New York City is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world and the Big Apple certainly delivers on fun, entertainment and sights to explore. With iconic tourist favorites like the Statue of Liberty, The Brooklyn Bridge, The Empire State Building, Central Park, Broadway, and Times Square, there is never a shortage of things to see and things to do especially for photography buffs like Sandy Petrocelli who love taking beautiful pictures of iconic attractions.
But New York is also recognized as one of the most expensive cities to visit with everything from hotels, to transportation to even a bottle of water costing more than just about anyplace else. So how can someone who does not make a CEO salary hope to vacation in the city? The truth is that if you do a few things before and while you are in NY, you can enjoy the city and consider yourself a budget traveler as well. Here is a guideline for you to follow to get you to and around New York on the cheap.
Do a Travel Budget in Advance
Take an evening and create a complete budget for your trip. Detail the cost of travel including air travel, accommodations, meals, entertainment, and souvenirs you might want to purchase. Compare your thought with actual prices and plan to use every resource you can find to get you within your budget. This will give you a great idea of what to expect the trip to cost. Following what is written here to save yourself money because you are on a budget. When you are done, leave yourself a contingency budget of 5%.
Go Off Season – Typically New York is popular as a tourist destination all year round but most popular from late Spring to early Fall. At other times there will be vacancies in even the most popular hotels. If you plan to visit outside of peak times and stay at less popular hotels you can expect to find deals that are up to 40% lower than peak. Another idea is to search AirBnB for accommodations. Do your research and you may have to dig but the deals are there. Also look online for any coupons hotels might be offering to fill their rooms during certain seasons. You can save a lot of money on your hotel stays by doing this.
The same is true with flights. Flying during less busy seasons can save you more than 50% on flights. Finally, for attractions in the city including the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Broadway, visiting them during the slow season will score you much cheaper tickets.
Take Alternative Options – When you visit the city, flying into Kennedy airport and staying in Manhattan will be the most convenient but also the most expensive options. Consider instead flying into Newark Airport which is only an hour from Manhattan as compared to the 40 from Kennedy. Also instead of staying in Manhattan consider another borough. Brooklyn is a short train or taxi ride from Manhattan and the prices are much cheaper for hotels and food there. Using these alternative locations allows you to enjoy the city but not pay premium for being there.
Keep in mind that even in New York, many things are available for a discount. This includes meals, concerts, and even local transportation, companies like Lyft operate there now allowing you to save on being driven. Plan to not use any company that will not give you a good discount and you will be surprised at how much you can save on a trip to the city that never sleeps.