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Going Solo in New York: The Way to Travel

by Mitchell on January 22, 2012

This is a guest post from Steven at www.thetravelguru.org

Leaving the cozy comfort of our local areas and home towns can be an exhilarating experience, but a daunting one at the same time, especially if you are about to embark on this adventure alone. Personally, travelling with friends or family is great fun, you always have the joys of seeing new things through a multiple set of eyes, all with different views, but travelling on your own can be extremely beneficial and provides a greater sense of independence and makes it easier to connect with the locals. I also found travelling on my own, at a young age of course, gave me the opportunity to be more responsible and allowed me to appreciate a completely different culture to that of my own.

The Look

First things first, if you are travelling alone then you might be more vulnerable to harassment and street theft, but the trick is to look confident and try not stand out as a tourist, especially in very crowed, touristic areas. Try to keep in well lit areas and not to wander to much off the beaten track, and if asked, never admit you are travelling on your own. Keeping in contact with friends and family is good, because they will always know your whereabouts and your itinerary.

The Packing

Always the first question we present ourselves with just before travelling, what and how to pack? With New York City being one of the fashion capitals of the world, the biggest dilemma you have is having good footwear, because you will walk a lot! I always go for a casual pair of shoes that are both comfortable to walk in and would look great with a pair of jeans in the evening. If you think you might venture into more snazzy places in the Big Apple, then throw in a smart pair of shoes as well. Same with clothing, I always go for inter-changeable items that can be mixed and matched to suite any occasion. Just keep an eye on the weather though, you do not want to be too hot or too cold!

Where to Stay

As important as any question could be, my next thoughts focused on where I could stay during my time in New York. As you can imagine, there are thousands upon thousands of hostels, hotels and apartments in New York, and picking the right one when travelling on my own took some careful thinking. Depending on your budget, you can always stay in vacation rental apartments in NYC, or go the cheaper route, like I did and find a decent hostel in the right location. Try keep away from advertisements that sound to be too good to be true, like $20 per night in a hostel in the exclusive Upper West Side. Do you research beforehand and, if you are a woman travelling on your own, there are accommodation options for you that only cater for women, and you could also share rooms with other like minded, solo travelers.

The Fun Part

As the city that never sleeps, there is something for everyone to do and see while spending time in this awesome city. Staying in hostels will provide great access to meeting new, like minded travelers and who knows may be you will have some future destinations to visit. What I liked about New York, was that I could keep coming back and visiting completely new places, from museums to parks and then onto famous landmarks and legendary stores. One of my first memorable moments in New York was many years ago in December, with the snow falling gently down, I had a sudden urge to jump on a horse and carriage ride around Central Park – I am so glad I did. If you want to mix travel and food, I would suggest you go to Grand Central Station, which allows you to get around the city very easily via the subway, but the food court is mind blowing – great for having a snack on the run. Visiting Ground Zero is a humbling experience also and I would recommend you to venture there, and while you are in the area you have got to take a walk down Wall Street, you will not be disappointed. Another great experience for me was making my way to the Chelsea Food Market, I simply adore markets and this one is very special. As far as museums go, and at the risk of sound clichéd, I really enjoyed the Guggenheim in the Upper East Side, the look from both the inside and outside was amazing. But you can always visit many smaller galleries in the city or more famous museums like the MET and MoMA, the choice is yours! There are many associations in New York that cater for the tourists, from helping with general information to actually introducing New Yorkers and travelers to each other. I have read about these associations and heard that they are very good and worthwhile. This article was written by Steven, a travel writer & blogger for Nycvacationrentalsonline.com, providers of holiday apartments in New York.

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