Some tips on airports and tipping for first time visitors to New York.
This is a guest post from Jeremy of Grand Slam Tennis Tours, who visits New York regularly for the US Open.
Whether you come with the company I work for, Grand Slam Tennis Tours, to the US Open, or go it alone, either way there are definitely some things you should remember when visiting the final Grand Slam event of the calendar year.
New York City, especially for first time visitors (and even more so for those coming from other countries), can be rather intimidating, so hopefully the following tips can help you navigate your way once you arrive.
Getting from the Airport into Manhattan
First and foremost, let’s get you from the airport into Manhattan (sidenote: don’t bother staying in Queens, there is nothing else going on around the tennis that would keep you there. If you are on a tight budget there are plenty of Best Westerns in Manhattan. Trust me, it will be worth it).
There are two basic ways to get into the city – one is cheaper but kind of a pain, the other is the exact opposite.
Trains run into Manhattan from all three major airports (JFK, Laguardia, Newark), and are definitely on the less expensive side of things, but depending on the amount of luggage you have might not be the best option. Otherwise, taxis are also readily available…but those start at about $50/ride.
While we are on the subject of cab drivers, let’s assume you are going to take at least one cab ride during your time in NYC. The most common questions are always about tipping. Yes, you should tip your cab driver, generally in the 10-15% range – but don’t hesitate to add or subtract a couple of points based on the service. Cab drivers will not take you on awful routes to charge you more (that has definitely happened to me in Paris & London), but it’s still a good idea to know the general direction of your destination. Of course, you could save all this tipping by learning a bit about the subway system and using that to get around. Fair warning though I don’t speak a lick of French and still have a way easier time on the Paris Metro system than the NY Subway.
To get back to tipping for a moment, you have to do it pretty much everywhere in the city.
- Restaurants – 15-20% (pre-tax) is standard;
- hotel maids – $2-$5/day;
- hotel doormen – $2-$5/bag;
- bartenders (an important one!) – $1-$2/drink or 15-20% of your entire tab.
That list is obviously not exhaustive, but should help get you started. And for any non-US citizens shaking their head at all this tipping, remember that in most cases the people you are tipping are paid under minimum wage and rely on tips to make a living!
I’ll be sharing loads more tips and info on New York and the US Open over the next few weeks. Sign up and get new articles delivered straight to your inbox.