New York's main airports are JFK (John F. Kennedy), La Guardia in Queens and Newark in New Jersey. The Big Apple is one of the most important gateways to the United States, where travelers arrive from all over the world.
1. How to get to downtown New York from the airport
Once you land on American soil you will have to choose the best way to get to downtown New York from the airport. Here are the different options so you can choose the best for you, although, the way I see it, the best value for money option is the shared transfer.
2. Shared transfer from the airport to your hotel in Manhattan
After a long, exhausting flight and having to carry your suitcase, the last thing you want to do is wander around the terminal looking for a cab and pay an exorbitant fare or wait forever on public transportation to get to your hotel. Therefore, the most convenient option is to book a shared transfer to your hotel in Manhattan where you will travel aboard modern, fully-equipped minivans.
The fleet of vehicles of this service has a maximum capacity of eleven passengers. They have enough space for luggage (each traveler can carry a maximum of one suitcase and one carry-on bag), and they pick you up at the airport with other travelers and drop you off at the door of your hotel after a quiet and comfortable ride with a team of professional drivers who know New York City like the back of their hand.
How does it work?
Transfers operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After booking, you will receive a confirmation email and, just like that, they will be waiting for you at your arrival! When your flight lands at JFK, Newark, or La Guardia airports, just go to the Ground Transportation Desk in the terminal and present your printed voucher to one of the agents for instructions.
What happens if my flight is delayed?
At the time of booking, you will be asked for flight information so that the company can monitor your flight at all times, and know if your flight is delayed. Flight delays do not affect the transfer reservation.
Are the prices final?
The price you pay at the time of booking is a final price and will not depend on traffic on arrival in New York. However, gratuities and excess baggage charges (where applicable) are not included.
3. Shared transfer from your hotel in Manhattan to any New York airport (Go Airlink)
At the end of our stay in New York, what worries us most is arriving on time at the airport to catch our flight back home without stressing too much about it, or having to look for a cab or making multiple transfers on the city's public transportation.
Again, as at the time of your arrival, the most convenient option is to book a transfer from the hotel to the airport that will take you from door to door.
How does it work?
Transfers operate every day with uninterrupted schedule. At the time of booking, you will have to indicate your return flight details and your hotel address so that the driver of the shared transfer knows where and when to pick you up. To make your life easier, our advice is to inform the hotel porter or concierge that you are waiting for a driver to pick you up to go to the airport.
Are the prices final?
As in the arrival transfer from the airport to your hotel, the prices are final and neither the kilometers traveled nor the traffic can vary the rate, it is a fixed price. On the other hand, tips are not included.
Isabel's Traveller Tip
When confirming the pick-up time at your hotel, calculate it with enough time to arrive on time at the airport despite the traffic (especially during rush hour).
Private transfer from any airport in New York to your hotel in Manhattan
Whether it's because you're tired after a long flight and don't want to wander around looking for a cab, or because you're not familiar with the public transportation network and prefer not to risk getting lost, the most comfortable and fastest way to get to your hotel is with a private transfer from airport to hotel in New York.
The main difference between the shared transfer and the private transfer is that in this case the vehicle and the driver will be at your complete disposal, just for you and your group, and you will not have to wait for other passengers.
How it works
This transfer service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Depending on the number of people you are going to use this service, at the time of booking you will have to choose between a private transfer in a luxury sedan for three people, a VIP SUV that can carry up to six passengers or a van that can take up to nine passengers.
You will then need to provide your flight arrival details and the full address of your Manhattan hotel, apartment, or home address. Your transfer will be instantly confirmed and you will be given a voucher to present to the driver. Once at the airport, all you have to do is get in the vehicle and settle in for a quick and smooth ride. It's that easy!
The interior of all vehicles is elegant and spacious and has sufficient capacity to carry the luggage of all users (each traveler is allowed a maximum of 1 suitcase and 1 handbag).
What is the price of this private transfer?
The price is per person based on three passengers per car, six per SUV, or nine passengers per van. The rate corresponds to an all inclusive pick-up and drop-off service, plus local taxes and toll charges. The price you pay at the time of booking is a fixed amount and will not depend on traffic on arrival in New York.
Private transfer from your hotel in Manhattan to any airport in New York
Pre-booking a private transfer from your hotel to New York airport is the best way to catch your flight home without having to worry about finding a cab at the last minute on the day of departure or making endless public transportation rides carrying suitcases, with all the stress that goes with it.
With this private transfer from your hotel in Manhattan to any airport in New York, an experienced driver will pick you up at the door of your hotel with plenty of time in advance to drive you to the terminal where you will take your return flight. No waiting and no stress, with the peace of mind of knowing that you will arrive on time to board the plane and that you will not pay an exorbitant price for it.
How does it work?
The private transfer service back to the airport works in the same way as the arrival transfer, only this time you will have to indicate your hotel address and your flight departure details. Your transfer will be confirmed and you will be given a voucher to present to the driver.
Depending on the time of day, traffic may be more congested. Normally, it is recommended to be at the airport 2 hours before your flight departs, although 3 hours in advance is ideal. During rush hour, add at least 45 minutes to your pick-up time for the closest airport (LaGuardia) and 75 minutes for the farthest airports (JFK and Newark).
About your luggage
On the day of your transfer, the driver will be waiting for you at the door of your hotel or residence in Manhattan to take you to the airport on time. Remember that if you have special needs or luggage, you can contact the company once you have made your reservation to resolve any questions; this is a personalized service.
About the price
This private transfer from the hotel to the airport is very good value for money if you take into account that the service is very similar to a cab but you make sure that you pay in advance a closed amount and that the fare does not depend on the traffic on your arrival in New York.
6. Other options for getting around New York City
New York is a well-connected city. Its public transportation network is quite efficient and allows you to move quickly from end to end to explore every corner of the Big Apple.
It is one of the largest in the world with over 1,000 kilometers of track. Trains run 24 hours a day and consist of 26 lines whose names can be numbers or letters. On the not-so-bright side, it was inaugurated in the early twentieth century and the stations look somewhat outdated and are not very clean.
If you don't want to use the subway in New York, buses are a very convenient option, although you will suffer the consequences of heavy traffic. There are hundreds of bus lines, but in order not to get confused, it is best to take a look at the maps of the lines at each stop. Bus lines are composed of a number and a letter. The letter indicates the district where the bus operates: Manhattan (M), Brooklyn (B), Queens (Q), Bronx (Bx), and Staten Island (S).
Cabs are another way to get around New York. Thanks to their iconic yellow color you can identify them from far away and stop by raising your hand. Fares are usually very expensive as small supplements and tips make the ride more expensive. If you want to save money and time try to hail a cab as little as possible.
It has become a very popular means of transportation in New York. You can book it conveniently from the app. Generally speaking, they are cheaper than cabs but if the demand is very high and there are few drivers the fares will skyrocket. It is the perfect option for visitors to the city since you can just type in the address you're headed to and don't have to give any directions to the driver.
7. Get around NYC while touring the city
Organizing the logistics of the trip does not have to be boring. If you are thinking of an original and economical way to move around the city, do not forget that there is the option to move around the main points of interest in the tourist bus. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of it: Hop on Hop off Bus Tours.
Frequently asked questions
Which is the better airport La Guardia or JFK?
While La Guardia is closer and cheaper, JFK is the bigger of the two and hosts more international flights. In this sense, JFK can handle a slightly higher influx of travellers, however, be advised that neither airport is the epitome of luxury.
How far away from Manhattan is JFK Airport?
JFK is located around 32 km (20 mi) away from Manhattan, however public transport is readily available, and pre-booked transfers tend to have very little trouble navigating into Manhattan.
What does JFK stand for?
Named after the late president John F. Kennedy, the F actually stands for Fitzgerald.