Grab & Go: Travel Tips from a New York Local

Shawn Forno

As a professional traveler—or at least a travel super fan—it’s easy to keep my eyes forever fixated on the next big trip.

Planning a trip is the best part of traveling. The excitement and anticipation of leaving behind your everyday life for exotic locales is exhilarating, even addictive. Heck, I even really like packing. But like any drug, the high isn’t sustainable. Eventually you have to come back home.

New York City

And, that’s awesome.

Because I’m here to remind you that your next killer trip isn’t 10,000 miles away; it’s right outside your front door. All you need is the right attitude. So I’m packing my day bag and heading to a place I’ve been meaning to visit for a long time…my hometown: New York City.

NYC travel

What You Need

The streets of New York City are packed with spontaneous adventure. You can literally become a ninja, play with lasers, or enjoy a very moderately priced brunch. I know. But you gotta stay nimble or the pace, and the people, will eat you alive. New Yorkers are some of the friendliest, most polite people on the planet; but not if you’re willfully ignorant of how things work here. This is how I prepare for a day of adventure in NYC:

Clothes & What’s in my Pockets

That outfit is perfect for almost any weather and nearly every occasion. Seriously. I look like that practically every single day.

I’ve never been turned away because of a dress code, never felt out of place in a dive bar, and the layers make it great for winter, and adaptable for summer. If I take a shirt off, I simply loop it behind my waist in the stretchy belt and I’m still footloose and hands free.

What’s in my Daypack

day bag

If I do have a daypack with me, it’s likely because I’m exploring, or on a shoot with my fancy camera and microphone. When I do take a backpack out, I keep it as small as possible.

I bike everywhere, so light makes right, but even on the subway and in the crowded streets of Manhattan, it pays to have a slim profile. Also, most bars, restaurants, and shops are tiny, so unless you want to buy six jars of olives at the bodega every time you turn around, keep it small.

Getting Around

Despite what you think, New York City is a biker’s paradise. I routinely beat my friends to places on my bike, even if they take a cab. It’s cheap, fast, fun, and a great way to see the city. Riding a bike through the streets of Brooklyn connects me to the place that I call home in a way that I miss when I’m traveling without my bike. Man, I love my bike.

NYC travel

The subway is cool too though. And cheap.

Places to Go

Here are a few awesome places (*cough* bars) that you’re likely to find me at any day of the week. If you do see me there, come over and say hi. If you compliment my boat shoes, I’ll buy you a beer.

NYC travel

Brooklyn Dive Bars

“Nice” Bars (?)

Overrated Bars

NYC & The Great Outdoors

NYC travel

Everyone always asks if I get tired living cooped up in a big city. They’ve obviously never been to New York. There’s plenty of outdoor stuff to do:

Interesting as Heck


NYC travel

I love living in New York City—especially Brooklyn—because you have to be prepared for anything but you’ll never be ready for everything. That surprise is why I travel, and it’s why I love living here. You should visit.

If you’re in New York and need advice, tweet at me and I’ll help you out. (I told you New Yorkers are polite!)

Image: Philipp Henizier (Unsplash)