While New York City (NYC) is the major destination for so many, the rest of New York State (colloquially called “upstate New York”) is well worth exploring, from the spectacular forests that cover the Adirondacks to Niagara Falls and the towns and cities in between.
New York State has a distinct four seasons, making winter (particularly January and February) very cold and summer (particularly August) very hot. Peak tourist season runs from July to September. If you’re headed to upstate New York, plan to come in the fall (September through November) to see the spectacular trees turn colors.
The de facto national language of the United States is English, though you’re certain to find pockets of ethnic heritage throughout New York State, where immigrants’ mother tongues are still spoken. There are also numerous indigenous languages spoken throughout the state, particularly of the Iroquoian language family.
The currency throughout the United States is the dollar. Credit cards are accepted at the vast majority of businesses and ATMs are also quite frequent. For travel throughout the East Coast, you will want to have some cash on hand for the occasional tollbooth that has not yet been converted to an electronic system.
New York is eminently drivable, though quite large. Albany is two and a half hours north of Manhattan in NYC, and Buffalo is another four and a half hours west of Albany.
Automobile hire is available in virtually every city and town in New York State. The most popular cities in which to pick up a rental car include: New York City and its numerous surrounding airports, particularly LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy; Albany in eastern upstate New York; and Buffalo on the western edge of New York.
38 nationalities can enter the United States as tourists without applying for a visa, though if you are among these nationalities, you are still required to fill out the ESTA in advance. Visit esta.us for more information. Visitors to the United States will be fingerprinted and biometrically photographed upon entry. If your nationality is not included in the visa-waiver program, you will be required to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa in advance of your arrival.
While the roads in and around NYC can be riddled with potholes and packed with people, the roads throughout the rest of the state are well maintained and a real joy to drive.
Automobile hire in New York typically starts at around $48 a day. Here are some of the best deals:
Note that prices vary depending on the availability of each specific car and the season in which you rent. For the most accurate offers, use the search bar above.
The best way to save money on rental cars throughout New York State is by planning ahead. By booking your car six to twelve months in advance of your arrival you can save upwards of $10 a day. Shopping around is also recommended, as rentals are not always cheaper at airports than at downtown locations; you may find that some Manhattan locations are ultimately cheaper than LaGuardia or JFK airports.
Albany and Buffalo, among other New York cities, also often offer prices routinely $5 to $10 cheaper than rental prices in New York City.
Particularly if you’re renting from Thrifty, you can save over $10 a day if you extend your rental period to over a week.