New York is one of my favorite cities to visit and it can be very expensive. When traveling, I am first in line for a four star hotel, but that is not always possible. I recently had to travel to New York for a photography conference. So with registration fees and seminar cost, sacrifices needed to be made. Plus, I wanted to take in some tourists’ activities, so this New York experience had to be done on a budget. I try to find my flight a couple months in advance of any trip. And I always seem to find the best deals on flights in the middle of the night, landing a roundtrip flight from Chicago to New York for about $148 on American Airlines. Since I added extra days to my visit, I decided my cost cutting measure would be the hotel. Being a natural adventurer, I decided to stay at the Westway Hotel & Hostel. What in the world is a hostel? The simplest description would probably be a dorm room. I am talking bunk beds, four people in a room, shared bathroom, nothing fancy, but it’s a clean place to lay your head with a very active M60 bus route.
Once situated in my hostel, I needed to figure out how to get around. With the hostel being situated in Queens, cabbing it everywhere would definitely cut into my cost saving measures, so I bought a seven day Metrocard for $29. I was able to access all the buses and trains needed for getting about the big apple without killing my wallet.
When on the road, figuring out what to eat can be a challenge. I love a good burger, but I can’t do fast food everyday, I am too old for that and my body ain’t having it. Going out to eat seven days in a row can be toxic for your credit card. Using apps from Groupon and ABC Eats, I was able to find a variety of restaurants in different neighborhoods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that were both tasty and clean. I highly suggest checking out Yelp reviews before purchasing to make sure you fully enjoy your meals. The cost saving measure added to my tourists experience, taking me into areas like Chelsea, Midtown, Brooklyn, Central Park, and Queens. When I wasn’t trying out different restaurants, I stored up on snacks at Rite Aid. While walking through local neighborhoods, I had a chance to stop at local fruit and vegetable markets. I got to see New York and enjoy my time away at places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Times Square, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Did I get to do everything I wanted to do, absolutely not, but man, I got a good start.
I considered purchasing the $130 (2) day New York Pass. This would get you into attractions like: NBC Studio Tour, Museum of Modern Art, Empire State Building, and more. They also offer 1 day, 3 day, and 7 day passes. It is definitely a money saver if you are trying to see multiple attractions. Personally, I just paid for the activities I wanted to attend. You can have the best laid plans but I like to play things by ear, and I would be more than annoyed to make the investment and not take full advantage of the pass. All and all, it is possible to do a New York weekend for less than $500 if you plan right.