Ways to Find Cheap Accommodation in New York City
The words cheap and New York don't usually go together, this is one of the most expensive cities in the world to visit and you will find some hotels charge thousands of dollars per night. But one of the main misconceptions about New York is that taking a break there will be hugely expensive.
In actual fact, there are a number of ways to keep costs down and to help we have put together this list with useful tips and recommendations to help you save money.
1. Book in Advance
Every trip involves doing a little research and planning and if you are looking for somewhere to stay on a budget it’ is a good idea to plan ahead. Search accommodation well in advance of your arrival date. The earlier you book the better the price usually is. By booking in advance, not only will you save money, but you will also give yourself peace of mind with your travel accommodation sorted.
2. Be Flexible with Dates
It is important to have some flexibility. You will have an advantage over other travellers if you aren’t too picky about when you travel. There are popular times for booking accommodation and choosing to stay during an off peak period will save you money.
Hotel prices are constantly changing because of peak and off peak periods. Summer and Christmas are the two peak periods for New York and you can expect to pay a premium during these periods. If you can avoid these times you will save a lot of a money.
Also look at the kind of accommodation you are looking to stay in, the location and when you think they would be most busy. For example, if you are looking to stay at a business-oriented hotel then you should look to book on the weekend. However, any leisure-focused accommodation will offer deals midweek Monday to Thursday. Some hotels and hostels also have special offers on Sundays which are usually the cheapest day to stay.
3. Use a Hotel Comparison Website
There is the options to visit the websites of hotels, hostels and appartaments but we recommend using a comparison website. Benefits include comparing prices, location, seeing pictures and being able to see past reviews. Sometimes special discounts are available too.
If you are looking to stay at a hotel we recommend using Booking.com where you can search and compare lots of different options from budget to luxury. This is our favorite hotel reservation site and millions of people use it every year.
4. Consider AirBnB
AirBnB is one of the most popular website for accommodation now and it is easy to see why. In New York you can find over 1000 amazing rooms and appartments and there are options for all budgets. If you are travelling with your family or friends and split the cost of an AirBnB you can usually make a lot of savings compared to standard hotel rooms. Most AirBnB's also have kitchen facilities too so you can also cut the cost of eating out everyday.
5. Don't Be Put Off By Hostels
Whether you are travelling solo, with friends or with your family staying in a hostel can really save you a lot of money. Don't be worried about what the conditions of hostels in New York are like, sometimes facilities are super modern and stylish. You can find amazing hostels for the fraction of the price of an average hotel room in New York.
To book hostels check out HostelWorld which has options from shared dorms to low cost budget accommodation.
6. Book Flights & Accommodation Together
Some websites and travel agencies offer discounted rates if book flights and accommodation together. You will need to shop around to get these types of deals.
7. Research New York Boroughs
One of the most important things to consider when looking to visit New York is to decide what area of New York you want to stay. If you are unfamiliar with the city, there are many different districts you should acquaint yourself with before booking.
Manhattan is the most famous part of New York and also where most of the sights and attractions are. But this is also generally the most expensive place to stay in the whole of the region.
If your budget permits and you book at the right time, you can conveniently find hotels near your favourite sites. So if you have dreams of seeing the Statue of Liberty from your hotel room window or perhaps you are looking for a hotel in midtown Manhattan so you can walk to the nearby Rockefeller Center - Manhattan is your place to stay.
Midtown Manhattan has the lion's share of accommodation and this area stretches across the island from 34th Street north to the beginning of Central Park. This area is so popular for those visiting the city because it houses Rockefeller Center, the Times Square Theatre District and the fancy Fifth Avenue shopping district.
Other areas of Manhattan you can stay include Midtown East, which is more commercial and business oriented; the Upper East Side, known to house many of the famous museums and the Upper West Side, known for art halls and expensive buildings.
Lower Manhattan has fewer hotel options; however, there are some great business hotels there in the financial district.
Brooklyn & Queens
Although you it is possible to find affordable deals in Manhattan, most lower-priced hotels are found in the suburbs. If you don’t mind commuting in and out, then this is a cheaper alternative. You might want to consider staying in Brooklyn which a close distance from JFK Airport. Brooklyn is now very trendy and prices have shot up in recent years but it is still cheaper to stay than in Manhattan. Queens is another option which offers hotels close to LaGuardia Airport and great transport links to Manhattan.
8. Don't Worry Too Much About Not Being Central
Staying in central Manhattan is amazing but it is also expensive. If being right next to your favourite location isn’t financially viable, then think about placing yourself near good transport links.
The New York City Subway is more than 700 miles long and runs 24 hours a day. Staying at hotels near the subway even in boroughs other than Manhattan will make it easier to get places.
Get a Metrocard, which is available in pay-per-ride or unlimited travel options. Another option is to take the bus or walk around. Although buses are slower than the subway, they will allow you see more of the city.
9. Stay Outside of New York
A much cheaper option for accommodation is to stay in New Jersey. Okay this might not be as exciting as actually staying in New York but this state is literally across the river from Manhattan and prices for accommodation are much cheaper.
New Jersey is also really close to Manhattan and you can travel by bus, train or ferry. The Subway is a 20 minute journey and only costs $2.75. You can also take the NJ Transit Train which takes around 30 minutes - 1 hour and costs $5.75. The ferry takes 15 Mins and costs $9 for adult and there is also the option to travel on public bus.
Other lower-priced areas include Jersey City and Newark. The former is located across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan. From Jersey City, you can get to NYC from the Lincoln Tunnel, by train or by ferry. Newark also has an airport nearby, which is less than an hour’s commute from Manhattan.
10. Stay More Days
The longer you stay the cheaper the price usually is. Some hotels offer discounts for stays of 3 days or more and this is a city you won't get bored of so stay as long as you can!
11. Check If Breakfast is Included
Another secret is to find out the breakfast policy. Some hotels offer free breakfasts while others charge extra. Although this may seem like a small fee, you can still save a significant amount with a free breakfast over the duration of your stay.
Whatever type of New York accommodation you are looking for, hopefully our tips will help you find somewhere cheap to stay. Remember to research ahead of time so you can place yourself in the best location for the best price. Now go enjoy this amazing city for yourself.