You Can Visit and See The Best of New York On a Budget
I thought I would share our experience and how we were able to see the Best of New York City on a Budget. One place I have been waiting to visit for years was New York City and just last month my wife and I made that happen!
Living on the west coast of Canada and with the lousy exchange rate for our dollar, we had to come up with a plan to make our one week visit affordable and without missing out on any of the major highlights the city has to offer. So prior to traveling, I got busy searching on the computer for helpful travel tips and suggestions from those living in the city and / or who have visited previously.
Travel related forums and websites such as TripAdvisor can be a great resource to get you started planning a vacation or business trip.
Affordable New York Travel
Below, are a few of things we did to help make our visit very affordable to the Big Apple and perhaps may be of help to you if and when you may be visiting this extraordinary and amazing city in New York State.
We quickly found out when searching for accommodation that New York is an incredibly expensive place to stay. If you have plans of staying in Manhattan in a hotel, then you better be prepared to pay a pretty hefty price! After a brief look at some of the major travel bookings websites for hotels, I quickly made the decision to try out Airbnb, and what a great choice that turned out to be!
If you haven’t heard of this global and highly successful company and website for accommodation, then check out my recent article on Airbnb. This is a great success story started by a few young entrepreneurs who have turned a unique idea into a huge global enterprise around the world.
Without a doubt, this is an excellent alternative to pricey hotel accommodation and a great way to meet locals in the city you are visiting. You have options to rent rooms of all types in private dwellings to actual entire house rentals. We stayed with a lovely family in Manhattan with our own private large bedroom and private bath at a fraction of the price of a hotel room.
Accommodation in New York City will be your biggest expense!
Getting around New York City is easy and very affordable using the public transit system. Getting to and from the two major airports is a snap and moving most anywhere around the city can be done easily using the New York Metro Transit Authority. There are a number of options for you to help save money depending on the length of stay in the city.
First and foremost is to purchase a Metro Pass for $1 for your first trip. If you do plan on using the transit and subway system a lot, then an unlimited 7 day pass is a great choice. You do have options to purchase other less amounts for savings reductions as well. Basically you just keep reloading your pass at kiosks in subway stations and travel away!
Using the subway and transit system the first few times can be overwhelming, but don’t be afraid to ask for directions and help from the locals. As well at many major subway stations there are attendants on duty that will gladly assist you. Once you get started and use the system a couple of times, it’s a great affordable choice for getting anywhere easily!
For more detailed information on the MetroCard, I have listed MTA’s official website below for your convenience.
New York Tours and Attractions
There are so many fabulous tours, attractions and sites to see in this magnificent city. We had just 5 full days to try to see everything and on a tight budget as well. There a few excellent money saving options that are definitely worth taking a closer look at and that we used during our visit, saving a ton of money!
We chose the New York Pass which had come highly recommended from friends who previously visited the city. This was a wonderful way to see many of the major attractions at greatly reduced prices and all with a swipe of your pass! After using this pass, I can’t believe why more major cities around the globe are not using this method for visitors to their city.
In a nutshell, you can purchase a one day or multiple day pass which gives you access, in our case, to over 80 amazing and most popular attractions in the city. I purchased ours online prior to leaving home, printed out our receipt and then upon arrival, attended one of their convenient offices where we were given a New York Pass Credit Card to use for admission to the many attractions.
You never have to worry about money and paying for each attraction and in many cases, you get priority entry to some of the major attractions as well. The savings are excellent and a convenient way to see the city.
Our pass included access to the Grayline Hop On / Hop Off Bus and Ferry, which I highly recommend, not just in New York but to any major city you may be visiting for the first time.
I have listed their official website below for your convenience where you can access much more detailed information on prices, tours and attractions included and on line purchase and limited time specials as well.
A few major attractions not to be missed are …
- Times Square – at least once a night to experience the neon signs and people
- Empire State Building – A fabulous view from the 86th floor
- Statue of Liberty and Battery Park
- 911 Museum
- Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
- Grand Central Terminal
- Intrepid Aircraft Carrier and Submarine
- New York Yankees Baseball Game
- High Line Walkway
- Central Park
You can virtually eat anywhere in the world when in New York City! One of the highlights certainly includes enjoying the huge variety of food in this multi-cultural city. Yes, you can eat well on a tight budget in most parts of the city!
One of the great advantages of staying with a family residing in the city is finding out where some of these excellent and affordable dining establishments are, and we did just that. There’s no need to dine in expensive restaurants unless your heart desires.
From hotdog and hot pretzel carts on most every corner, to grocery deli shops in every block, the choice is endless. We found ourselves many times, entering the local grocery and purchasing healthy snacks to take along and enjoy while riding the ferry or hop on / hop off buses. The choices are endless and you will be delighted with the variety.
Below, are just a couple of favorites during our stay that offered delicious food at very affordable prices and with a little history thrown in to boot!
With an amazing introductory special I grabbed with Alaska Airlines from Seattle to JFK Airport, our week in New York City was an experience not soon to forget and one that was surprisingly affordable as well. So you can visit the Big Apple without costing you an arm and a leg and I definitely recommended seeing this massive concrete jungle at least once in your lifetime!
Be sure to drop by again as I begin to post photos, videos and much more of our experiences we enjoyed around the city!
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