Step-by-Step Guide: Planning a Trip to New York City


Step-by- Step Guide: Planning a Trip to New York City

Step 1: Select Your Dates

Before Planning a Trip to New York City you will first want to decide what time of year you would like to travel.

There really isn’t a “bad time” of year to go to New York. Every season in NYC is magical in its own way.

I myself like to go in the off-season just because it’s a bit cheaper, and less crowds…if there is such a thing in NY. Do some research online, look at the different events going on, and decide when you would like to go.

Step 2: Accommodations

Once you have your dates, or around the date, in mind you can start looking online for great accommodations.

I typically use when booking my accommodations. They have great options for groups or solo travelers, like me, plus they have several options for booking with little down, or even no deposit at all, and you’ll pay in full once you arrive….which I really like. 

I’ve stayed at the Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan a couple of times… which was a convenient 5 minute walk to Times Square…however this time I will be trying out my first Hostel experience staying at The Jane Hotel!!!

It’s all about what price range you’re looking for…but keep in mind…you are not going to the greatest city on earth to hang out at your hotel.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links. It is no additional cost to you, and I cross my heart I only recommend products and deals that will help you get the most out of your travel experience.

Step 3: Transportation

Once I’ve settled on a few accommodation options I search for transportation options. I also decide this based on price. #budgettraveler

I’ll be taking the Amtrak Crescent Train into Penn Station on my upcoming trip.

For more info on Amtrak Train Travel Click Here!

I love traveling by train but if I can find cheap airfare I’ll go that route too. Skyscanner and Spirit Airlines usually have cheap deals to one of the three major airports in the vicinity of NYC.

Just keep in mind a taxi ride from the airports into Manhattan range from $45 and up. 

Once in New York City you can use one of the many transportation services to get around but I walk…ALOT. You can also use the subway, taxis or the MTA bus system but NY is the greatest walking city on earth…utilize this.

Experience the city on foot!! 

Step 4: Book Everything

After I’ve weighed the pros and cons of Accommodation prices vs Transportation costs I book everything.

I’ve tried the methods of booking on certain days and found the sooner the better. I have put together a week-long Disney Vacation in 4 days notice before so anything is possible….but better to plan ahead.


Related Post: 5 Things You Must Do in New York City


Step 5: Dining Budget

Decide your daily food budget. This is where you’ll decide if you’re gonna budget for cheap eats or splurge.

In New York City I like to splurge on 3 things: Coffee, Brunch, and Alcohol.

For this upcoming trip I will still splurge a little but I will also look for cheap eats like food trucks and pretzels the rest of the time. I’m on a tight budget this trip but I must have Brunch…I mean it’s NY…I need my morning Mimosa in public without the judgmental looks I would get in my small hometown.:lol: 

Step 6: Itinerary

My favorite part of the planning process: Activities!!

Look up the events going on while you’re in NYC. There’s always something to see and do in the city that never sleeps.

Since I’ll be going during the Fall a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is at the very top of my list!!

Step 7: Make Lists

Now that you’ve booked everything, know your food budget, and have an idea of your day-to-day shenanigans it’s time for the List Making!!

What to Pack: I bought the Knock-Knock Packing List book at a travel shop while on vacation a few years ago, and I use it for every trip I take. It’s and absolute life saver! I’m a minimalist traveler so I normally cut this list down even further to the bare necessities. 

Needs before Trip: After you make your Packing List make a list of the things you need to purchase before you leave. 

Outfits: Layers…always go with layers when traveling. Also check the weather a few days before leaving to add or remove any necessary items. 

I also use Pinterest for my NYC travel wardrobe inspiration. Click here to Follow my NYC Board for more inspiration!

All you need to do now is follow my 10 Things to Do Before You Travel Post and then head out on your NYC Adventure!!

I hope this Step by Step Guide to Planning a Trip to New York City was everything you need to help plan your next trip!

Enjoy your Journey to the Big Apple!! - Your Source for NYC Landmarks!

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  1. Jane Aams

    Great blog. You made great suggestions. Going by train can be great, but exhausting. Have you ever stayed in a hostel? You will be without privacy. Hostel stays are good for younger people. When you get older comfort becomes a necessity.

    19 . Aug . 2016

      Thank you!! This will be my first time staying in a hostel…I did opt for the private room though…so not quite the normal “dorm style” hostel experience.

      19 . Aug . 2016
  2. Denise Salcedo

    Simple and straightforward! Good tips for planning any trip!

    18 . Aug . 2016

      Absolutely!! Thank you!!

      18 . Aug . 2016
  3. Liz

    I’ve stayed in hostels in Europe a few times, but I’m curious how the hostels are in the States. I would expect it’s pretty similar in NYC since it’s so international. Have fun! It’s always great meeting other travelers at the hostel. And you’re right, NYC is a great city for walking 🙂

    18 . Aug . 2016

      I will be doing a full review of the hostel after I return from my trip so be sure to check it out!! Thanks so much and thank you for connecting!!😄

      18 . Aug . 2016
  4. Becca Barnes

    We did exactly the same thing! We saved by getting picnic food from bakeries and grocery stores and eating outside for lunch.

    Can seriously recommend Sugar & Plumm for brunch – the lemon ricotta pancakes were AMAZING. We went to the cafe on the Upper West Side but think there’s one more?
    Anyway have an amazing trip!

    Will keep in touch for sure 🙂
    Becca Barnes

    18 . Aug . 2016

      I will have to check out Sugar&Plumm for sure!! Thanks so much!! and def stay in touch!!😊

      18 . Aug . 2016

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