Pack Plan and Prep: NYC Travel Guide

While preparing for a weekend getaway or lengthy summer vacation in New York City there are several different things you should keep in mind. For instance, the local weather, food selection, hotel and lodging accommodations, airfare prices and practices, and regional/cultural norms all play different roles in how exactly you as a guest can best pack, plan, and prepare for a Big Apple adventure.

Use these helpful tips to ensure you have the best NYC trip possible!

NYC Stock Photos Public Domain

NYC packing is all about fashion, weather, and being prepared for any situation.

  • Layers - NYC weather is known to settle on the extremes, depending on the current season. Winters see an average temperature of a blustery 27 degrees, whereas summers oftentimes see a humid average of 86. Be prepared, pack several layers!
  • Umbrella - Along those same lines, you never know when unpredictable weather will come about, so be sure to pack a small umbrella for your walks (keyword being small, locals will hate you if you bring a large golf umbrella, there is not ample room on the sidewalks for them.)
  • Spinner Suitcase - Spinner suitcases, or similar varieties, are large enough to pack everything you need in them but also easy and durable enough to bring along with you without a hassle. The roller wheels are perfect for NYC sidewalk travel, as well.
  • Day Bag - Pack a day bag, gym bag, backpack, or tote along with you to the city so you can carry your wallet, documents, electronics, and extras such as food, emergency kits, chargers, etc.
  • Shoes - This may seem like a no-brainer, but we believe NYC calls for an extra emphasis to be placed on foot fashion because with all that walking you are going to need comfortable and supportive tennis shoes, as well as separate fashionable choices for the well-dressed New York City scene. Don’t overthink this one and pack too many, but don’t under think it and be uncomfortable or unfashionable, either.
  • Toiletries & Medications - Another obvious one: be sure to bring any shower stuff you may need or daily medications or vitamins. If you choose to bring them on as a carry on or take only one bag (the carry on) then be sure you pack liquids such as shampoos and body wash in 3.4 ounces or fewer containers, all zipped away in a clear quart-sized bag.
  • Electronics Chargers - If you are the type that needs to bring your smartphone, tablet, ebook reader, camera, laptop, and Fitbit to feel truly connected to a city (yikes), then you will want to double-check and be sure you have all the proper chargers needed. Our suggestion? Buy a universal or solar-powered charger, they come in handy on trips such as these where space (and perhaps time) are limited.
  • Wallet & Documents - You probably won’t need to worry about any documents or a Visa for a New York trip, but you will want to be sure you grab your flight tickets, lodging confirmations and any other reservation confirmations, and of course ID, passport, and money.
  • Flight Extras - If you have a particularly long flight or tend to get antsy or bored on your flight then don’t forget flight extras such as a travel pillow, books, and magazines, ebook readers, tablets, etc.
  • Emergency Kit - If you like to play it safe then you may want to consider packing an emergency kit for your day bag, a kit to include such things you may need in odd situations as batteries, a flashlight, band-aids, medicines, EpiPens, and similar items.
    Female red dotted shoes with vintage suitcase on floor and retro wallpaper.

    Vintage Suitcase Stockfresh

Such a big city requires big plans, so be sure not to leave any essentials out!

  • Reservations - Of course, you will want to call ahead and reserve any particular hotels, restaurants, live entertainment events, or special attractions before you go. This saves time, money, and a whole lot of big-city hassle once you get there.
  • Directions - Though many people tend to rely on their car GPS or smartphone connected maps to get them to where they need to go, it is still wise to prepare yourself for a trip like this with a glance at a map and visualization of where you will need to go and how to get there, just in case your electronics crap out on you and you really need to find your own way around. New York is extremely easy to get lost in for first-timers.
  • Itinerary - Like we love to do at this company for our clients, it is important to get a general idea of what you are going to do once you get to NYC. Creating a sample itinerary with the things you want to do, places you want to eat, and times you want to be there is a highly smart thing to do to be more prepared. And remember, it doesn’t have to be exactly followed, a simple outline will suffice.
  • Mail/Housesitter - A huge part of planning your trip to New York is to have a plan for the home you are leaving behind. Be sure to arrange a neighbor or family member to pick up the mail and/or paper, place all pets in a local kennel, or hire a house sitter to watch the animals, water the plants, and ensure the house is locked up and safe.
    Red pushpin showing the location of a destination point on a map

    Travel Map Pushpin Stockfresh

Go through this helpful prep checklist to ensure you have prepared to your fullest for this big trip!

  • Pack - Yeah, of course, you’re going to need to pack, just refer to the afore-mentioned NYC-needed items again!
  • Guidebook & Research - Prepare yourself a little further by picking up an NYC guidebook and doing a little research. For instance, do you know which neighborhood you want to spend the most time in? [Chelsea] Which stores are within your price range? [Darling] Which breakfast eateries will have the shortest 6 am coffee lines? [Stumptown] You should.
  • Inform Others - Let your family members, friends, neighbors, or significant others (or all of them) know where you are going and when. Leave them your hotel number and maybe even flight times and numbers, and let them know when you are expected to return. This added safety is absolutely necessary when traveling to a big city.
  • Charge Up - Plug in all the electronics, such as your phone and camera, you will be using on your trip before you go, ensuring they will be useful during your trek to the city, and even saving some time and hassle later in the travel day.
  • Email/Phone - If you rely heavily on email communications or business calls be sure to change your work voicemail and/or email message to something that relates the fact that you are ‘out of the office’ and when they can expect you to return.
  • Purge Food - Oftentimes overlooked in the travel prep stage if you are taking a particularly long trip and don’t have a house sitter lined up is the act of going through your kitchen and throwing out any food that may go bad during your trip. Trust us, you don’t want to come home to that smell! (Likewise, be sure to take out any trash throughout the house before you go).
  • Confirmations & Printing - As mentioned before, double-check all your confirmation numbers for reservations and lodging, and be sure to print out all tickets and codes you may need along the way!

Now you’re ready NYC, but is NYC ready for you?