NYC – 9 Tips That Won’t Break The Bank
The big apple is on everyone’s bucket list, but how do you take it by storm and get everything you want on a budget. Well, here are 9 steps to help you get there…
The great thing about this city is that no matter what time of year you decided to visit it’s always going to be one of the most beautiful, picturesque man-made places in the world, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to experience the New York City magic.
However, prices of all your main expenses will vary so be careful of peak tourist times: Christmas, mid-summer, various holidays. Beyond that, to further decrease your flight costs, be selective when choosing the days of the week and times of travel. Skyscanner will show you what days of the month are cheaper to fly on and then organise the flights by price across all airlines.
If you’re looking to save money hotels are a no-go, particularly in central areas of Manhattan. You also have the option to stay in other areas like Brooklyn and Queens, it just depends on how far you are willing to travel every day. Just keep in mind that New York is a huge city and even navigating your way around Manhattan can take some time, especially if you’re not familiar with the area.
Personally, AirBnB is my favourite source of finding accommodation because not only is it usually a cheaper option, but you will experience more of what it’s like to live in a city as apposed to just visiting and it offers more space and flexibility. However if you are set on a hotel, Booking.com, Trivago and other search comparison websites are probably your best option to finding a less expensive place to stay.
3. City Pass
These always seem like an unnecessary lump-sum expense at first. However, if you plan on doing the classic NYC touristy things, a pass will save you a lot of money and hassle while you’re there, especially during busy times of year as having a ticket upfront means you also get to skip most of those dreaded queues. There are a few different city passes available so you may have to search around a bit and see what’s right for you. I recommend City Pass.
Part of experiencing NYC is the to-die-for food and gorgeous venues. However, if you’re eating out 2-3 times a day in expensive places, that’s going to add up pretty quickly. So whenever you can, if you have access to a kitchen (this is where AirBnB comes in handy) eat in or take a packed lunch, maybe even have a picnic in Central Park if the weather’s right. This may also save you time, as you won’t be stopping for food so much throughout the day.
5. No Taxis/Ubers
Like I said it’s a pretty big place so you’re probably going to have to give in and do this once or twice anyway, at least to and from the airport, but during your stay here are a few alternatives…
Buy a subway pass for the week (this can literally take you anywhere). If you don’t want to spend too much time underground, walk - I was there during the one of the most brutal blizzards in history and let me tell you, there’s nothing like being in a slightly ghostly New York City where you can’t see the top of even the smaller buildings. It was magic. Don’t let the weather stop you! City bikes are also a great and quick way to get around. You can pick them up and drop them off anywhere – just be weary on the roads.
6. Resist Shopping
This may be hard for a lot of people, being in the shopping capital of the world and all, but at least try and stay away from high-tourist areas where a simple ‘I heart NYC’ jumper will be $20 more than it is in East Village.
7. Free Things
We all love a good free-be and this city isn’t lacking in them. There are plenty of free things to do. The Staten Island ferry will pretty much take you on the same route as any other ferry tour just for 100% cheaper. Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges offer stunning skyline views of the city. The 911 memorial is free to visit however, if you’d like to go in to the museum it’s about $26. Grand Central Station and Times Square are both a must see if you’re a fan of the movies. The High Line is a lovely walk through the rooftops of the west side right down to the Meatpacking district in the West Village.
There are loads more but those should keep you busy for at least two days and show you a substantial chunk of the city without you paying a penny.
8. Book in Advance
This may seem obvious but, for a lot of things, the sooner you book the cheaper it will be. Anything from flights and accommodation to Knicks, Yankees, Broadway and concert tickets.
9. Plan Your Days
Yes, you’ve got to leave some things to spontaneity. There’s nothing like getting lost in a part of town that you just happened to stumble upon or drifting in to those quirky bars, café’s and shops that jump out at you. The truth is you will see and experience so much just by wandering around. That’s the beauty of it. Just explore. No walking tours needed. All I’m saying is have a rough guide as to what you definitely, maybe and don’t want to do that day. Stick to one side of town to avoid travelling up and down too much, but at the same time don’t be too hard on yourself or your schedule. Just enjoy it because there’s no other place like NYC.
By Emilia Maynard