NYC’s iconic architecture.
We also put together a full list of things to see from Atlas Obscura, a website that focuses on the unique and obscure that won’t be found in guidebooks.
Trusting the Internet and Online Food Options
Trusting the internet for all our needs, including restaurant recommendations and online food delivery, proved to be a mistake. While online resources can be helpful, they’re not foolproof. Always cross-reference multiple sources, read reviews from different platforms, and seek recommendations from locals or trusted sources. This way, you can avoid disappointment and make more informed choices.
Every vacation is a learning experience, and our two trips to NYC were no exception. By sharing the mistakes we made during our visits, we hope to help future travellers have a smoother and more enjoyable trip to the Big Apple. From hotel choices to researching attractions, planning meals, and embracing local events, taking these lessons to heart will undoubtedly enhance your overall experience in New York City. So, take note, learn from our missteps, and embark on your NYC adventure with confidence and excitement!