New York: Car Rental

We love NYC!

Local Travel Info

Local Travel Info in New York

Internal Flights and Major International Airports for New York

Three major airports service the New York City area: JFK (John F. Kennedy) International Airport, EWR (Newark) Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, NJ, and LGA (LaGuardia) Airport. There are also three smaller airports in the suburbs surrounding New York: Westchester County Airport in White Plains, Stewart Airport in Newburgh, and MacArthur Airport in Islip, Long Island. Unless you are travelling on an internal flight, travel time to New York from one of these outlying airports may be too cumbersome and time-consuming. Newark Airport is closest to downtown Manhattan and also tends to have more economical fares for flights. JFK and LaGuardia Airports are closer to midtown and upper Manhattan where JFK caters more to international flights and LaGuardia services internal flights. Most visitors use airline travel to arrive and depart the New York area especially since New York is a very popular stop on many international flights to and from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Getting To and From JFK International Airport

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is the leading international air passenger gateway to the United States. It is located on Long Island in southeast New York about 12 miles from downtown Manhattan. JFK Airport is accessible by rail, bus, taxi, car, and helicopter. The most popular form of transportation to and from the airport is by taxi for three primary reasons: 1. most visitors will have luggage and depending on when you arrive or depart, you’ll want to be transported directly to your destination (hotel or airport) as soon as possible while handling your baggage as little as possible, 2. most visitors book accommodations in midtown Manhattan closest to JFK, and 3. taxis travelling between JFK airport and any point in Manhattan have a very reasonable fixed rate of $45 $4.50 tolls tip. Recent operation of the AirTrain at JFK has made it extremely easy to travel by subway or the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) directly from the terminals into Manhattan. Popular drop off points are at Grand Central and Penn Stations where connections to other stops can be made. Carting your luggage with you on public transportation to and from the airport can be tiresome and inconvenient. Best to stick with a taxi!

Travel Costs in New York

The famous yellow New York taxi cab is an extremely convenient way to travel around New York City streets- especially when the weather is not conducive to walking or you’re carrying luggage or shopping bags. It’s also the most expensive (outside of having a private car service or a rental car) where an average taxi fare may be $10-$20 per ride. Don’t forget to add 15-20% for tip. Many New Yorkers live their whole lives in the city never having need for a car. Unless you are planning to drive significantly outside of the city area, a rental car and finding and paying for parking is an unnecessary expense. Although there are plenty of parking lots and garages scattered all over the city, daily special rates can be as much as $20 to $30 for sedan size vehicles – pricing does not include the 18% city tax. Hotels also generally charge daily fees to accommodate your rental car in their parking garage. Be sure to check your booking. Subways are by far the most economical and widely used form of getting around the city. Metro cards can be purchased at stations all over the city. Public transportation buses are also very accessible all around the city. Fares for either are $2 per ride or $5 for an express ride. Visit the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for details on routes, lines, and schedules

Rental Cars in New York

New York has one of the most efficient and economical public transportation systems in the United States. In addition, it has the most prolific and experienced taxi cab and livery services (private car). Because of this, many residents and visitors have little need for owning or renting their own car. Parking lots and garage spaces are quite coveted and even more expensive. Although the city is set on a grid, many streets are one way and change names as they cross over certain thresholds. This can be quite confusing to drivers not familiar with the city layout. Parking regulations are heavily enforced and although signs are posted with parking restrictions, should you park in the wrong area, fines are steep and cars are often towed at the driver’s responsibility. Impound charges are quite time consuming and costly and can ruin a holiday. If you do choose to rent a car, do so from the airport location where rates are cheaper and try booking through a package deal from an international company – rate discounts are often more attractive for foreign nationals than US drivers.

To book car rental in New York online, view our Car Hire section for New York . We offer Ok Alpha users the latest special offers and best rates available for car hire in New York . We advise you book your New York hire car in advance so you can pick it up and drop it off directly at the airport.

Drivers License Requirements in New York

Check with your rental car company or your consulate that your driver’s license is valid in the United States - most likely you’ll only be required to provide your driver’s license and passport when picking up the rental car. It is highly recommended that you purchase the additional car rental insurance for vehicle damage or personal injury if it is not already required by the rental company.

Driving Rules in New York

The United States drives on the right side of the road and seatbelts are required at all times. Highway speeds are posted in miles per hour and can range from 55 to 60 mph. Average road speeds range from 15 mph in school zones to the more common 35 mph around the city. There are many tow away zones in New York so be sure to park in designated areas or better yet find a parking garage. Pay attention to traffic signs and parking restrictions as they are posted everywhere to guide you. Should you be ticketed, instructions will be posted on the ticket and additional fines will be assessed when you turn in your rental car. Make note that pedestrians always have the right of way in the United States. Do not block crosswalks. Talking on your cell phone while operating a car is illegal in New York so get a headset or Bluetooth or better yet pull over to carry on your phone conversation.

Buses in New York

New York’s public transportation busses are often referred to as the MTA – Metropolitan Transportation Authority – and are very accessible around the city. They run in conjunction with the popular and timely subway system. Schedule, routes, and a handy TripPlanner can be found on the MTA’s website at MetroCards can be purchased at stations (booths and self-serve kiosks) all over the city. Fare for either bus or subway is $2 but if you load your Metro card with at least $7 you’ll receive another 15%. There are a couple of unlimited MetroCards where a day pass can be purchased for $7.50 or a week pass for $25. It’s notable that up to 3 children under 44 inches tall may ride free for every fare paying adult.

Taxis in New York

With over 450,000 cab rides a day, New York taxicabs are the quintessential mode of transportation for New Yorkers and visitors alike. Hailing a NY cab is an iconic experience seen in movies and TV over and over again. Step up to the curb, raise your arm and wave your hand, and let out a high pitch whistle – a cab is sure to stop for you. Rates start with an entry fee of $2.50 and increase from there at $0.40 increments based on time and distance. There are also other surcharges that will add to the fare like tolls crossed, rides at night during certain hours, rides during rush hour. Keep in mind tip is about 15-20%. To get approximate fare costs, try

Hitchhiking in New York

In New York and most metropolitan areas of the United States, the laws for where it is permissible to hitchhike are up to interpretation by law enforcement. Pedestrians are definitely restricted from highways and other high-speed roadways. Although you can try asking for a ride from a friendly passerby, most Americans do not pick up unknown hitchhikers or hitchhike themselves due to safety concerns.