The ‘Big Apple’, or New York City, is one of the most famous cities in the United States of America. Known for its people, food, tourist attractions and cultural merging of different traditions, the city is also known for its expensive living standards, which is especially true for newcomers and travelers. So, here are some tips you can follow to enjoy the city and make sure you don’t turn out bankrupt.
January to March or July to August
New York’s off season begins after the holiday season that lasts till December – saving money has a better bet during this time as the city’s visitors considerably reduce. Spring, Fall and Christmas are the busiest seasons. As the demand reduces, so do the prices of goods. During this time, there are several promotions that last multiple weeks with great discount offers like the NYC Hotel Week, the Broadway Week and even the Restaurant Week.
Public Transportation is a Life Saver
The city is very well-connected through the public transportation system, due to which most New Yorkers don’t feel the need to buy or purchase cars. It is also quite affordable and will help in the agenda of saving money while in the city. There are Metro cards for various periods such as a week, which is a great purchase if you are visiting the city within this time. Remember, these cards cannot be used for anyone else and only you can use it. With this, you have unlimited access to subways and buses at any time for any number of times required.
For example, to get from the airport to the main city, taking a cab can be quite expensive, whichever airport you’re traveling from – instead stick to the public transit route that only involves slight inconvenience while figuring out where to go.
Also, walking through the city is a great option while ensuring that you get a better look at the city you wish to completely indulge in. A lot of cute shops, boutiques and restaurants are small and placed close together that might make you miss them if you travel too fast. If you are more of a cultural experience traveler, check out the various art galleries spread throughout and the artfully decorated bars and pubs. There are also many free walking tours that are organized around the city that you can take full advantage of. Museums and theatres sometimes even offer free tickets or some other discounted offers – like Broadway for Broke people.
Airbnb vs. Hotel
Hotels can be quite expensive, when targeted at the tourists. Instead, go for Airbnb options that will also ensure you have more experience with the locals and their culture. It is a safe and secure option and you will be received warmly into private rooms and apartments by welcoming hosts. With the right choice, you can almost halve your costs. Get locations that are nearer to the city center like Long Island City.
If you would still prefer the hotel experience, choose a suite-style hotel. Choosing a good one while travelling with a family makes sure that you have enough space per person and generous amenities like refrigerators and microwaves that can help in saving money for prepping food when not out for a meal.
Midtown vs. Downtown
Tourists have a common perception that it becomes easier to stay in central Manhattan, placing them at equal distance from most attractions. This is not exactly true as you would still have to travel quite a lot to visit most other places. Downtown, on the other hand, has a generally better image with many shops and restaurants fit to your ambience and requirements. Get some low-price discounts and visit many popular attractions to utilize the time.
Get the Food Truck experience
Restaurants are yet another expensive tourist experience; which is why food trucks are your best bet. New York is known for their food truck variety and ambience and you often get the best options for cheaper rates – for example, Halal Guys. If you have done enough research, you can also check out the budget restaurants and bars that ensure your total bill does not come out to be too expensive.
You can also choose to eat at home as much as possible – while it is important to experience the local food culture when traveling, most travelers’ greatest expenditures are concentrated on stays and food options. For the best experience, try to get one meal from outside and adjust everything else by yourself within a kitchen (get an Airbnb with a provision for one) or stick to cheap snacks.
Don’t miss Broadway, arguably New York’s finest tourist attraction – these tickets can, however, be expensive so make sure you get them at discounted rates. Otherwise, be prepared to dish out at least several hundred dollars for a reputed show. There are also last minute deals for these tickets that make sure you get them for as little as $20.
A water bottle
A simple tip like this can save you a lot of money – getting water bottles on the way when you get thirsty, which can be quite a lot if you wish to explore the city fully, can turn out to be very expensive even though it doesn’t seem like that when shelling out three or four dollars at a time. For free refills, you can always approach Starbucks or any other restaurant and they will do this for you.
Don’t exchange your currency
Even if you are from a foreign country, do not exchange your currency as everybody in the city accepts credit cards. This will save you from the unnecessary fees required for this exchange – the foreign transaction fee and the exchange rate fee. The added benefit to getting a travel credit card makes sure that when you spend one dollar, you always points in return that can add up to good rewards. There is no foreign transaction fees involved, either.