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New York City on the Cheap

By Edited Dec 20, 2013 0 0

New York City View from Staten Island Ferry

You selected your vacation destination, and now the fun begins with researching flights, hotels, and all the fine points that will make your vacation both fun and memorable, without putting a major dent in your finances. My goal is to take vacation without paying for it months after the trip is over. Here are my tips and tricks on making this happen.


Let’s start with modes of travel. How do you plan on getting to New York City? Unless you live on the East Coast, or have plenty of time for train or automobile travel, I am guessing you want to fly.

There are plenty of deals to be had with a little research and keeping your eye out for special packages. When I begin my flight planning, I start with Expedia.com or Orbitz.com to get a general idea of ticket prices. I learned from experience that these sites charge you a nominal fee for booking with them. To avoid that extra charge I go to the airline with the best price and book directly through them.

Other options are Southwest Airlines, or Jet Blue. Sometimes these airlines come out with promotions that make the ticket price extremely attractive.

Finally, you can use frequent flier miles. If you’ve ever booked with miles, you know this one can be tricky getting a reasonable flight time, and on the day you actually want to travel. If you can book several months ahead of time, using frequent flier miles should be a breeze, and inexpensive to boot.


New York City Taxi

Where will you stay when you arrive in the Big Apple? You have a lot of options that range the spectrum of costs.


My favorite website to find inexpensive hotels is Priceline.com, bar none. With the Name your Own Price feature, you are free to bid as high or low as you’re willing to go. The beauty of Name your Own Price is if you have several weeks before your trip, you can try to low-ball a bid, and have a decent enough cushion in case your bet isn’t accepted. I generally start by bidding low and work my way up to a price within my budget.


Hostels aren’t for college students anymore. Hostelworld.com offers accommodations world-wide. They’re clean and affordable. In my opinion, the best part of staying at a hostel is the ease of meeting other fellow travellers. This is a bonus especially if you are travelling solo. Depending on the facility, other perks include laundry facilities, free internet, and use of kitchen.


Air Bed and Breakfast connects people who have space in their private home to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay. If this doesn’t sound appealing, believe me, I felt a little squeamish about sleeping in someone else’s space too. But the value Air Bed and Breakfast provides far exceeds any initial awkwardness. Of course, safety is always an upmost priority. If it doesn’t sound right, or feel right, it probably isn’t.

Getting Around Town

The New York public transportation system is phenomenal. It’s affordable, practical and convenient. If your travels have you in the City for or a week or so, and you’re anticipating a lot of zipping around town, the 7-day MetroCard is a great deal. For $30 you get an unlimited number of subway and bus rides.

Travelling Light

I mention this because travelling light equals freedom. Consider the following scenario: You found an inexpensive hotel that requires you take 2 subways, and a half mile walk. It doesn’t sound too bad, right? But what if you’re hauling a 50lb bag?

With travel restrictions on the amount of checked luggage you’re allowed on flights, it makes sense to check out travelling light. Who knows... you may end up loving it.



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