Planning for travel can be overwhelming especially as someone who completely loathes the planning process. But for bigger cities like Manhattan, Miami, Los Angeles, and Vegas, it’s important to put together a somewhat detailed plan of action, or itinerary, before embarking on your journey into the a bustling city with a million different things going on, constantly. 

Every time I’ve ever visited the city, It’s been completely overwhelming and miserable. (Read: HERE) And if you have any sort of anxious tendencies, it doesn’t help matters any. This time, I’m going in PREPARED. And I ran into, of course, a trillion bajillion articles on “what to do in NYC”.  A lot of these lists included the same old-same old, and not everyone wants to  do the tourist tour of the city.

So how are you supposed to wade through pages and pages of lists and information?

  1. What are your interests? 
    What would you enjoy doing? Central Park is favored by many – some find it boring. Some enjoy getting high up in the sky scrapers, some enjoy the view from the bottom. Do you want to take pictures or are you an adrenaline seeker? You can take a helicopter ride just as easily as you can get on top of the empire state building or on a boat across the river. Know what your options are and what kind of activities are available for making any solid plans for anything!
  2. What are your priorities with this trip? What do you want to accomplish?
    Because if it’s living life like a local New Yorker, maybe don’t bring your selfie stick to Time Square. Search for hidden gems, things locals love, read forums, ask people you may know that live there. You’re bound to find something that’s not on a “ultimate tourist stops for NYC” list. For me, my interests with NYC are food and photography. So I’m choosing places to visit that are aesthetically pleasing, can be easily photographed, and for places that serve bomb ass food. Along with, of course, the things Kyle wants to do or that we both want to  do!
  3. Take advantage of your resources. 
    Read forums, go through Pinterest, look for photos of places that look neat or have rich history, and find out where they’re located. With the internet at our fingertips 24/7 there’s no excuse!
  4. Make a List.
    Now that you know what you want, find things to do! Create a list of everything you’re interested in, find the addresses of all these locations, and note any other pertinent information. (Hours, cost, etc.)
  5.  Put the addresses into Google Maps.
    Google Maps is cool because you can put in several different locations and adjust your route according to what makes the most sense for you. THEN you can see clearly how long it will take to get from one destination by foot, cab, or subway and figure out which method you’d rather take based on preference, time, or convenience.
  6. Put this information into a table on Microsoft Word as you go.
    When I go to the city, it’s .. very overwhelming for me. So it helps to have a detailed list with every piece of information I could ever need if I were ever to be in a pinch. Or panic attack. LOL. It’s hard to think straight when you’re anxious, so a list helps ease your mind! I put the location, cost, address, and travel time depending on what method of transportation I may use (by foot or cab, usually.)


You’ve just successfully planned a, easy-to-follow trip itinerary to one of the busiest cities in America!

xo,  K

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  1. Claire Summers Reply

    This is such a great post with fab advice. I HATED NYC for such a long time. My mum works in the city and lives just over in NJ. It has taken me so many visits to learn to love it. I think it’s just how overwhelming it is, and I’m not all that into doing the tourist stuff. I did get a New York Pass one visit and spent 2 days doing as many crazy tourist things as I could. Just to I could tick the boxes…Never again haha. I just stick to lunch in Central Park, Brunch in Brooklyn and gallery hopping in Chelsea followed by a stroll along the Highline if I go into the city now. I avoid the midtown madness like the plague!

    • Kaleigh Reply

      Thanks Claire! I still kind of hate it, if I’m being honest. I just keep going to TRY and like it. hahaha. I’m hoping this time is a success!! And yes, a million times yes about midtown. I’m going for the top of the rock photo op, but then I’m OUTTA THERE. ;D

  2. It’s old skool, but it’s always a good idea to check out a newspaper once you’re on the ground. Many of the free ones will do, which include listing of what’s going on and where. In NYC, check out the Voice.

    • Kaleigh Reply

      That’s a great idea! Sometimes with all this info at our fingertips, we forget about all the local resources we have.

  3. I definitely love using Pinterest for trip planning. But what I never do is make that list. And I forget everything I researched…Haha. And then I start my search all over again. Simple yet solid tips that you often just don’t think about! Thanks!

    • Kaleigh Reply

      Pinterest is the best. And yes!! If I go somewhere that crazy busy and eventful, I NEED a list.

  4. We normally just go with the flow. Show up, grab a tourist map and explore. This trip we are on I made an excel spreadsheet… But left it at home.

    • Kaleigh Reply

      Love that for places that are more relaxed – definitely the way I prefer to do things. But for NYC, I get way, way too overwhelmed!!

  5. It could be a true challenge to find some hidden gems in NYC known only to the locals. Usually when searching for them, I read forums on the net. Thank God for the Internet !

  6. Great tips; you definitely need to plan ahead when visiting a city like NYC! There’s just so much to do and see, and so many fun and unique neighbourhoods that prioritization is definitely required.

    • Kaleigh Reply

      yes definitely! Not only prioritization, but ROUTING. Transportation is such a pain there, even the subway system annoys me. LOL.

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