If you’re like me, you probably don’t have tons of money to go travel, but still want to see as much of the world as possible. Now, I don’t have all the answers when it comes to traveling, so this is just what I did and how I saved money on going to a very expensive city.
I bought my tickets to New York at the start of the year when ticket prices tend to drop (about a week after New Years), and I bought a roundtrip ticket to New York for $200.
Where to Stay:
If you have friends in New York, I highly recommend staying with them, obviously. If you don’t, a great option is Airbnb or Couchsurfing. You meet great people who tend to know the city well and can give you great ideas of where to go, eat, and walk. The best advice I can give for both is to research, research, research. Make sure they have photos, lots of recommendations, and email them to make sure you don’t get a bad vibe from them! Trust your gut and be safe. Remember, if you do agree to do Airbnb or Couchsurf, meet in a public place. You always have the option to say no.
However, if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of staying with a stranger, here is a list of fairly cheap places to rest your head for the night. . .or day:
The Bowery House // Average nightly stay is around $55 with free wifi (which is definitely the most important thing to have in your hostel). A bar is located downstairs and a nice rooftop terrace that has incredible views of the city.
The Local NYC // Average nightly stay is around $45 with free wifi, book exchange, laundry room, and board games. This hostel is very “Brooklyn” with great wood tables, exposed brick, and plaid everywhere.
City Rooms // Average nightly stay is around $120 (much higher than the hostels, but you get your own room!) Centrally located with unique doodles painted on the walls of each room, City Hotels is a nice place to stay if you’re on a budget.
The Jane Hotel // Average nightly stay is around $90. If Wes Anderson’s film “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was real, The Jane would be it. The interior is what I picture hotels used to look like before they became “hip” and modernized. The hotel is located right next to the Hudson and close to subway stops to get you anywhere you need in New York.
If you’re going to be staying for close to a week, I recommend getting the 7 day MetroCard for $30. The card has unlimited rides for those 7 days on any subway and bus in New York.
Places to Eat
Chelsea Market // Not only does Chelsea Market have great clothing and book stores, but they have an array of foods for you to try (and a lot of the places have samples that you can scour!). I recommend Fat Witch Bakery for their brownies.
Shake Shack // Oh, how I love me some Shake Shack. You can get a nice double burger and fries for around $10. However, shell out that extra $5 for a shake. You need one.
Murray’s Cheese Bar // My body hated me after eating the largest grilled cheese sandwich at Murray’s, but it’s worth it. I recommend the Murray Melt with a side of tomato soup for $12.
When I was staying with a friend in Red Hook, we were starving and ran down to her local convenient store at the corner of her street. With boxes of cereal and kale chips in hand, we ordered an Everything Bagel with ham, cheese, turkey, lettuce, tomato, onions, and mustard toasted. It was $3! Look out for those kind of deals. They’re usually the best ones.
A lot of people don’t talk about the free things that you can do while you’re in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
The High Line // The High Line used to be an old subway track that New York revamped with gardens, flowers, and restaurants. The views along the Line are incredible and worth climbing the steep steps to the top!
Central Park// This is an obvious one. You can be like me and pretend you’re in “Friends” and do the handclap by the water fountains.
Brooklyn Brewery // Free tours on Saturday and Sunday at Brooklyn Brewery. It’s in such a hip part of Brooklyn that you’ll never want to leave.
Bronx Zoo // On Wednesdays, entry is “pay what you want” and if you like zoos, it’s supposed to be a good one.
Museum of Modern Art // On Fridays, from 4-8pm, entrance to the museum is free. I highly recommend going early as it is bound to get packed!
Walking Tours // There are also a lot of free walking tours you can take to see the city. I love taking walking tours as they usually have interesting information on the city and I’ve always had a blast meeting people on the tours!
I hope this has been somewhat, if at all, helpful if you’re looking to travel to New York, but don’t have tons of money! I went for four days, and including airfare, food, and transport, spent $600.