The city that never sleeps is also a city known for being a money pit. With cocktails setting you back $15-$20 USD and the subway costing you a few dollars each trip, New York City can be a wallet’s enemy. Armed with the right knowledge and some handy tips and tricks, however, a trip to New York City doesn’t have to break the bank.
The first thing to consider when trying to plan a trip to New York City on a budget is the time of year for your visit. Avoid peak times and plan your visit for January or Febraury, the cheapest months to visit or even August is known for being a bit cheaper due to the hot weather.
When choosing accommodations, it may be cheaper to stay in a borough slightly away from Manhattan like Brooklyn or Queens, but you need to take into account the cost of traveling into the city each day, sometimes multiple times per day. If you are looking to explore a certain borough in particular, plan on staying in that borough to cut down on transportation costs.
Once you’ve decided on a location look for deals on hotels through popular booking sites like Priceline or Expedia. These sites will often have last minute or cheaper booking options. Airbnbs are becoming extremely popular in the city and often run significantly cheaper than hotels in the same areas. Airbnbs also allow you the opportunity to prepare your own food to save even more money on meals.
To plan your visit, group attractions by area. Jumping from one borough to the other is going to cost you in transportation expenses, if you plan to only visit one area of the city each day you can cut down on those in between travel costs.
For attractions, check on coupon sites like Groupon.com or LivingSocial.com for deals. Make sure to read the fine print of these coupons as many are time sensitive. There are a good number of free museums or attractions in New York City as well. Central park is free at all times and there are often street performers or shopping stands set up around the park. Some museums even offer free or discounted times, for example, the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) has a period on Friday where admission is free. Do your research ahead of time and plan around these discounted time frames to save significant dollars.
If you are ok with waiting until the last minute, Broadway shows can even be affordable. Many theaters will sell left over tickets a few hours prior to the show for significantly reduced prices. Discount sites like BroadwayBox.com or TKTS booths around the city may also have reduced price tickets.
When it comes to meals, New York City is chock full of street food options that are significantly cheaper than eating at posh restaurants and that offer an unlimited variety of dining options. You can spend your vacation basically eating your way around the world from Lebanese to Chinese to El Salvadorian; the street options are limitless.
A vacation to New York City doesn’t have to break the bank. With these simple tips you can save yourself hundreds of dollars and still enjoy all of the sights and attractions that make a trip to New York City appealing. Do your research ahead of time and plan things out in advance and you will be well on your way to an affordable trip to New York City.