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New York is one of the more expensive cities in the world to visit. The notoriously expensive hotel rooms, transatlantic flights and high priced tours can quickly deplete budgets. However, New York is also one of those cities that is very open to visitors. Every corner feels like a film set, some of the best food is plentiful and cheap and famous sights are everywhere. If you’re planning a 4 night New York city break then it’s simple to make it more affordable.
For the best start to your New York city break make sure you get the best deal on flights. Price comparison websites offer some great cut prices. However, it’s also worth looking at airline websites. In recognition of the need to be competitive, many airlines now ensure the best deals are on their own sites. Buy your flights during a flight sale if possible or look for heavily discounted options. Factors such as the day and time that you fly and whether you have any stopovers can all bring prices down. Make sure you keep clearing the cookies on your computer as you search. Many websites use this to note if you return to the same search and will boost the price up every time to make the need to purchase more urgent!
There’s no doubt that New York doesn’t offer great deals on hotel accommodation. Even the well-known hotel rooms are notoriously small and expensive. AirBnB is one of the best ways to enjoy the city and pay less for your stay. The site works by allowing you to rent someone’s home (or a room in it) and is much cheaper than a hotel. Prices can be as low as $20 a night. Plus, you have the advantage of feeling like a real New Yorker during your trip. There are also many great hostels in New York. ‘Five Star’ hostels such as The New York Loft Hostel are hip and luxurious but priced at just $45 a night. Location pays a big part in how much you pay for your accommodation. If you’re aiming for Lower Manhattan then expect to pay more. However, Brooklyn, Queens or Brighton Beach are all much cheaper.
Once you’re in New York, the cheapest way to get around by far is the subway. Each ride costs around $3 ($2.75 if you buy multiple rides together). The city also has its own equivalent of London’d “Boris Bikes”. Citi Bike, the on-street cycle hire scheme, costs $9.95 for 24-hour access. There are also plenty of free ways to get around the city, including the ferries. The Staten Island Ferry is still free and provides amazing views of Manhattan, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. For $4 you can take the East River ferry, which goes from Manhattan to Brooklyn. New York also has its own Uber service, making taxis much cheaper for late nights.
Eating in New York is one of the big pleasures of a visit. From the hot dog stands, to the cupcake shops, the pretzel vendors and the hot salt beef, all the iconic tastes are here. Some of the best food comes from the cheapest places. Brooklyn sandwich shops, China Town noodle bars and the numerous burger joints make it easy to eat well for around $4. New York also has some fantastic, cheap vegetarian and vegan restaurants – head to Greenwich Village for the best of these. If you’re drinking in New York then be warned that cocktails and wine are very expensive. However, local beers and brews offer tipples at a much cheaper price.
Walking around the city is one of the best ways to sightsee in New York. Many of the most iconic sights, from Central Park, to Fifth Avenue are free to explore on foot. New York also has plenty of freebies. The Museum of Modern Art has free entry between 4pm and 8pm on a Friday. There are also free events and tours all over the city, such as the Chelsea Brewing Company microbrewery tour and Saturday night summer concerts in Prospect Park. The High Line, Brooklyn Bridge, Governor’s Island and the New York Public Library are all free to visit. If you want to see a Broadway show then buy a same day ticket, as these are always heavily discounted. For discounts on major attractions, such as the Empire State Building, the Guggenheim and 9/11 Memorial, sign up for a city pass scheme – these are easily searched online and offer discounts up to 40%.
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read about Alex Hartley
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