Along with my internship here at Miss Millennia Magazine, I’ve also been interning in New York City. I moved from a suburb in Cincinnati, Ohio all the way to the City on my own and with only a little more than a week’s notice.
Obviously, I’ve loved this experience. Traveling alone gave me a chance to learn about myself with little-to-no interference, but there are many things I wish I had known before I moved. A two-month trip is an awkward one. You are “temporarily permanent,” and that requires living as a New Yorker all the while reminding yourself that you cannot actually settle. Not only that, but I have never planned a personal trip. I have never planned a personal trip to a city. There are many details I wish I had known before I moved. So, now, I will impart this wisdom onto you. If you are traveling from the suburbs to a city like NYC:
- Research, research, research a place to live. If I originally had more time to get my affairs in order before I left, I have no doubt I would've found a much cheaper place. There are many options in a big city but it takes time to find the one that fits your budget.
- Buy your plane ticket early. I would have saved over $100 on my plane ticket if I had been able to buy it a month earlier. Suffice it to say, my ticket home was cheaper.
- Transfer your medication. The one thing I regretted was not transferring my medication to New York before I left. In some cases (injections, for example), it can be very complicated. It is definitely a lot easier to talk to your doctor before you leave so you can be sure you have handled your medication properly.
- Make a budget before you leave for a long trip like this. You won’t know the prices of everything in the city but if you have this in order, you can later adjust your budget to fit your needs. You won’t be surprised and therefore you won’t accidentally overspend.
- Figure out transportation from the airport to your residence first. If you’re going to NYC for the first time, I suggest cabs. They’re conveniently located when you exit the airport, and as long as you say, “X street, between Y and Z street,” the cabbie will know where to take you. Don’t worry about public transportation for now.
- If you have a smartphone, get a subway app. There are tons of free subway apps which give you routes depending on your current location and where you want to go. You can put in addresses, titles of businesses and stores, and Subway stations. The bonus? It will be harder for locals to notice you’re from out of town. For those going to NYC, I would recommend Embark NYC.
- Explore your neighborhood. The first thing I did (after my four hour nap) was find the grocery stores, the Subway Stations, and the Laundromats. Since I also lived in a dorm-style building, I was sure to learn the mailroom hours.
- Read up on the different parts of the city. Knowing the general vibe and layout of a city is ridiculously helpful when getting around. Even more so if you get lost. You will be more likely to find attractions that suit your interests. Google searches are great but you are often going to get the big tourist attractions whether or not you’re interested in statues.
- Know your hours and off days, if you’re doing an internship or getting a new job. If you end up with a roommate, try to figure out his/her schedule too. This way, you will be able to adjust your off days to your needs. For example, my weekends were Friday-Sunday. My roommate’s were Saturday-Sunday. I chose to stay home on Fridays so I could get some alone time and then spent all of Saturday and Sunday gallivanting around the City. If I hadn't done this, I would have been very grumpy.
- Utilize Google Maps. This was my lifesaver. For my weekends, I created folders with all the attractions I wanted to visit. I organized them by the neighborhoods (Manhattan, Brooklyn, etc.), and of course, most of the attractions ended up being in Manhattan, which was overwhelming. However, with Google Maps I was able to map out an itinerary, with two to three places that were close to each other, every day. It saved on transportation time, effort, and limited how often I got lost.
- Reach out. The biggest mistake I made was not reaching out to others in my dorm and in the City. By the time I started to feel lonely and depressed, it was too late for me to go out and make friends; I had about three weeks left. While it’s a little more difficult to make friends because you don’t want to spend money on an organization, everyone always has a destination, and/or you are temporary, you have to put yourself out there. There are free events all over NYC, and honestly, the stereotype is wrong; New Yorkers are not mean. In fact, they are some of the most charismatic people I've met.
- Finally, buy men’s deodorant. Just trust me on this one.