This blog post was updated on May 12, 2020.
New York City is not often considered a budget destination. Between food costs, hotel room rates and airfare, the city that never sleeps also always seems to never stop the charges for travelers. If you are headed to New York City or just mulling over a future trip, here are a few spending cuts that can help free up some breathing room in your travel budget.
Transportation Cuts–Take The Subway and Walk Instead of Cabs
By utilizing the subway and your own feet for transportation, New York can be much more affordable to get around. Consider purchasing a MetroCard. The New York City subway might seem daunting to visitors, but it is easy enough to figure out if you have a map and a general sense of where you want to go. One ticket, one way will cost under $3. If you plan on traveling around New York a great deal, you can select a card that costs more money but lends more rides. For example, MetroCard offers a 7-day unlimited ticket for $29. A cab on the other hand can be $20 with tip to travel just 15 minutes across the city.
Hotel Cuts—Avoid Booking Around Events
If you have some flexibility in when you will travel to New York, look at what is going on in the city for your selected dates. If it is Fashion Week or some other major event, you will find hotel prices to be much more than a few weeks later. Aside from selecting a hotel based on reviews and recommendations, you should also select your hotel stay around slow times in the city. While this can be hard to find, major events always cause the rates to go up.
Airfare Cuts—Book Early
One of the mistakes I made on a recent visit to New York City was waiting around to book my airfare. Before you even start looking at flights, be sure you know exactly when you want to go. That way when you find the cheaper fare earlier, you will be ready to book. My flight was $100 more just a week closer to my departure date. Had I booked it a week prior, I would have saved that cash. New York City airfare can be tricky as there are lots of airports to fly into with different prices behind their tickets. If you can, book your flight to New York as early as possible for some of the best deals. Procrastinators can look for special sales when they spring up but you will save the most by booking well before your departure date.
City View Cuts—Skip The Expensive City View Tickets For Freebies
The Empire State Buildings charges at minimum $25 per person to take in the city views. Top of the Rock charges the same per adult ticket. These entrances fees can seem steep for such city views. If you want to save on those hefty city view admission costs, there are several other options in New York for a good view. If you want to see the city on the water, the Staten Island Ferry runs between Lower Manhattan and Staten Island, lending fine views of the city at no cost. The High Line, a public park built on the historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s west side also provides travelers with a good view of the city. If you would prefer to get something out of your city view, try frequenting one of New York’s many rooftop bars where the admission price is slightly less in cocktail form.
Food Cuts—Avoid Multiple Sit-Down Meals A Day
If you were to have a sit down breakfast, lunch and dinner in New York, your wallet would greatly suffer. While part of the New York experience comes through food, try to limit your sit-down breakfasts and lunches. You can grab a slice of pizza for a few dollars, rather than sitting down for one for $20. Food trucks also present less expensive meals than restaurants in New York City.
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