Home to over 8.5 million people and described as the cultural and media capital of the world, New York City is unlike any other. If you’re planning on taking on this animal anytime soon, here’s my personal list of everything you REALLY need to survive this bustling city!
- A Battery Pack. Yes girl, your phone can die- and it will. In a city with over 24,000 restaurants, 5 boroughs, and plenty of places to visit/things to do, it doesn’t take long to hit the dreaded 10%. Compare it to driving on empty and trusting your vehicle to make it there. Not fun.
- Good Walking Shoes. Surprised? Don’t be. This doesn’t have to be that lovely pair of sketchers you threw in the back of your closet and never intended on wearing, but it does need to be something you can confidently strut in without fear of chafing or sore feet. The first day I was in New York, I walked over 10 miles! My personal favorite are adidas superstars with a backup pair of canvas slip ons.
- Light Jacket or Sweater. Layering is everything! Being right on the water, the city can get quite windy while a couple levels down in the subway will have you questioning how close you are to hell. Speaking of subway…
- MTA Card. AKA The Holy Grail. A short Uber or Lyft ride can easily cost you over $40 and taxis are even worse. For just $32 you can get an unlimited metro card that’ll last 7 days and give you access to all trains, subways, and buses in the city. Just route your trip through maps under the transit option and you’re all set! Plus, due to New York’s well established traffic, you’ll probably get there faster using public transportation anyways.
- A Backpack. Forget the roll along! Not only does this quickly become a lot to tow around, but it also makes you a target to be taken advantage of. Nothing says “I’m not from here” like a huge, heavy suitcase. You’ll be able to move faster with a backpack and prevent congestion when you conquer the many flights of stairs at the train station. You got this!
- Snacks. Food here can get expensive! Consider packing small snacks to save money and shop at local grocery stores for a quick bite. The fruit stands in Brooklyn are amazing and surprisingly affordable! I also like to keep an assortment of Kind Bars in my backpack for a cheap go-to.
- Empty Water Bottle. The thirst is real! All this walking will leave you parched, so rather than dropping $6 on some exotic drink you’ve never heard of, stop by any Starbucks and fill er’ up! It’s free, triple filtered, and saves on plastic waste. If you’re feeling artsy- get the exotic drink while you’re there and your cup/bottle will land you a 10 cent discount. It’s minuscule, but it builds. If you’re not feeling coffee, New York’s tap is among some of the cleanest city water available.
- Compact Umbrella. When it rains, it pours. I also recommend a large ziplock bag to keep it in. (This prevents everything in the backpack from getting soaked.)
- Adhesive Phone Wallet. To store your MTA card for easy accessibility.
- An Open Mind. There’s an unlimited amount of things to experience in this city, so don’t confine yourself to all the standard tourist locations! Check in with local events, venture out to other boroughs, and get in touch with what makes you tick. They don’t call it the city of dreams for nothing!