Housemate Advice comes from an Our Place Housemate with knowledge to share. Here, Tania Quiros from Costa Rica shares safety tips for exploring NYC on your own.
Have you ever heard the saying ‘common sense isn’t always common’? Some of the following tips may sound obvious but a simple reminder can go a long way. Keep them in mind before heading out to explore the BIG city!
1. Act, look, BE confident
Look like you know where you’re going, even if you don't! It's a fast-paced city, walk confidently, head high, with a smile on your face ;)
2. Blend with the locals
There is nothing wrong with being a tourist or visitor, and you may want to stand out with a chic outfit, it’s New York, right? But we are talking about minimizing risks, you don’t want to have all eyes on you when trying to find your way around, so, dress comfortably and appropriately for the day’s activities.
3. Don’t carry a big bag
We girls manage to carry a million things in our bags, but do we really need all that? Not in NYC! Essentials things only. Carry a copy of your ID and passport, your phone and money in a safe small bag. Don’t forget your lip balm!
4. Taking the subway…
can be quite the adventure but it can be a little intimidating if you’re not used to it. To avoid looking like you’re lost you want to know where you’re going. Phone apps like Google maps or Citymapper can get you around, but if you can memorize where the stations are and which trains you need to take you won’t have to be looking at your phone the entire time.
5. Once on the subway
Keep your belongings at sight, don’t put things in your back pockets, look around, see who’s next to you. Be calm, confident and if something odd is going in the subway car you’re in. Switch to the next car at the next stop.
It’s wise to have your wits about you at all times of the day and night, but be particular alert if you must ride the subway alone late at night. If you do have to travel alone, choose the car with at least 5-10 people on it. There is power in numbers, even if they are strangers to you.
6. Careful with your money
If USD is not your currency, there’s homework to do. Research and ask around to get an idea of what are reasonable prices for the things you want to do/buy.
Don’t carry all your money with you and only take it out when you’re at the register to make a purchase - never in the middle of a crowded area.
7. Out at night
Nightlife in NYC is very exciting and a must-have experience. We’ve all heard about Times Square and the trillion bars and clubs there are, right? If you’re into checking it out, enjoy it! Just be sure to be aware of your surroundings and yourself. Drinking is fun, but make sure you are well enough to navigate your way back home at the end of the night. Be mindful who you befriend, and use your better judgment when considering leaving the bar/club with new friends.
Bonus: If you’re feeling uneasy and not confident enough to go out and about on your own, join a group! There are many tours and activities for travelers. Not only will it make you feel safer, it will also give you the chance to meet new people and make new friends!
Keeping safe when traveling should be your No.1 priority but that should not keep you from enjoying your trip! Don’t be afraid to go out and explore the amazing city of New York; just Trust Your Instincts, and use your street smarts!