New York Useful Facts
Flights and Transfers
Most flights direct from the UK land at JFK International Airport, and flights take an average of 7-8 hours from Heathrow and Gatwick. It’s also possible to fly directly to Newark International Airport, though the transfer time will likely be much longer. LaGuardia Airport is also a possibility, but only usually if you’ve already visited somewhere else in the US.
There are many ways to get from JFK to the city centre and it largely depends on how much you want to pay. The bus is the cheapest way, while for not much more you can opt for the JFK AirTrain which is a little faster. These will both cost less than $10. Shuttle buses are also available – and shared van will get you to into Manhattan for around $20. The next step up is a private taxi, which will cost in excess of $60 to get to your hotel, if you’re staying in Manhattan – there is a flat fee of $52.50 to anywhere in Manhattan, but you also have to pay for any tolls, and a tip is expected at the end.
You’ll need a visa in order to enter the USA. Citizens of the Visa Waiver Program, such as the UK, can travel the USA without a visa as long as they hold a valid Electronic System Travel Authorisation or ESTA, which you can apply for online. This will be valid for up to two years or until your visa expires, whichever is sooner.
English is the official language in America, though New York is an ethnically diverse destination so it’s common to hear other languages being spoken in many communities.
On foot – New York is a relatively easy city to navigate, as the streets are numbered east to west, and the avenues running north to south. This makes it easy to find your way around, and is the best way if you’re travelling short distances. Most people can walk an average of a block a minute, so you can cover quite a large distance in a relatively short time.
Buses – If you’re planning on journeying across town, buses are one of the best routes and can serve as a cheap mode of transport for seeing the main sights.
Subway – The subway is by far the cheapest and easiest way to get around in New York, despite its negative reputation. Fares are $2.50, regardless of how far you travel, and there are subway stops close to practically all of the city’s attractions.
Taxis – The distinctive yellow cabs of New York can be found in abundance in the heart of Manhattan, becoming less easy to find in the other four boroughs. An easy way to find an available taxi is to look to the medallion number on the roof – if it’s lit, then taxi is available; if not, the taxi is already occupied or the drive is off-duty. Fares begin from $2.50 plus $0.50 state tax, then $0.50 for every 1/5 mile travelled.
The US Dollar is the local currency, and credit cards are regularly accepted in hotels, shops and restaurants.
Vaccinations and Health
There are no specific vaccinations required before visiting New York City, but as health requirements constantly change it is worth checking with your GP prior to your holiday.