Sunday, March 3, 2019

10 Tips to Keep in Mind While Navigating Yourself Through New York City

All photos taken on the Brooklyn Bridge by NYC Photoprophecy 
Navigating New York City is quite the adventure. When I first arrived here back in August for grad school, I had no idea what to expect. I’m studying journalism, so my job requires me to travel all over the city to do my reporting and getting lost is my forte. I’m from Connecticut, so I visited the city quite a bit growing up but I’ve never been here alone prior to starting my new school. It can be… overwhelming to travel by yourself here to say the least. There are crowds upon crowds of people, street corners that don’t seem to make sense and then there’s the subway. Don’t even get me started on the subway! If you’re feeling a little lost navigating your way through the big apple or simply need a few helpful tips for your next trip, I’ve got you covered with this post. 

Carry a Phone with You
I know this is common sense, but there have been times where I’ve almost forgotten my phone at home or it nearly died while I was walking around an unfamiliar neighborhood. Making sure your phone is fully charged and you are carrying a charger and portable charger.

Have Two Metro Cards
One of the first tips I received from a professor during grad school orientation is to carry at least two metro cards with you. This way, if you lose one or one runs out of money and you don’t have the time or the means to refill it then you can rely on the other one. It will make you feel more secure while travelling here I promise!

Always Tell Someone Where You’re Going
I like to think I’m invincible sometimes and don’t have to rely on anyone but telling a friend or family member where you’re traveling for the day is a smart precaution to take.  And this tip applies to any city or location. Turning on your locations to share them with someone close to you is also worth doing for an extra level of comfort.

Look Up Where You’re Going Before you Arrive
I always look up my destination before I arrive. I like a mental image of the place I’m about to travel to because it makes me feel more comfortable with the situation. I also like to find places I can run into if necessary like a Starbucks or Dunkin’.

Be Alert
I can’t tell you how many people I witness listening to music or texting while walking through the city every day. You’re impairing your sense by doing this and distracting yourself from crossing the street or heading in the right direction.

Don’t Panic
There have been plenty of times I’ve gotten lost and the first thing I’d like to do is panic. Take a moment to calm yourself down, walk over to a store or ask someone for directions. Chances are, you aren’t as lost as it seems. It’s easy to miss a subway station or store if you follow the GPS on your phone but it could be right down the street if you take the time to find it calmly.

Download Uber and Lyft
I was never a huge fan of these apps until last year when I realized how convenient they are for travel. The price adds up quickly so I wouldn't recommend taking it for a far ride but it's pretty cheap if you're going from Midtown, Manhattan to downtown or vice-versa. You can also take a ride to your subway stop if you don't want to walk the distance from the subway to your destination. This is often what I do and it makes me feel less nervous about getting lost because then I'm right at my stop. 

Download the MyMTA App
This app is seriously a lifesaver for me. I don’t know how I’d navigate the subway without it! If you put in your current location and where you’d like to head, it will map your trip for you and show you your subway stop options.

Ask for Help 
Don't be afraid to ask a store clerk or a waitress in a nearby restaurant for directions. Employees are usually very kind to tourists and want to help in any way that they can.

Don't Act Lost 
Another tip I received from grad school instructors during my orientation was not to walk around and look lost. If you went the wrong way, take a moment to restart your GPS or pop into the nearest building and ask for help rather than walk around aimlessly. 

I hope these tips were helpful! Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about New York City.

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