Packing for a day trip to New York City is much like packing for any other day trip. One big exception. You shouldn’t have your car with you. If you take my advice, NEVER drive into New York City.
Always take a NJ Transit train or the Staten Island Ferry. On weekends and holidays up to 2 kids ages 5-11 ride free with a valid adult ticket on the train. During the week kids ages 5-11 are half off the adult price and 4 and under are free.
The Staten Island Ferry is free. It will take you down to Lower Manhattan, which isn’t too far of a walk to the 9/11 Memorial. It also travels past the Statue of Liberty. If you or your kids have never seen it. Pictures and the movies just don’t do it justice.
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Now that we have gotten how to get there out of the way. What do you really need to pack. Make sure you pack your patience. The crowds can be unbelievable. New York City is home to 8.6 million people.
Chances are your home state has a smaller population than NYC. Only 12 states have a larger population (California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and New York).
Before you head up to New York City for your day trip, make sure you have these items in your bag.
Backpack– This item is pretty much a must have. Without it you wouldn’t be able to carry the rest of the items. I highly recommend the Ozark backpack. I have had it for 4 years now and it’s been to the beach, mountains, Disney World and major cities (DC, Philly, NYC). It is still holding up strong.
Comfy shoes- You can easily log 10 miles in one day walking around NYC. Taking the subway or the Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing buses can help cut down on the miles you walk.
Battery pack– You are going to be using your phone all the time. Either to snap some pictures or to figure out how to get from point A to point B.
Charging cord– You need it to plug your phone into your battery pack. Like I said before you will be on your phone for a good chunk of the day.
Hand Sanitizer– Trying to find a restroom is hard. Finding somewhere to wash your hands can be even harder. Always have a bottle with you.
Water- Pack at least one per person. Unless you like spending $3 plus on a bottle of water. You could also bring your own water bottle. Problem is, not many water fountains around to refill it.
Snacks- You need to have a little fuel for yourself and the little ones. While the food cost are not too bad at the little food trucks. Some time the taste just isn’t there. Also stay way from the pretzels (hard and dry). Go to Philly instead.
Cash- Some places take cash only while others only take cards. Always use case with the food trucks.
Tissues/ paper towels– Someone in your group will need them when you can’t find any. When aren’t you reaching for a paper towel or tissue?
Chapstick– If your lips get chapped easily from the wind bring it along. The wind can really pick up between the tall buildings of the city.
DSLR– You need to remember to bring your “good” camera. New York City is a very photo friendly city. So many great shots to take that a camera phone just cannot create.
Tablet/DS– You will need something to keep them occupied while on the train. A book is also a good idea. Depending on where you grab the train, you could be on it for an hour or more. I usually grab the train from Trenton or Hamilton New Jersey.
Phone/small camera- My daughter has an old phone and Nikon Cool pix camera. This way she can take her own photos of how she sees New York.
Rain Gear– Always bring a poncho or umbrella. You never know when the weatherman will get the forecast completely wrong again.
Light Jacket- Even if you are going in the spring or summer on warm days bring a light jacket is a good idea. Definitely for your kids. While being in the sun will be quite warm. In between the buildings the shade can get a little chill for the little ones.
There you have it. That’s the list. Packing for New York City is very basic. But this place you really need to remember your hand sanitizer. Most public restrooms are not in the best of shape. With all those people what do you expect?
If you are going with kids and just yourself check out my post about what to do when someone needs to use the bathroom (click here). Bathrooms are tough to find if you don’t know where to look. Most places you need to buy something to use the restroom.