by Courtney Boyd Myers, the co-curator of 3460 Miles. Follow her on Twitter @cbm.
They are two of the greatest cities in the world… but living with one foot in each is no easy feat.
In the past two years, I’ve taken 36 plane trips across the Atlantic, totalling over 120,000 miles worth of air time. I’ve paid rent in London, crashed with friends in New York, spent a couple of blurry weeks at The Ace Hotel, and rented 12 different Airbnb apartments from strangers.
While expensive, living the Transatlantic life doesn’t mean you have to make over £100,000 per year or drain your life savings. A few tricks of the pond-hopping trade are enough to get by like a well-seasoned NyLoner.
1. Plan for Take Off
Virgin Atlantic vs. British Airways? You must choose one. From the moment you start racking up points and air miles, it’s too late to turn back. While British Airways is superb if you can afford Upper Class, Virgin is a much better ride in any class. (Plus, you can always try your luck by sweet talking the check-in desk attendant for an upgrade!) If Virgin is your pick, you’ll want to unlock Gold Status, which can be more easily achieved by applying for a Virgin Atlantic credit card. Gold Status opens access to any of the Virgin Atlantic lounges, making the pre-flight experience that much more enjoyable. Another advantage of going with VA is that you also get status on Delta, which while it’s not great for LHR>JFK, is pretty decent for domestic US flights, especially if your status gets you an upgrade to first class.
2. Stay Connected
Choose an International Cell Phone Plan. If you spend more time in the U.S. than the U.K, T-Mobile offers a great plan for $100, allowing you to to use your phone in over 100 countries without being charged roaming fees. In the U.K. there’s EE, which offers something similar if you plan on spending more time in England. Alternatively, you could buy two SIM cards, one for each country. N.B. that it’s a lot easier to buy a top-up, pay-as-you-go SIM card in the U.K. than in the U.S. Also, beware of losing those tiny cards while swapping them out of your iPhone on the plane! If you’re an Android user, there are a plethora of dual-sim phone options.
Keep up with your social life on both sides of the pond. For staying in touch with friends all over the globe, What’s App and Facebook Messenger (funny enough!) are the way to go.
3. Be Climate Savvy
Check the weather. Every New Yorker’s favourite weather tool has got to be Poncho, the app that embodies the personality of a sassy cat and sends you texts and/or e-mail updates in plain English. In London, we like the appropriately named PartlyCloudy, which delivers us the weather news in a beautiful infographic.
4. Get from A to B
Use Hailo in London and Uber in New York City. Hailo works like a charm in London. At the tap of a finger, a black cab will be at your door in under 5 minutes. However, since the recent upsurge in user signups, Uber now tend to be pretty speedy too but some of the drivers have no idea of where they’re heading. On the flip side, I’ve never successfully hailed a Hailo in New York, while Uber dominates Manhattan and Brooklyn with its convenient, dependable and classy car service. As a last resort, the age old trick of sticking out your hand to hail a cab still works well in both cities.
Taking public transport? Look no further than CityMapper. Live in both New York and London, CityMapper is by far the best way to map out your real-time route through either city’s extensive transport networks.
5. Make Time to Dine
Looking for the hottest new restaurants? Made in New York's app Foursquare is great for finding venues rated highly by your peers. It allows for searching by location or browsing through curated lists such as CBM in NYC, our 3460 Miles in NYC, CBM in London and our 3460 Miles in London. To book, simply click “Reservation” within the app to launch OpenTable (the company that acquired UK’s TopTable). Other on-point media resources for finding city hot spots are Just Opened London and Time Out New York.
When it comes to paying the bill, check out the Cover app while Stateside. If you’re paying a friend back after a round of pre-dinner drinks, do so with Venmo in NYC and the soon-to-launch Ringpay in London to avoid fumbling between currencies.
6. Rest Your Head
Unless you’re on someone else’s dime, bouncing back and forth between Ace Hotels might not be an option. Ideally, you’ll want to have an apartment in both New York and London. Before you dismiss this as a ludicrously expensive idea, read on!
Let your apartment out on One Fine Stay and rent a place on Airbnb. One Fine Stay is extremely host-friendly. While the company takes a bigger fee (about 50%), it handles guest relations, check-in, check-out and cleaning— all particularly helpful trade-offs when you’re on the road and unable to let a guest in. Plus, nothing beats walking in to a sparkling clean home after you’ve been away.
On the consumer side, I usually opt for Airbnb as a guest because it’s much cheaper. The social recommendations on Airbnb also win my vote, as this feature easily lets you rent through someone you have mutual friends with on Facebook. If you’re going super pro NyLon, why not try and rent the same place each trip? You could ask the host if you can leave a bag behind for a small monthly fee, or perhaps even free of charge if they’re awesome (and most Airbnb hosts tend to be).
The NyLon lifestyle is as crazy as it sounds and far less glamorous than most people suppose it to be. But for those of us who’ve built a life caught between two cities, we can only keep purchasing plane tickets and sharing lessons learned along the way.
Now you’ve got your insider tips and booked your flight, you’re set to go! Bon voyage and see you in 3460 Miles!