I have loved all of my recent travels, but my trip to New York was one that I was especially excited for. I hadn’t been to the city in years and never as an adult who got to actually decide what I wanted to see and what I wanted to do. Even though I have never had some crazy desire to live in New York like some do, it’s hard to deny the draw of such a spectacular city.
One of the things that I kept in mind the entire time I was planning for the trip was that New York is not exactly a budget friendly city. So, here’s how I prepped to get the most bang for my buck…
Find the cheapest flight you can to get yourself to the city. If you are able to, be as flexible as possible with your flight. Leave ridiculously early in the morning or come back crazy late at night. Don’t be picky about which airport you fly in and out of and so on. Also look into flying out of airports that are within driving distance to you, but may not be the closest. I ended up flying out of Nashville instead of Memphis because it was almost $200 cheaper. Basically, skimp on the flight so you have more funds for the actual trip.
Plan activities ahead. Now, this might not save you a crazy amount of money, but it can help spread out costs. If you know you want to go to a Broadway show or a Yankees game, spread out buying those tickets in the weeks or months leading up to your trip. I was able to get a great price on Broadway tickets because I purchased them shortly after I booked my flight, rather than waiting.
Find free things to do. I will be talking more about these in a later post, but there are plenty of free things to do in the city. Everything from window shopping on 5th Ave. To strolling through Central Park is free and can entertain you for hours. Take advantage of those so you can spend money on other things.
Plan out your meals. I always try to not eat all of my meals out when I am traveling. I normally run to a local grocery store once I get there an grab breakfast food, snacks and sandwich ingredients, so I am able to make a couple meals on my own. From there, I will decide on a couple of restaurants that I want to visit. I tend do a bit of research beforehand to make sure the places I am visiting are budget conscious.
Another way you can ensure you are not overspending while visiting New York is to figure out the transportation situation. Renting or driving a car in the city is never something that I was wanting to do and never have. Here are my (few) tips on getting around while in New York…
Get an unlimited Subway pass. I didn’t do this a regretted it because I ended up spending way more than I would have. If you are going to be in the city for more than five days, this is the way to go. You can get anywhere you need to on the Subway and it will save you money not taking cabs or Uber everywhere. There is a handy toll calculator here.
Download the Subway app. The app has full maps of all of the lines, all of the schedules and will help you figure out the best route to take to get certain places. If you have never used the Subway before, I highly recommend downloading this. I would have for sure gotten lost without it… Links to all of the Subway apps are listed on their website.
Do some research on New Jersey Transit and the Upstate Line. If you are flying into Newark or want to get out of the city during your stay, this is a must. I did fly into Newark and therefore had to take a train into Manhattan before I could to take the Subway to meet up with my friend. If you need to do the same, make sure you understand the routes and fee structure (there are extra fees coming into or leaving the airport). You can find helpful information here on using New Jersey transit. Or using the Metro-North lines here and here.
Use cabs or Uber sparingly. I strongly recommend using the subway to get around the city, as it is cheap and really doesn’t take long to get from place to place. There will be times the Subway is just not the best option and you need to take a cab. I managed to only use Uber once during my trip and not using it more saved me a ton of money and allowed me to not get stuck in traffic.
Obviously I am not a New York expert, but I would have loved these tips before I made my voyage to the Big Apple. Next week I am talking about how I planned activities and packed for the trip. Until next time, friends… CB