Included Breakfast Save You Money
Breakfast in cheap hotels is odd and served on disposable polystyrene plates and bowls. Id never seen that before. But there is plenty of it, a few bananas followed us up to our room and made great snacks. Free tea and coffee all day in the hotel lobby was good news for me and others on a budget. Take-away cups and lids made it portable. A hot cup of coffee is a good hand warmer in New York in January. We paid around $140/night for a 4 bed room, including breakfast and wifi, we couldnt find anything cheaper for a hotel with the features we needed.;See the hotel we used here.
The Best Things In Life Are Free
What the cheapest place to stay in NYC? The free one.
When a friend found out we were interested in visiting New York, he reached out and offered us his guest room in Queens. We couldnt pass that up! Everything in New York City is expensive, so if you can save money by staying with a friend, by all means do it!
What if you dont have a generous friend living in NYC wholl put you up for a few days? Then make one through HomeExchange! We spent our first three nights at a spacious HomeExchange apartment right near Central Park on the Upper West Side while the owners were out of town for a family reunion. You can read all about how HomeExchange works, but the best and most important thing to know about the program is that you and your host do not have to match for dates and locations. The non-reciprocal option gives you the opportunity to trade points for a stay at someones home when they wont be using it no matter where theyll be. Your only out-of-pocket expense is $15 per night to cover insurance and customer service. Read about it here or .
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
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Find A Cheap Flight To Nyc
Getting there doesnt have to be expensive. In fact, there are often times great flight deals to NYC because it is a major hub. Be sure to include both JFK and La Guardia, or even Newark, in your search.
Try seaching with Google Flights to come up with the best deal that suits your needs.
Here is an entire article dedicated to finding cheap flights around the world!
Save Money On Museum Admission
Admission at several of New Yorks most famous museums can be acquired for next to nothing.
In return, these museums cannot charge a set admission price; instead, they ask for a suggested donation. You are free to pay as much or as little as you would like. On Saturday evenings, the Guggenheim uses the same system of suggested donations instead of set ticket prices.
The Museum of Modern Art offers several different discounts including free admission every Friday night from 4:00 to 8:00PM .
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Eat Your Way Through Economy Candy
The Lower East Side’s Economy Candy;is not the largest candy store around, but the selection is vast and prices are low. Many candies are sold in bulk, and customers rave about finding treats that make them nostalgic for childhood. Once you’ve gorged yourself, spend some time wandering the neighborhood and explore the many boutiques, restaurants, and bars this hipster enclave holds.
Find Cheaper Versions Of Typical Tourist Destination
Avoid the tourist traps and see New York like a local. There are tons of ways to experience classic NYC activities on the cheapand without the tourist crowd. These tips are just the tip of the iceberg thoughtalk to an NYC trip planner for a boatload of 1:1 personalized recs.
- Instead of the Comedy Cellar, go to an open-mic night: There are so many bars and theaters around New York that have free live comedy! The comedy may be more hit-and-miss, but youll definitely stumble upon some gems. The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater is a local favorite.
- Instead of Little Italy, go to Arthur Avenue: New Yorkers know that Little Italy hasnt been the best place in town for Italian food in almost a century. Instead, head north to the Bronx. Arthur Avenue has some of the best Italian eats in town.
- Instead of Magnolia Bakery, go to Mollys Cupcakes:Sure you could visit the bakery made famous by Sex in the City, but to satisfy a sweet tooth without the crowds, opt for a cupcake at Mollys Cupcakes or a cookie at Levain Bakery .
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Dont Be Afraid Of Public Transportation
Taking the subway in New York is a cultural experience. In fact, it is one of my top things to do in NYC if you want to get a sense of the heart of the city.
While it might not be the most comfortable way to get around , its a melting pot of people. Everyone uses the subway, and there are even live performances at some of the stations. You will never forget your commutes!
The subway is a major timesaver but its not a magic portal. You can spend ages on the train if you are traveling to far-flung spots. Spend some time on Google Maps to get a sense of the actual travel time and where certain spots are located in proximity to one another.
If you havent traveled by subway much, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First up, avoid any empty trains. If no one is using a particular wagon, its probably got something gross going on, has a broken AC, or some other issue.
Once you are in your wagon, grab the handrail to make sure you are secure on your feet. Keep an eye on your stuff and make sure it is always in your line of sight. If you are lucky enough to get a seat, hold your bag on your lap or between your legs.
Best Airbnb In New York Fully Furnished Studio Overlooking Magnolia Bakery In The Heart Manhattans West Village
Perfectly located in West Village, this serviced apartment with every amenity you can imagine also has a shared garden with a bubbling fountain that has a high-security monitoring system with 16 cameras throughout the buildings public areas and entry doors controlled by electric fobs. This place is recommended for where to stay in New York City if you want to have a home away from home.
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Getting Around New York City On A Budget
Speaking of the subway, NYC is famous for its public transportation because you can get anywhere you need to go for under $3.
You can buy an unlimited 7-day pass for $33; thats a steal for a weeks worth of exploring.
Taking the subway lets you see a slice of everyday life in the city, and there are stops by every major attraction. If youre a dedicated budget traveler, you can even take the subway from JFK or a bus-subway route from LaGuardia.
You can purchase a subway card called the MetroCard at all subway stations, convenience stores, newsstands or online. Read more about the MetroCard here.
If youre planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to NYC, its okay to break the rules of frugal traveling. You can enjoy a fancy restaurant, shop on Fifth Avenue, or see that Broadway show youve been dreaming about for years.
Just exercise restraint in other areas of your trip. Visiting New York City without blowing your budget is possible!
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Getting To New York City
You can find cheap flights to New York City;if you know the tricks on when to book, what days to travel and where you can find discount discounts.;
Before you arrive, take a look at our post on;transportation to and from New York Citys airports.;;
Its important to look in advance because you are likely to need to buy a subway card to get into the city.;
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Set A Budget And Track Your Spending
All these tips are great, but theyre going to do you no good if you dont track your expenses. New York City is a place where it is easy to overspend. A bagel here and an entry ticket there will add up fast. And if you arent writing them down, youll have no clue how over-budget youve gone.
Heres what I want you to do: Figure out what your total budget for your trip to NYC is, and hold yourself accountable.
There are plenty of apps out there that let you set daily budget goals and show you how much you have left to spend.
Shopping And Other Budgeting Tips
Here are a final few tips to prepare for your trip and save money in NYC.
1. Dont get scammed !;
It is not likely that you will be victim of a scam in NYC, but watch out for people trying to sell you unofficial tickets for attractions or the subway on the street, and only purchase these from official vendors. Also, as previously mentioned the Staten Island Ferry is free, so dont get tricked into buying tickets for it ! Finally, be aware that if you get a picture with the people wearing character costumes in Times Square, they will be expecting a tip.;
2. Plan your shopping;
There are some historic department stores and flagship locations of major brands in NYC, and you may be able to find products that are not available at home or are expensive to get shipped to where you live. Consider whether shopping in NYC actually makes sense for you, as tax rates might be higher or lower than they are at home, typically set at 8.875%, though clothing and footwear is exempted for the first 110 $ purchase. Check current NY tax rates here;. If this is a good deal for you, plan for your shopping and figure out what you need before you leave home and stick to a budget.;
At flagship stores treat yourself to something fun but small and useful, like a hand cream, lip balm or consumable items and stay away from novelty items you wont use and overpriced souvenirs .;
3. Bring your student ID
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Where To Stay In New York On A Budget
21. Stay outside Manhattan. Thanks to New Yorks comprehensive public transportation system, theres no need to pay through the nose for a Midtown hotel when you can stay in one of the other boroughsor in New Jerseyand take the train wherever you want to go. Even after factoring in the cost of extra transportation, the savings can be significant.
22. Consider alternatives. There are plenty of other options besides hotels, including apartment rentals, home exchanges, couch surfing, and hostels, many of which offer private rooms in addition to shared dorms. For more ideas, see Ditch the Hotel: 10 Cheaper Ways to Stay.
23. Share a bathroom. If youre willing to sacrifice a little comfort for a better location, consider staying in a hotel or an inn with a shared bathits often one of the best ways to find a truly budget rate in the most popular Manhattan neighborhoods.
Use Credit Card Rewards To Cover Flight And Hotel Costs
There’s something quintessentially American about New York City. Maybe that’s why it attracts over 65 million visitors per year, including nearly one out of every three international visitors. But New York isnt cheap. Hotels in particular can take a big bite out of your budget. The flip side, however, is that your choices for airlines and accommodations are vast. That means that there are a lot of ways you can cover major costs with credit card rewards points.;
As part of our post-pandemic travel planning series, well guide you through how to make this dream a financial reality. Check out the rest of Our Moneys on Travel for more advice on making a great escape this year.
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Visit The Metropolitan Museum Of Art
One of the most famous museums in the world, the Met has a suggested ticket price of $25, but residents of New York state, as well as students from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, can pay what they want. And anyone from anywhere can get in for free at at museums including the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Rubin Museum of Art, and the New Museum;during limited hours.
Inside St Patrick’s Cathedral
The cathedral underwent restoration in 2016 and shines with a freshly cleaned exterior, repaired stained glass, and a painted ceiling, but the inside remains largely untouched. Regardless of your religious affiliation, St. Patrick’s;is worth visiting, and it’s right across from another NYC landmark worth visiting: Rockefeller Center.
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Explore The Citys Amazing Parks
Dont get us wrong, Central Park is breathtaking. Its full of great trails, a zoo, beautiful lakes and plenty of green space. But the New York City park scene is way more than just Central Park.
- Prospect Park: Nestled alongside the fantastic Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens you might like Prospect Park even more than Central Park. Full of green space, gorgeous lakes, and beautiful shady bridges, you can spend an entire afternoon exploring the nooks and crannies of this magical part of Brooklyn.
- Washington Square Park:Theres always something happening in Washington Square Park. The center of the vibrant Greenwich Village neighborhood, Washington Square is home to New York Universitymaking it a youthful, lively spot. There are always people aroundlounging in the grass, listening to live music, or challenging each other to a game of chess.
- Riverside Park:One of the less-frequented parks in New York City, Riverside Park runs along the Hudson River parallel to Columbia Universitys campus on the Upper West Side. We suggest walking north through the park and then looping back toward Columbiathere, you can check out President Ulysses S. Grants tomb.
Free Attractions And Events
New York City has many free incredible attractions and sights. Hence, spending your money on every single step is entirely wrong. One of the most exciting free attractions is Central Park. There are quite often some free events going on, and also, it is a great place for a picnic. Staten Island Ferry is the best way to see the Statue of Liberty for free. You wont have to bother with security scans and long lines just to get in. Besides that, there are always free city walking tours, as well as NYC brewery tours that, sometimes, even give free beers. And finally, you should visit the magnificent New York Public Library where so many movies were filmed.
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Nyc On A Budget: 15 Tips For Cheap Travel To New York
Sure, New York City can be expensive . But heres the thinga vacation to NYC really doesnt have to break the bank. In fact, there are a lot of ways to keep your trip to super affordable. Seriously! Here are 15 ways to travel to New York City on a budget.
Questions after reading our *two cents* ? Send us a message!
Cheap Eats In New York City
New York City has some of the best food in the world. While I would love to list all of the best restaurants, the truth is there are too many to name, and theyre always changing. Moreover, I cant always afford to eat at them
In my itinerary, we visit all of the best neighborhoods for New York foodies, but there are plenty of equally delicious alternatives to NYCs prime restaurants.
Many of NYCs staple foods are very inexpensive, and frankly, you cant visit New York and;not get a piece of pizza or bagel:
Pizza; A single-topping slice is usually $2.50$3.50, but many pizzerias are offering plain cheese slices for only $1.00. One of the most popular dollar joints is;Two Bros. Pizza, with seven;locations in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn.
Chinatown street food; Food carts on Canal Street sell steamed, grilled, and fried Chinese food for $1$2. Neighborhood bakeries have savory and sweet pastries for 80 cents, and dumpling stands offer five;dumplings or pork buns for $1.00. Enjoying these treats in bustling Columbus Park is a unique cultural experience in itself.
If you prefer to dine in a restaurant, many along Mott, Pell, and Bayard Streets offer dim sum and noodle entrees for $6$10.
Harlem soul food;;Jacob Restaurant;and;Mannas;feature big buffets of soul food and salads , sold by weight: $4.95$6.50 per pound.
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