Storytime: A Crazy Girls Trip to NYC & 5 Apps For New York Transportation

Last month, I took a short little girls trip to NYC with my best friend.

While I was looking forward to the trip, I was dreading one major thing that makes me think twice about visiting New York City: Getting around / transportation.

It seems like every time I visit, I encounter one public transportation nightmare or the other! There’s one visit in particular (another girls trip) that sticks out in my memory like a sore thumb. Keep reading for the story.

a picture of the skyline of new york city which you might see on a girls trip to nyc

A Girls Trip To NYC Gone Wrong….

The last time I went to New York (before last months trip), it was also a girls trip. I and three of my friends/sister were hosted by a friend from college who had recently moved to NYC.

One night, after going to a cultural festival in the afternoon and then attending a show in the evening, one of the ladies (the one who was hosting) invited us to attend a party in another borough, wayyyy on the other side of town.
I’ll speak for myself and say I was NOT into the idea. I was tired, it was late and I had on heels and dress clothes. My threshold for total time I can spend in heels was approaching REALLY quickly.

Sensing we were reluctant, she opted to go alone. Well, THAT wasn’t going to happen… Not only was she the host of our girls trip to NYC, it’s also obviously against the girl code for us to leave her by herself. And who’s going to break the girl code on a girls trip?? We all woman-ed up and went along.

Being the NYC resident, we followed her navigation. What’s not to trust? She kept saying “it’s not that far”.

Well, between the waiting, the bus and the subway, we were still on our way to alleged party ALMOST TWO HOURS LATER!! We fell asleep on the subway and only found out we needed to get off from the announcement that this was the last stop on the line. After getting off the subway, we hobbled (emphasis on hobbled because at that point, I had started to walk like a newborn deer) a couple blocks toward our destination, or so we thought.

We were lost.

At one point, when our feet couldn’t take it anymore, the rest of us just stayed one place while the friend that invited us walked forward to try and figure it out. 

We ultimately never attended that party and had to do the entire trip back home with nothing to show for it.

And guess what? that’s not my only crazy NYC travel story.

Me facing the NYC skyline on my girls trip to NYC
On Liberty Island looking at the NYC Skyline

The big lesson that I’ve learned from all of these experiences is:

You will enjoy New York only as much as you know how to navigate it!

During last month’s trip to NYC, things were, thankfully, very different.

A family member who lives in New Jersey and commutes into NY daily gave us the inside scoop on the apps that can help us best navigate New York.

Can you believe I actually considered renting a car?
She QUICKLY talked me out of that crazy idea.

I’m not fit to drive in New York! Even if I was, apparently the tolls are out of this world! And even if I didn’t mind the tolls, the NYC traffic still makes public transportation a much more feasible option.

I’m so thankful for the insight she shared with us- it made all the difference on this trip. So below, I’m sharing 5 essential apps that can help you get around New York City better, regardless of what mode of transportation you prefer.

5 Apps You Need To Get Around
New York City

1| CITYMAPPER – for overall navigation and coordination

citymapper app symbol - an app for navigating new york city


Everyone needs Citymapper.

Believe me you when I tell you that a good subway app makes all the difference in navigating NYC!
This app will give you detailed step-by-step directions with an expected time of arrival. It will tell you what routes are preferred over others and alert you to any delays.

Citymapper finds you the fasted options by combining the subway, buses, ride share, bike share and other systems. Basically, this is like a super-app.

Best of all, CityMapper can be used in many different cities in the US (Chicago, DC, LA, etc) and even internationally (Paris, Rome, Madrid, etc). So, if you like travel, this is an app to KEEP on your phone.

2| UBER or LYFT – for ride sharing

the uber and lyft app symbols - necessary apps for a girls trip to nyc


Because sometimes, for time or convenience purposes, you just need to get where you’re going!

Depending on where you are going and because public transportation can be sporadic on nights and weekends, the ride services of Uber or Lyft are must-have apps for getting around in New York.

Ride sharing are ideal options for a girls trip to NYC because you can split the fare, making it so much more affordable!
If you’re by yourself, take advantage of Uber Pool (where you share a ride with someone else in the area) – which helps to bring the price down. Another tip to save some coins is to download both Uber and Lyft and then, compare prices.
Something you should keep in mind is that the quoted price can change based on “unexpected tolls”, etc. I have not encountered that in any other city I’ve been to besides NYC.

// For more travel tips, read: Tips From Above-Average Travelers: 28 MUST HAVE Travel Items
// For more travel stories, read: The 4 Most Clever Opportunities I Took to Travel As A (Broke) Student

3| CITIBIKE – for biking

citibike app symbol - an app for biking in new york


If you’re looking for a health and environment friendly option that lets you see more of New York and gets you quickly between close destinations, you should consider bike-sharing with citibike.

Citibike is a bike sharing system where you can pick up a bike from one docking station in the city and drop it off at any other docking station close to your destination.
Using the app, you can find where bikes are located, check bike availability, plan your route and buy passes.

(You can also use citibike from the Lyft app).

Reviews indicate that the app can be a bit slow, but what about this perk for iPhone users- citibike is integrated with the health app so you can track the calories that you are burning!

4| GOOGLE MAPS – for walking

google maps symbol - which is one of the essential navigation apps for new york

From experience, do not underestimate the importance of having a good app just for walking around in NYC.

There’s so much to do and so many nooks and crannies, making it easy to get lost.

Google maps is popular for its accuracy so you can plan your trip and get there with ease.

5| & if you DO drive, make sure to download: PARKWHIZ

the parkwhiz app symbol - if you plan to drive in nyc


As mentioned, driving in New York City is NOT recommended due to: the tolls, traffic and the aggressive nature of the driving, but if you insist, make sure you are prepared.

As a major city, parking is tough to find in New York City (and it’s expensive)!

Using ParkWhiz, you can book a parking spot ahead of time to take the stress out of parking. You will also save money because booking in advance is cheaper than drive up prices. The app is very highly rated and you can use it for other big cities besides New York.

Well, I am HAPPY to say that this trip was my BEST experience with New York public transportation thus far!

It feels good to finally have a great girls trip to NYC on the books! It also feels amazing to learn more about navigating NYC and be able to share a whole list of useful apps for New York.

What about you?
Tell me about your trip gone wrong!
What happened & what did you learn!?

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