Traveling Cheap To New York
How cheap can you make a vacation to New York? The cheapest trip to New York is about $112 per person per day for travelers willing to take standby flights, deal with inconvenience, and otherwise limit travel expenses. About 1% of rentals are available in the $0 to $100 range for an entire place, and vacation rentals can be booked for as low as $21 per night. These inexpensive rentals must be booked as early as possible and may not be in the most desirable areas. 1-star hotels are more likely to be available, with rooms starting at around $59.
Even cheaper trips are possible depending on where you live and whether you can drive. Check the cheapest times to fly for more saving ideas.
Dont Stay In Manhattan
If youre wondering where to stay in New York that wont consume your entire travel budget, heres a tip: dont limit yourself to Manhattan. Youll find much better deals on hotels and Airbnbs in other boroughswithout sacrificing your experience.
Brooklyn neighborhoods like Park Slope and Williamsburg are full of New York charm . A three-star hotel in Brooklyn or Queens can save you around $100/night compared to one in Manhattan. Cha-ching! That means more cash for Broadway tickets .
Maybe you’ll opt for the ultimate money-saving accommodations by camping upstate. Our locals in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills can help any camping or hiking you want to do in their backyard. Learn more.
Hop On The Staten Island Ferry
Absolutely FREE since 1997, the Staten Island ferry is a great way to have a whole new perspective of Manhattan, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
Also look into the IKEA ferry that runs from Wall St. to the Swedish furniture store in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Its $5 on weekdays, but free at weekends.
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Save Money With The New York Pass
Visiting NYC for the first time can be stressful. New York is a big city and theres lots of fun things to do and see. It can be challenging to plan an itinerary and determine which attractions to spend your money on.
Theyre also recommended by Expedia and the New York Pass currently have a TrustScore rating of 4.1/5 on Trust Pilot . Over 3.5 million travelers have used the pass and 9 out of 10 customers recommend the New York Pass to their friends.
With the New York Pass, you can save time, money, and enjoy stress-free sightseeing. But dont just take my word for it. Check out these TripAdvisor reviews.
PRO TIP: Buy the pass online to save time and hassle. Plus, youll save extra money off the retail price. To buy the New York Pass, to go to the official website.
Pay As You Wish Museum Entry
Did you know that some of NYCs most famous museums have pay-as-you-wish entry all the time? Yes, even the American Museum of Natural History! This makes these national treasures accessible to all.
And if a museum isnt pay as you wish, theres a good chance they have specific days or times that entry is free. Here are some examples:
9/11 Memorial: FREE on Tuesdays from 5 8 p.m.
Museum of Modern Art : FREE on Fridays from 4 8 p.m.
New York Botanical Garden: FREE all day Wednesdays, and from 9 10 a.m. on Saturdays
Take a look at this list of free museum days so you know when to plan your visit. Just know that on free entrance days, there is typically a longer queue.
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Cross The Brooklyn Bridge
Built in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most popular landmarks of the city and is entirely free trust NO ONE who tells you need a tour for this.
The walk takes about an hour and is filled with Instagram-worthy moments and captivating views of Manhattans skyline. The bridge is also exposed to pick a day with pleasant weather to do the walk. Snow or strong winds can be a huge problem when youre crossing a bridge as theres nowhere to find shelter.
Tip: the pathway is shared between pedestrians and bikes, so make sure you stay on the pedestrian lane at all times. Also there are no bathrooms or food on the bridge, so come prepared .
If you cross from Manhattan to Brooklyn, walk down the Dumbo district and relax on Brooklyn Bridge Park afterwards.
Eat Dinner During Happy Hour
Happy hour is popular in New York City and offered seven days a week at some restaurants.
Happy hour can be found throughout Manhattan and is great for drink and food specials. It usually starts at around 4:00pm and goes until 8:00pm . If youre not sure where to go, you can check for deals online. Most restaurants also advertise with signs outside.
Food specials can include pre-fix menus or up to 50% off appetizers. New York restaurants can be expensive and eating during happy hour can be a great way to save money.
For breakfast, stop by a local deli for a quick and delicious breakfast or grab a bagel at one of the many food stands on the street.
For lunch, have a slice of pizza or head to one of the popular food trucks. If youre not sure which one try, just look for one with a long line-up of locals.
PRO TIP: For cheap easts, head to Chinatown or the Lower East Side neighborhood.
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Sightseeing In New York City On A Budget
We include many cheap NYC attractions in our 4-day New York trip plan. However, our New York trip itinerary does not include visiting any museums or skyscrapers .
That said, our NYC sightseeing route passes by many of these high-dollar attractions. If soaring to the top of a skyscraper or spending time at a museum is high on your New York travel itinerary must-sees, budget for it and be sure to make room in your sightseeing schedule to enjoy it!
Top Tip: Read more about money-saving NYC Sightseeing Passes at the end of the post!
Flight Costs To New York
Averaging flights around the world, prices go from a high of $1,170 average in late July to a low of $688 in mid to late September. Median flight price is $638. These prices are based on millions of flights. For New York our data includes 1,129 originating airports, and 152 airlines. The area has more variance in price compared with other locations. Flying to New York from an airport like Savannakhet in Sylhet for an average $10,541 trip fare will obviously cost a lot more than from an airport like Ronald Reagan Washington National in Washington, DC at an average of just $146.
The cheapest day to fly in is typically Tuesday, and the cheapest day to fly back is usually Tuesday. Click here to see data for the cost of flights from your airport. In New York, the difference between the cheapest and the most expensive week is about $482, so you can easily save about 70% simply by using our free flight guides and booking in advance.
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Save Up To 70% With The New York City Attraction Passes
If its your first time visiting the Big Apple and you want to see all the major attractions on a budget, then the New York CityPASS is the way to go. The prices start at $136 per adult and $112 per child, so while its not cheap up front, it does save money if you plan to see NYCs six biggest attractions.
Included in the price you can visit:
- Ferry access to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum OR the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
- Guggenheim Museum OR Top of the Rock Observation Deck
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The bonus is that you will wait in a separate line at most of these places, which is much shorter than the regular ticket line. When you consider that entering the Empire State Building costs $66.41 and the Top of the Rock Observation Deck costs $41.37, the New York CityPASS more than pays for itself by using it to see just three attractions.
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Take Public Transportation To And From The Airport
For the love of God and all that is holy, take public transportation to and from the airport. No joke, it will save you TONS of money and really isnt that complicated.
But to make your life even easier when backpacking NYC on a budget, heres how to get from Manhattan to JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark .
- JFK The quickest way to get into the city is probably via commuter train while the cheapest way to get into Manhattan is via subway, which can be a long ride after a long flight . To use the subway, just take the Howard Beach AirTrain Line to the Howard Beach/JFK stop and connect with the A train from here. The train will be $7.75 one way while a single ride on the subway will be $2.75 , so $10.50 total.
- Newark Use the NJ Transit train at Penn Station to connect with an AirTrain that will take you to Newark . And if youre not a fan of the train, you could always board an NJ Transit bus in Manhattan that will take you directly to the airport .
- LaGuardia There are a couple of different ways to travel from Manhattan to LaGuardia and vice versa. You could take the M60 bus to LaGuardia. You could also take the E, F, M, R, or 7 train to Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue and then take the Q70 bus to LaGuardia . Otherwise, you could always take an LIRR train to Woodside and then take the Q70 bus to LaGuardia . All of these methods are pretty cheap and can cost as little as $2.75 for a single ride on public transportation.
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Find Affordable Accomodation In Nyc
The second most significant cost you are likely to face in NYC is accommodation. Manhattan is a popular place to stay and there are simply not that many budget priced options.
1. Stay fewer nights
The best thing you can do to reduce costs is to reduce the number of actual nights you stay in the city. I typically arrive on an early morning flight for the first day and leave late on an overnight flight or bus on the last day, which saves the cost of one night.
2. Consider a hostel
Solo student travellers can consider staying in multi share room in a youth hostel. While hostels can sound scary if youve never stayed in one, there are some safe and clean options in the city.
The HI New York City Hostel on the Upper West Side is large, safe and clean and offers mixed and women-only dorms and several activities like walking tours where you can meet other young travellers. Ive stayed there twice and had no issue either time.
Other hostels I found to be alright in the city were the Jazz on Columbus Circle Hostel, which is just a few blocks south of Columbus Circle and Central Park, and the International Student Center Youth Hostel on the Upper West Side.
If you are travelling with a partner or with a small group, consider looking for hotels deals or AirBnBs since that could actually work out costing less than a hostel.
3. Reach out to friends and family
4. Stay further away
Ready To Crush New York City On A Budget
New York City is a must on any serious travelers bucket list. Yes, the city can be expensive. But with the right game plan and a little bit of self-control, its possible to have an incredible time in New York on a budget.
Book your flight today so you can start exploring and eating your way through the most epic city in America. If you need help on the flight side of your trip, read more travel tips in our Ultimate Guide to Cheap Flights.
Heres to seeing more of the world without blowing all of your savings!
Want to get our flight deals as soon as theyre published? Follow Dollar Flight Club on , and , and join to get email alerts from our deals feed.
Jesse originally founded Dollar Flight Club in 2016 to harness his flight finding skills for friends and family. Years later, Jesse and the Dollar Flight Club team parse through the data to deliver the best flight deals to their more than 1,000,000 members. His favorite recent destinations of choice have been Greece, Mexico, France, and Sweden.
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Citibike Bike Share Program
Intrepid travelers might want to hop on a bike during their New York adventure. There are a surprising amount of bike lanes in the city, and you cant beat a cruise along the Hudson or through Central Park.
New Yorks bike share program, Citibike, is a good alternative to bike rentals with docking stations all over Manhattan below 59th Street. Note that short-term members may take unlimited 30-minute rides, while annual memberships allow unlimited 45-minute rides. The new-ish electric bikes cost a little more, but you can cover much more ground on a ride around Central Park or along the Hudson River.
Citibike prices : Single ride: $3.50 One-day pass: $15 One year pass: $179
Visiting New York On A Budget
New Yorks long been one of my favourite cities. I first visited 20 years ago and it made a huge impression. It was my first trip outside Europe and felt a million miles away from home. Seeing iconic sights like yellow cabs, steam through subway grilles, towering skyscrapers and Times Squares neon lights felt like walking onto a film set. I couldnt get enough of it, and still cant Ive been back five times since and need another New York fix soon. But like many world-class cities it can be expensive. So here are my tips on making the most of New York on a budget.
The Oculus at the World Trade Center
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Where To Stay In Nyc On A Budget
So, if youre backpacking in NYC on a budget, then there are a couple of different things that youll want from a hotel/hostel. Youll want to be certain that your accommodations are:
- Reasonably Priced Obviously, this is a guide to New York City on a budget. Therefore, youll definitely want to try and book a hotel/hostel that is under $100 per night. And while you wont have a TON of options to choose from, its definitely doable.
- Well-located Make sure that the place youre staying is in a safe neighborhood and has a central location so that you can see everything you want to see. You also dont want to be out in the boonies because then youll need to spend a ton of money/time commuting into and out of Manhattan every single day. So, If you need help with this, feel free to check out my guide to the best areas to stay in NYC.
- Safe I think this is probably the number one concern of anyone backpacking NYC on a budget. So, your first priority should be to make sure that your accommodations are in a safe neighborhood and that they have all necessary safety measures in place . I also like to be within a 15-minute walk of the nearest subway station to make getting around easier and safer.
Therefore, keeping all those important factors in mind, here are my top picks for the places to stay when backpacking NYC on a budget!
Take Advantage Of Free Events And Historical Sights
The Big Apple is bustling, and theres always something going on. Take time and find free festivals and events that are taking place during your trip. Some great examples are Shakespeare in the Park, concerts, and food festivals.
On the other hand, if youre a history buff, dont forget to check out all the free historical memorials, monuments, and landmarks. Such places include Alexander Hamiltons grave at Trinity Church and Ulysses S Grants tomb that we discussed earlier. You can also take walks around Times Square, Coney Island, and The High Line.
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Take Advantage Of Free Things To Do In Nyc
With areas like the Upper West Side and 5th Avenue, many travelers think NYC is full of expensive things to do.
The city is bursting with free attractions, activities, shows, concerts, landmarks, and so much more. Some of our favorite free things to do in NYC include:
- Exploring Central Park
- Visiting the Brooklyn Botanical Garden
- Taking advantage of free museum days throughout the city
- Scoring free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park
- Watching movies at Bryant Park during the summer
Free Guided Tours In Nyc
Its becoming increasingly popular to go on free guided tours of the city with genuine locals, who can lead you to all the attractions. With such a huge choice of tours available, youre sure to find one that suits you. Before setting off, check out the websites of the people offering the tours, as theres sometimes a change of plan due to bad weather.
The largest organization offering free walking tours isFree Tours by Foot. As in the case of the museums, these tours are offered on a pay what you wish basis. You have a choice of food tours, bus tours and bike tours. To be fair, its more accurate to say that these tours are free of charge if you choose not to pay anything. Free walking tours are therefore ideal whatever your budget.
Another group of people offering free walking tours are the Big Apple Greeters. The team consists of volunteers who show you around the most interest- ing places in the various neighborhoods. This allows you to experience New York through the eyes of a local something we find particularly fascinating.
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