It’s amazing how many people are traveling alone. I admire who boards a plane to a different country or even a different city without company, and is open to all experiences. And then again, it has its advantages, right? You don’t need to wait for other people have availability to join you, you just decide, pack and start an adventure in the world. To encourage those who are thinking about the idea, today I start a series of posts with testimonials from people who have traveled alone to New York. I had to split the post into several parts – every week, we will have new posts with new testimonials.
Luciana Portela, 34 years old, married, photographer, craftsperson and English teacher. She was au pair and she stayed at the host family’s house.
“In 2008, I was an au pair for two years in Long Island, NY. In 2013, I decided to visit my host family and some friends there. – I went alone and everybody was working so, I ventured alone in New York, going to various places and doing things that I did not do do when I was an au pair. I was staying at the house of my host family and I went almost every day from Smithtown to New York. During my time in the city, I did not made friends. It was just me, my backpack and my camera. My biggest learning was to realize that we really don’t need another person to do the things we like. Sometimes don’t see a concert that we really want, or give up about a play for not havng company but this is nonsense. When I was au pair, I regretted it because I gave up about traveling and other things because I had not company.”
What advice would give to anyone who is thinking about traveling alone to New York? Don’t give up – be sure to visit this amazing place.
What is the coolest part of traveling alone? You don’t have to worry if the other person is tired, hungry, if she or he wants to do something else. It’s just you and you decide that everything you want to do and the time to return – or rather, without having time to return.
And what is the most annoying part? The most annoying part is taking pictures, because all the pictures are like selfies and and when we asked for other people to take the picture some are nice but others do not like much. Another annoying part is if you need to go to the bathroom you will have to take the millions of the shopping bags with you, lol.
A must-do program for those traveling alone to New York is… there are so many cool things to do, you have several walking tours or buses that are great for those who can not get the map and venture out alone and also there is Broadway!
Cristiana Valente Carvalhido, 35 years old, lawyer, Belo Horizonte – MG. She stayed at HI NYC HOSTEL.
“I always loved USA, and I always planned to study English in the country. In August / 2015, there was a bug on the American Airlines website and I took a chance and I got a ticket for R$520, round trip including taxes. As the dollar was expensive, I had anyone to join me. So, it would be my first international trip alone. I studied English at Kaplan for 15 days. It was the second time I went to New York. – the first time was in 2009 with my sister. I stayed at HI NYC HOSTEL and I made this choice because a financial issue, given the high value of the dollar. My goal was to study English and I had lessons from Monday through Friday, where I learned grammar, and I practiced speaking everywhere I went. And I had to practice writing. So I had an idea and I used Tinder and all the people I talked I asked to correct me if wrote something wrong. One of these conversations yielded some meetings and a friendship until today. My biggest lesson during this trip was to learn to be my own company in trips and not giving up to travel for not having someone to go with me “
What advice would give to anyone who is thinking about traveling alone to New York? Don’t be afraid: traveling alone allows you to do what you want, anytime you want, how and when. You just worries about yourself and you can take advantage of the best possible way is to observe people, what they say, how they talk, observe nature and the peculiarities of the place. Traveling alone is an experience everyone should have.
What is the coolest part of traveling alone? Being able to do what you want, anytime you want, how you want, eat what you like, you can take the morning to sleep. You might be surprised at yourself.
And what is the most annoying part? Having no one to talk to you in your language about your day.
A must-do program for those traveling alone to New York is… I not gonna talk about a must-do program, but traveling lone to New York is allow yourself, do things that may not be in your routine, challenge to meet the new and HAVE FUN with everything and anything that happens during those days alone in this charming city.
Neyva Patricia Mesquita Barros, 30 years old, architect, Maceió – AL. She stayed at a house family.
“When I was a teenager, I dreamed about high school in the United States, but my parents never allowed me. It was stored in me. Years later, in 2013, I was unhappy with my job and the city where I lived. I wanted to change, but, as I was already married and my husband was working, he could not go with me. I have a little desire to have children, so I thought it was time to venture out alone. And at any time it frightened me, because I always liked to do things alone. I don’t like to depend on others. I love doing things in my time, in my own way, without disturbing anyone, or no one disturbing me. I decided to go and study English, and I stayed in a family house in Queens. I ended up making friends at school where I studied and I became friend to my host mother. I still keep in touch with her, and with my friends Laura, French, and Chise, Japanese. My host mother is like a super dear aunt. She taught me how to cook the dishes she made for me, she went with me to some shopssuch as Bed, Bath and Beyond. In my second time in New York, I was pregnant and she gave me money as a gift for my baby. And in my third time in the city, she made a dinner to receive my parents, my husband and my baby, 10 months. She always advised me on things in life, and admired me for independence. I was the oldest guest that she had already received – at the time, I was 27 years old. And this experience helped me to not be ashamed to ask! And being humble when I recognize that I do not know about something.
What advice would give to anyone who is thinking about traveling alone to New York? Plan, search and perform. There’s nothing to be afraid. When I confirmed that I would go, I just read blogs and researching everything: about the area that was going to live, the environment of the school, the places, everything everything everything. For some, the language can be a problem, but not for me because I spoke English well.
What is the coolest part of traveling alone? Making your own schedule! Checking the places you want and not follow a script.
And what is the most annoying part? When I wanted to take pictures, there was not selfie stick, so I took the photos by myself, always from shoulder up. Sometimes I could ask someone to take a picture for me.
A must-do program for those traveling alone to New York is… resting on the sun loungers of the High Line. I thought a lot about my life, thank God very much for the opportunity. And eating the most delicious cupcakes I’ve ever had in my life, from Sprinkles. Speaking of eating, this is something that you should not save money on a trip like that! I tasted everything, but also walked a lot, so I was not afraid of getting fat, it happened the opposite, I managed to lose 20 pounds during the month I was in New York. I left school near noon, I went to lunch and I started to walk. I just got home near 7pm. Every day.
Juliana Lima, 25, economist, São Paulo-SP. She stayed at an hotel
“My trip to New York represented a passage of my life between the” old “and” new “Juliana. I have decided to leave my job to devote myself to my studies. – I want to master and perhaps in the future a doctorate in economics. But after completing the period for dismissal and before starting my classes in the preparatory course for the Masters, which is in exclusive dedication, I decided to travel to the US. I didn’t need to think about the destination. I was born and I live in São Paulo and I am passionate about urban environments and routine of the big cities and New York is the reference when we think about this. I went to the city to really enjoy it and that’s what I did. I got crazy crazy with the city, with tours of my favorite series (Gossip Girl and Fri and the City), with the Broadway plays, with the wonderful view of the Brooklyn Bridge with the statues of Madame Tussauds, with Barnes & Noble, with each step I took. I was staying in a hotel because I would feel more comfortable in a room to myself. I wanted to have my privacy in my moments of resting. I was staying at the Hotel 31, simple but comfortable and well located near the subway station and attractions such as the Empire State Building and Public Library. I managed to do almost everything walking and I stayed up late outside. A great value for money. I could stay there again and I always recommend to my friends who are going to New York. Although there was no bathroom in the room, this was not a problem because the bathroom is on the side and it was always clean and available in the days when I was staying.
hen you travel alone, there is more space to talk to other people. Like Carrie Bradshaw says: “You are never alone in New York, the city is your company.” I talked with several people while I was in the city and, usually, in my day to day in Sao Paulo, this is not usual. People are very open to help, to talk, to talk about the city and to know where you come from and what you’re thinking about the city. I talked with taxi drivers, baristas from Starbucks, with people on the street when I asked for information with sellers of the stores I went, with tourists on city tours I did … Anyway, I think in every corner I went, I could talk to a person different and that made my trip really fun. I got a cookie from a Starbucks barista once, because I’m kind methodical and I always had breakfast at the same Starbucks next to the hotel. And I got to hang out with my neighbor the hotel – she was from Pennsylvania, if I’m not mistaken, but she lives in New York, at the hotel. We talked through the halls and one day she invited me to have coffee and visit some parts of the city that I would not be alone, those places that only those who live in the city know. And I have contact until today with a Brazilian I met in the Gossip Girl tour and is with me in one of the photos.
When you travel, especially in my case, it’s cliché, but you can actually see your life from a different perspective. I traveled to be out of my comfort zone and think better about what I had done up there and I would do from then on. The trip reinforced my decision and gave me more security to move forward.
What advice would give to anyone who is thinking about traveling alone to New York? I think the best advice I can give is go! New York is the best destination for traveling alone. You will not feel alone and you will not bored, there is plenty to do every day. Only the simply act of walking is already a super attraction of the city. And walking is not difficult, because the streets and avenues are numbered and have a logical, so once you understand you can go anywhere. And especially, “enjoy”. I know that many Brazilians love shopping, but shop only if you really have time to waste on shopping because it’s not worth losing your time in a store. The stores are giants, and if you do not have a goal you can lose considerable time. What I bought were things that were in my way, memories. And it is a delight to look at these things now because they are scattered throughout my house and really got me back to moments that lived in the city “
What is the coolest part of traveling alone? it is your trip, you choose the attractions of the day, what time you leave and what time you come back, how long you will stay in place. Moreover, it has more space to talk to people.
And what is the most annoying part? do not have someone to share the moments you live. It is something that is only yours, even you talk and show pictures later, is not the same thing than to live it. And often you think the people who are part of your life and how each of them would enjoy something you are seeing. And taking pictures is very difficult too, you have to manage selfies, with tools like tripod and selfie sticker and ask for people to take pictures of you.
A must-do program for those traveling alone to New York is… Broadway plays. It may be expensive, but it worths every penny, it’s a wonderful experience. In addition, there are shows in the afternoon and at night, so there’s no excuse not to go.
Laura Peruchi is a Brazilian blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She has lived in Manhattan with her husband since 2014. Since then, she has shared on her blog varied content about the Big Apple. From travel tips, including unusual things to do, shopping tips, etiquette, restaurants, and a lot more, her blog has become a reference in Portuguese (also available in English) for anyone planning a trip to New York City.