7 Tips for Creating Your Own NYC Itinerary

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If you’re looking to visit the Big Apple, you’ll want to create a custom itinerary that is perfect for your needs. There are so many things to see and do in NYC that it can be hard to start. This article will provide some tips for creating your own NYC itinerary.

1. Assemble a List of Attractions You Want to See

New York City is such an exciting place; there’s no limit to the dazzling sights and experiences you could have.

To get started with your custom NYC itinerary, start building a list of the best things to do in NYC and potential attractions you might want to include. You may want to have some obvious choices and some more obscure, unique options.

While it’s impossible to hit every single attraction in NYC in your vacation time, you’ll want to assemble a list of the attractions that are must-sees for you. It will help you avoid wasting time on attractions that aren’t important to you or forgetting about attractions altogether.

2. Combine Some Free Activities With The Paid Ones

Don’t be afraid to mix and match paid attractions with free ones.

You might want to start your day at a cheap family-friendly museum and then head out for an afternoon of shopping. Or perhaps you’ll want to spend half your day hitting up the big-name shopping brands along Fifth Avenue and then strolling through Central Park or heading into Brooklyn later that evening.

Many of the most popular attractions have long lines throughout the day and often have queues upon opening, so being first in line may not be as important as you think. Instead, consider booking online for these attractions and ensure you quickly head to your destination once it opens.

4. Ensure Your Budget Fits With Your Itinerary

Once you’ve built up your list of attractions, determine what they will cost to experience. Once you know what the individual attractions will cost, you’ll be able to figure out how much money it takes to complete your custom NYC itinerary.

If costs are too high for your budget, consider taking fewer trips or finding discounts. Some attractions offer discounts when tickets are purchased online in advance.

If the total ticket cost is still too high for you to afford comfortably, consider modifying your itinerary so that it doesn’t include some of the more expensive items on your must-see list.

5. Review Your List 

After completing steps one and two, review what remains on your list and plan out which ones need reservations ahead of time.

If your list is too long to complete in one trip, you’ll want to plan so that you can return later for the attractions that require reservations.

It’s best to avoid last-minute plans when it comes to booking tickets for popular attractions in NYC since this can lead to higher costs and disappointment if the attraction reaches capacity before you’re able to book your ticket.

6. Create Your List of Accommodations

Once you have a clear idea of what attractions are essential to you, start planning out where you will stay when visiting NYC. There are many different neighborhoods in New York City, with hotels catering to every budget.

You may even find some cheap hotels or hostels outside Manhattan that still make sense for your itinerary. Next, consider the qualities that are important to you in a hotel. Location is typically at the top of most people’s lists when finding accommodations for their NYC itinerary, followed closely by price and amenities.

Once you’ve found some great options, you can use online travel agencies to compare rates across multiple sites so that you can find the best deal.

7. Tally Up Final Costs

Once your list is complete, calculate all final costs, including travel expenses, reservations fees if needed, lodging expenses, and attraction admission fees. It’s best to plan out these costs ahead of time so that they’re not an unpleasant surprise during your trip.

If staying within budget looks like a challenge for this particular trip, consider cutting the length of your trip or at least skip some attractions. There are too many great things in NYC to include every single attraction on every trip, so you’ll have to prioritize sometimes if you want to stay within budget.

With these tips in mind, you’re sure to create an excellent itinerary for your upcoming trip to NYC. Of course, there’s always more to do and more to see in this city, but with some careful planning and an open mind about what you might see and do, you’re sure to have a fantastic time during your upcoming visit.


Kieren is the avid traveller behind the blog. His adventures have included Interrailing through Europe, road tripping the US and backpacking SE Asia.