You can enjoy a fabulous vacation without spending a fortune. This is even true in notoriously expensive tourist destinations like New York City. Not only are there ways that you can travel to New York for less, but the city also has tons of low costs and affordable attraction for all, and they’re often a much better option than some of the overrated tourist traps around the city.
Here’s how to travel and visit New York on a dime. We’ll share a number of tips that can save you money no matter what you want to visit NYC or what you’d like to do there. A number of these tips could help you save money on your next trips, too.
Be Flexible on When You Travel
Avoid peak times when you travel, and you’ll save a lot of money. You’ll pay less for flights when it isn’t tourist season. Hotels will probably be less expensive as well. More importantly, you can hit major tourist attractions when there is less crowding. January and February are considered some of the cheapest months to book trips to New York, and June is the worst.
Know when are the best days to book flights to New York. Flights in the middle of the week will usually be lower than those on the weekend and Mondays. It is also recommended that you book your flight multiple weeks before your flight if you want to save more.
Take a Regional Airline
Regional airlines are often cheaper than bigger airlines, and they regularly offer sales on top of their already low prices. Better yet, regional airlines like Porter offer better comfort than the big airlines. They don’t have middle seats, and they give you plenty of legroom no matter where you sit. You can check in faster, and they have shorter lines overall. They don’t nickel and dime you for everything from snacks to pillows, and some regional airlines take things to the next level. For example, Porter offers free wine and beer along with snacks. Taking one of their flights is like taking a first-class trip on another airline. If you want to check out what kind of flights to New York they have to offer, check out their site at: https://www.flyporter.com/en-ca/book-flights/where-we-fly/usa/new-york.
Travel with Less
When you travel, consider travelling with less. This makes it easier to carry your own luggage, and that may eliminate tips for a porter. It will certainly save you money on luggage fees. If you can manage carry-on only, you also eliminate the risk of losing your luggage. This also makes it easier to walk or take public transit to and from your accommodations. And let’s be honest – you can probably manage with a lot less stuff than you’re thinking of packing.
Save on Local Activities
You may want to pick up a city tourist card. These passes give you admission to a number of local attractions. Just be sure to know what is covered and what isn’t, because you don’t want to be surprised that you have to pay to visit a popular attraction. Research free events going on when you’re in New York City. New York City is full of free museums, concerts and other performances.
Consider doing less than you initially planned on your vacation. If you don’t try to jam pack your itinerary, you have more time to spend at the places you like, and you’ll spend less overall on admission to various venues.
Prioritise memory-making activities like spending several hours at the Statue of Liberty or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you have money left over, then you can take a side trip or pick up souvenirs, or just spend a day relaxing in the park and enjoying the views from your balcony.
Rent a Place
You could save a fair bit of money by not staying at a hotel. You can rent someone’s spare bedroom or their entire home via a short-term rental site. This will give you everything you need as well as a place to sleep. It may give you access to a full kitchen, perfect for making your own meals.
A side benefit is that you can pick up food from the local grocery store and make what you want, and it is probably going to be nicer than a basic hotel! While you’re booking accommodations, ask the host if they’ll let you use their coffee maker. Now you just saved money on your morning coffee.
Serviced apartments are also an option you could consider, especially if you’re traveling as a group or with your family. These will offer you more privacy, and will also allow you to save on things like food while you’re in the city. And you’ll get much more bang for your buck as far as quality goes, and will have most of the services you’d get at a hotel.
Look for Ways to Save on Food
If you make your own coffee, you’ll save several dollars every time you do. For some, this is such a money saver that it is worth making sure the hotel or short-term rental host has a coffee maker before you book your stay. If you drink alcohol, pick it up at the duty-free shop or a liquor store.
If the place you’re staying at offers a free breakfast, eat it. You just cut your food budget by a third that day. Commit to making at least one meal a day yourself. This could be sandwiches you take while picnicking in Central Park, or making dinner at the hotel at the end of the day.
When you do decide to eat out, don’t eat in the touristy areas, as they charge more than the rest of the restaurants in town. You want to hit the local eateries instead; you’ll get more food for less money and get a taste of the real New York. However, prioritise what you splurge on. For example, budget for one or two really nice meals at Michelin-starred restaurants while eating at cheaper places the rest of the time.
Check Out Your Credit Card Points
A lot of us are racking up travel miles on our credit cards. This is the time to see if you can put them to work. Maybe you can get a free upgrade on your airline seating or access to the lounge if you can’t get a discount on your airfare. Perhaps you can get free passes to a museum or discounts at a local hotel. Your credit card points or travel miles may translate to free rides with Uber, too. That can save you the cost of a taxi or two.
Save on Local Travel Costs
Walk before you take the subway. Take the bus or subway before you hire a cab. This can make the hotel close to the attractions you want to visit worth paying a little extra for. Plan your itinerary to minimise travel time and travel costs.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy your vacation, and by prioritising what truly matters to you, you’ll save a lot while having the ability to indulge in little splurges that make the trip seem luxurious.