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A trip to New York City may seem like an expensive holiday but it doesn’t have to be. We have came up with ideas for a budget trip in New York. This will help you to know the best ways to visit to New York as cheap as possible. Please note that even though this will help you, depending on what you want to do in NYC will all determine if you have a cheaper or more expensive holiday. When you’re going to travel to New York, it is worth taking the time to create a list of your budget per day.
Table of Contents
Shop Around For Flights
It all starts with the flights! Finding the best deals on flight can be hard if you don’t know where to look, especially if its a last minute holiday. If you’re planning in advance you will find cheaper flights especially on off peak times to visit. The best thing about visiting a city if that no matter when you go its never really off peak. All year round you can visit a city like New York. It is always best to look at off peak times between January – March. This way you will be able to get the cheaper flights. There are a few requirements to enable you to enter the US. Check out these essential tips for flying from Europe to the US to help guide you on your way.
We’ve shared a handy little guide below to show you the cheapest months to fly to New York City. Wayaway is a great site to book your flights because they will offer you great prices for your flights. If you also wanted to join their membership, you will get cashback when you book your flights too! Winner winner!
One of the best purchases we made was the GoCity sightseeing pass. With the pass, we got to have 4 days to see and do as much as we wanted. This included everything from the Empire State Building to seeing the Statue of Liberty the list truly is endless. This is how you can easily spend a week in New York on a budget.
You have the option to choose between two different passes. The Explorer Pass allows you to choose how many specific sights that you want to see. Alternatively, you can get the All Inclusive Pass that gives you a choice of how many days you want the pass for. This is a cheap way to visit NYC because you will be saving a lot of money by using these passes. If you want to visit as many attractions as possible and make the most of your time then we really recommend this pass.
We went for the All Inclusive Pass and had 4 days where we were able to see plenty of the city. You can choose up to 10 days with this pass. For the length of time we were in New York City, 4 days was perfect for us. We took full advantage of the pass and still left a few days to do other things we wanted to do.
Optimising Your Time
The thing with NYC is that it has so much to offer from sightseeing in Manhattan to visiting Brooklyn. NYC is full of things to do even if you are on a budget trip. One thing you don’t want to do is miss out because you had one too many the night before. Nothing worse than ending up in bed all day with a hangover. We’re not saying don’t enjoy yourself but it’s important to remember that when visiting NYC. For most people, it’ll be a one time trip and you’ll want to make the most of it.
This is the city that never sleeps and you will always have something you’ll want to do. We would advise making a list of things that you want to see and do before you arrive. Once you arrive there, you can have a clear plan in your head on how to go about it. This can be anything from seeing a show on Broadway to eating a cake from Carlo’s Bakery.
No matter what, you’ll need to have a sit down and think of what you want to do. Otherwise you may end up finding yourself overwhelmed and nothing planned for the day. You don’t need to follow the list like an itinerary but it will help you narrow it down. This means that when you get there, you have a rough idea and save yourself time. Also, if you swap things out it’s fine! At least this way you can have some kind of idea of what you’ll get up too.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Subway
The subway is an amazing way to get around the city. Some people may find it a bit off putting to use the subway in particular at night. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as you would think. It’s a fast, cheap way to get around and it’s also a funny place to be at times. You can meet some amount of characters on a subway all just trying to get to their destination. The best thing is that the subway isn’t expensive either! With how expensive everything else is in NYC, its a nice change of pace. No matter where you want to go within the area of New York the subway has got you. If you’re lucky you’ll get some entertainment on your way to your destination.
Food and Drink
New York is known for alot of things but the food has to be up there as one of the biggest. From having a New York bagel for breakfast to having a few slices of some of the best pizza in the world. One way we found to keep the expenses down was by having street food instead of going out for dinner in a restaurant. New York is an expensive city so this is one of the best ways to have a cheap.
One thing we will say is that if you’re looking for a good hotdog vendor that is not over priced you’ll be best to look out in Manhattan. You’ll find hotdogs for around $2 which is perfect and they taste amazing! You’ll also find places doing 99 cents pizza slices! When we found this we were a bit sceptical at first but when we tried it the pizza was so nice. NYC really does do some of the best pizza because if that is how 99 cents pizza tastes like then the more expensive ones must be better. There are so many different deals like this throughout NYC you just need to hunt them down.
When it comes to having a night out, once again Manhattan is an expensive area. We did manage to find some bars that were very cool and cheap. One bar in particular, Rudy’s Bar, offers beers for $3 and free hotdogs when you purchase alcohol there. If you’re wanting to find a cheap night out though you need to push out of the Manhattan area. NYC is a crazy, beautiful city and a night out here is amazing. If you’re trying to do it on a budget you’ll need to really do some hunting around for the best and cheapest places to go out. We would recommend to stay with the bars and stay away from the club if you want it to be cheaper. Also, try to have a couple drinks at your hotel before going out to save yourself a bit of money.
Planning Your Visits
Going somewhere like New York City is something you have to plan. Do all your research before hand and understand how expensive things can be is very important. Once you done some research you’ll have an idea of what you would like to do in the city. We would recommend making a list of everything so you can have some kind of idea of what you’ll get up to.
We don’t feel that you need to make a full itinerary when going somewhere like NYC since there is so many different things to do. You may find yourself wanting to change things up or you may sleep in one day and feel bad because you didn’t do the thing you were meant to in the morning. For this reason we think its best to just have a small list of some of the things you want to do and just go from there.
When you’re planning your time in New York City, make sure you leave some time to head off for some shopping. You can’t return home without at least one souvenir for yourself! New York is one of the best cities for shopping so you don’t want to miss out on that too. You can find some of the best places to shop in NYC on a budget here!
Use the Hop On Hop Off Bus
The hop on hop off bus is a really cool way to get around the city. On a nice day you can sit on the top deck and listen to the tour guide through earphones while you go around the city. The best part of the hop on hop off bus is the fact that once you buy a day ticket the on and off bus is exactly as it sounds. You can get on and off as much as you want all day throughout the city.
You can also get this pass through the Go City sightseeing passes that we have spoken about. If you were able to get the passes, you won’t need to pay for your day ticket and the bus will take you to many off the areas where there are other attractions that you wanted to see. One thing we did notice is that the Go City Pass only allows you to use the bus one time so make the most of it and use it for when you have to travel a bit further out. We used the bus to take us to Brooklyn which saved us plenty of time and we also stopped off in Soho for a little wander. You can still pay for other day tickets if you wish it is just the Go City Pass is a one time thing.
There’s so many different things you can do for free within the city. You could spend the day in Central Park where you will be able to spend plenty of time. There are so many different sights to see within the park itself you will be spoilt for choice. You can also take a trip over to the iconic Brooklyn Bridge! This has some of the best views of the city. Not only that but you will be able to take a walk over to Brooklyn itself. If there are any tv shows or a movie that you like that are set there you can go looking for the place in real life.
We done exactly that by using our Go City Pass to obtain a day pass on the Hop On Hop Off bus tour. The bridge is a bit out of the way but once we got there is was just a beautiful walk over the bridge with awesome views. Once we got a few photos (maybe a bit more than a few), we found ourselves in Brooklyn. We had one goal: looking for one of our favourite program’s iconic building which is the Brooklyn 99 precinct building.
We looked it up and found out that is was a real police station so sadly we couldnt go inside without looking suspicious. However, we got plenty of photos outside it. This may not sound like much but for us it was amazing since this is a program that we first started to bond over in our relationship. To say we got to see it together was a memory we will share forever. Small things like this are a great way to spend the day. The best part about it is that it’s free! We didn’t need to worry about spending a stupid amount of money for a few photos. Plus, we got to have an adventure walking around trying to find it. We also created our own mini bar crawl on the way so we could stop off.
Spending a Day at Central Park
When you say park in Britain most people will think of a play park where kids can play on swings. Central park is MASSIVE with 840 acres. Trust us it takes a while to walk through and see everything. In this park you have so many things you can do and see such as the zoo, bow bridge, The Bethesda Terrace and Bethesda Fountain. All of these are cool places to get photos and to just spend the day exploring around the different sights. The best part about central park is in Liam’s opinion the hot dog vendors. He is ALWAYS thinking about food! There was one in particular that was towards the top of the park that Liam swears was the best hotdog in NYC. He still talks about it to this day “it was the mustard that made it so good”.
Making Your Own Walking Tour
NYC is an expensive place but that does not mean you always need to spend money. Whilst we were there Amy did say that she wanted to do a Gossip Girl tour. We had a look and felt like even though the real tour would’ve been fun we could do it ourselves. Also the actual tour cost $99 for the standard tour and $125 for the normal tour. We looked up all the places and set them out on Google Maps so we ended up doing our own tour. It took an insane amount of planning but it really was worth it!
We had so many stops set up on our maps that we had to write them all onto our notes in our phones to keep track. As we walked to them all it took us the whole day! We got to stop off for food and drink on the way and also got to enjoy the city as a whole and not just focus on the tour.
When we got to the Plaza Hotel, we were lucky to meet the manager that took us on a private tour around the building. He showed us where everything took place and Amy was in her absolute element. It was really nice of him to take this time with us and offer us a secret Gossip Girl tour inside the Plaza. It was completely free but we left him a tip because he didn’t have to do that for us. This is a great way to to spend a day in the city as you get to see so much. We found that we were able to tick off other things on our list all while spending little money.
No matter what, during your visit to NYC you can have a cheaper time then you think. Don’t feel that you need to save for a long time to have this holiday. You can go over with just a little bit of money. You just need to be a bit smarter and find the best deals. We hope that this list will help you when you are looking for a cheaper getaway to NYC if you’re needing some inspiration about what to do and see in NYC then check out our article on the top 7 tourist attractions to visit when you’re in New York City.