#travel new york
How to Travel to New York City for Cheap
The NYC skyline is a great photo opportunity (Photo: NYC by Night image by Dolly Trauma from Fotolia.com )
New York, the largest city in the United States, is one of the most popular travel destinations in the country for both foreign and domestic tourists. The prices for Broadway shows, hotels, food, tourist attractions, and the city s legendary shopping add up over the course of a trip, and many travelers find themselves leaving with a considerably lighter wallet. If you will be traveling on a budget, knowing where to save and where to splurge can allow you to experience all that New York has to offer without breaking the bank.
Save on accommodation. For most travelers, hotels represents a large chunk of a New York trip budget. It s also the area with the most potential for savings. Although the city s luxurious hotels are tempting, most tourists to the city do not spend much time there. For a cheaper stay in New York, stay at a hostel, which tend to have cleaner facilities than the city s budget hotels and come with drastically lower price tags. The Big Apple Hostel near Times Square, for example, gets excellent reviews on TripAdvisor and Hostels.com, and has prices as low as $43 for a bunk bed and $65 per person for a private double (May 2010). For an even better value, consider a hostel in Brooklyn, which is quieter and a short train ride away from Manhattan. The New York Loft Hostel is highly rated and offers dorm beds for $30 and private twin rooms for $43 per person (May 2010). In comparison, standard hotels in Manhattan generally run at least $200 per night for a double room.
Eat for cheap. New York has no shortage of world-class restaurants–many of which come with high prices. For a cheap meal, head to one of the street vendors that are frequented by local executives on lunch breaks, NYU students, and everyone in between. New York Magazine ranks The Arepa Lady, located on Roosevelt Avenue near 78th Street as their top pick, calling her New York s most revered street vendor. If you are set on trying one of the finer restaurants in the city, go out for lunch when meals are cheaper. New York Magazine recommends Abraco on 86 E. 7th Street near First Avenue, which offers a three-course lunch for $15 (May 2010).
Check out the free events. There s always something going on in New York, and Time Out New York keeps a running list of free events that is updated daily. Events include concerts, comedy shows, book readings, lectures and more. The New York Show Tickets website also has a list of things to do that are free; check out the Resources section below. Another free option that gives you the chance to experience the energy and vitality of the city is to do a self-guided walking tour. Stroll through Central Park and walk down 5th Avenue and pop into the high-end shops to have a peek around. Sit on the steps at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and watch the city go by, or head to Times Square and watch the joy of people seeing the lights for the first time. Explore Chelsea or the West Village, and stroll across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. If you d like to get your 15 minutes of fame, head to a taping of the Today Show; according to the NYCGO website, you should go to the corner of 49th Street and Rockefeller Center. Arrive before 6 a.m. to increase your chances of getting on camera.
Travel cheaply. The easiest way to get around the city is the subway. As of May 2010, one ride is $2. If you ll be in town for five to seven days, a better deal is the seven-day unlimited ride MetroCard, which is $27 and lets you ride the subway as often as you d like; be aware that you can swipe the card only once every 18 minutes (this is to prevent the card from being used by multiple people).
Get budget tickets to Broadway shows. If you re planning to head to a Broadway show, skip the full-price tickets and find the cheap seats. The TKTS booth on Times Square offers tickets to various evening performances at up to 50 percent off. The booth opens at 3 p.m. on weekdays; get there early for the best selection. TKTS also has outlets on the South Street Seaport and in downtown Brooklyn, both of which sell same-day evening tickets and day-before matinee tickets. Alternatively, many Broadway theaters have ticket lotteries for front-row seats, standing room tickets, or student tickets. Most of these options require that you arrive at the box office two to three hours before the performance; call the office for your preferred show for details and tips. According to the New York Show Tickets website, the average cost of these deeply discounted tickets is $25.