Katelyn Tan | A Singapore Beauty, Travel and Lifestyle Blogger

Finding Your Way Around The Big Apple!

Thursday 4 October 2012

My first USA tips blogpost! :)
Not a lot of tips. But 3 important ones! ;) 
To help you save some money and find your way around New York at the same time!


1. Oh My! The yellow cabs are so expensive!
Want to travel around New York without causing a hole in your pocket?
Take the Subway! :)

Here's the map.
image from MTA
Looks a little messy right? But it can really get you everywhere with a little help of the google map! ;)

And if you know you are gonna keep taking the Subway, 
just get yourself the Unlimited Ride MetroCard!

Usually it's $2.50 per ride but the 7-Days Unlimited Ride MetroCard cost only $29!
That's like the cost of 10 rides and trust me if you are there for 7 days, you will definitely take more than 10 rides. Especially when you are not familiar with the place and might exit the wrong stations.
Do not worry if you are not staying there for 7 days. That's what I recommended cause I stayed there for 7 Days. You can check out their price here and you might be able to find other ways to help you save a little when taking the subway :)

And note:
Many of the subway stations have no lifts/elevators! Only stairs.
So if you are carrying super heavy luggages, I will suggest you take the yellow cab to the hotel.


2. What?! Even the attractions are expensive!
Want to visit all/most of the attractions but do not want to spend that much?
Get yourself a New York Pass!
Sis recommended me this before my new york trip :) And boy it really helped me save quite a bit!

image from newyorkpass
It's cheaper to buy online. So buy online first then go there to collect your card and book :)
Just look at the list of attractions it covers here. I felt it was like most of the attractions in NY!

Mine was the $140USD 3 Day Adult Pass and the attractions I visited were (not in actual order):
Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum Tickets (worth $39) 
Top of the Rock Tickets (worth $25)
Ripley Believe it or not Tickets (worth $32)
 CitySightseeing Cruise Tickets (worth $28)
Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise Tickets (worth $36)
Empire State Building Tickets (worth $25)
 Skyride Tickets (worth $41)
 American Museum of Natural History Tickets (worth $19)
 Bodies... The Exhibition Tickets (worth $30)
 Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Tickets (worth $24)
Total Price (without NYPass) = $299USD

That should be all if my memory did not fail me =X
I did not really check all the how much it's worth prices. I But I know after my second day I covered the base price of $140 already! And if I did not remember wrongly, the prices above which I got from newyorkpass's website are correct. And heys! I saved $159USD!!! Good right?
Would definitely recommend this New York Pass to those who are there for attractions!


3. I cannot live without my phone!
Need a phone plan/data plan? I needed one cause I'm worried I will get lost there and have to contact my friends. On top of that, we needed to use the google map to help us around the place!

And from my "research" and sister's recommendation, I compared a few mobile shops and found that T-Mobile was the most affordable one. Never get your phone card from the airport. They are ripoffs! I had a friend who was charged a sum for "registration fee" on top of the plan fee.
Anyways they also do not have T-mobile at the airports =P

image from T-Mobile
Of course they had other plans too. But I felt these 2 were the more worth it ones :)
You can always check out their website for more plans! ;)
What my sis used was the $50 per month plan and she added $10 for international calls.
What I used was the Walmart special $30 per month plan. They said online/at Walmart. But I went to their normal T-mobile shops to ask and they did that for me too! Yay! Super thankful to that guy who helped us :)

You can send/receive international smses however you will be charged and it will be deducted from whatever prepaid value you have in your card (which you might have put inside for the future months) And for my $30 plan could not make out-going international calls but could receive. Not very sure about the $50 plan. I chose that plan cause I knew I would skype instead of make international calls. So if you want to make international calls, do check with the shop before paying!

And we chose monthly plans cause we stayed there for very long! I was in USA for 2 months. The last 5 days in USA my plan ended and I used their $2 pay-by-the-day plan. Can just top up by yourself online. If you are planning to get that plan straight, you can check out with the people at the shops!
image from T-Mobile

And there are T-Mobile stores in other states too! Not only New York ;)


Hope my little tips will help you find your way around New York!
All details are updated as of September 2012.


  1. hi Kate,

    I'm going to NY this july, my first trip to USA. Chanced upon your blog while doing my research.
    Your blog is very informative.
    Will be good if you furnish more info on my queries :

    NY Pass (with bus hop?)
    - how did you manage to plan your itineraries? ie. grouping the attractions in diff day.
    T- mobile
    - i will need to get a Sim card @$10 and sign for the pay by the day plan?(http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-plans)

    Do you have any recommendation on the hotel? Or any other recommendations in NYC?


    1. Hello :) Sry for the late reply. Missed this comment :/

      :: I got the pass alone, without bus hop (we only took subway there)

      :: I use google map to plan my itinerary, use the driving option, that way you can pin many locations to the map ;)

      :: I don't recall having to pay for the sim card. Not sure if it was cause we signed a monthly plan there. You might have to check that with them. I only used the "pay by the day" plan after that monthly plan ended.

      :: I stayed in Comfort Inn Brooklyn, it was about SG$238 per night two years back (http://katelyn-tan.blogspot.sg/2012/10/new-york-day-1.html). I just realized many NY hotel actually cost lesser now :/ Just checked expedia and this hotel room now costs only ~SG$150 per night though! I wouldn't recommend that place if you are staying alone as it is rather secluded and quiet at night.

      :: As for other recommendations, you can check out my daily travelogues - http://katelyn-tan.blogspot.sg/search/label/NewYork2012

      Hope that helps!