New York City continues to top the bucket list of millions of globe trotters every year, and the craze doesn’t seem to be dying any sooner.
As per the latest NYC tourism statistics, a record increase to 65.2 million was witnessed in the number of travelers in 2018. Dubbed as the Big Apple in the early 1920s, the city has been a concrete jungle and nucleus of culture, culinary, clubbing, and shopping paradise for centuries by now.
Be a lone wolf, or accompany your family or friends, New York is a City worth exploring! Walk aimlessly on the streets, or spend oodles of money in fun, food, and frolic, the choices are unlimited for men, women and kids! However, this blog isn’t to glorify the city but to provide 8 winning tricks to have a budget-friendly vacation in New York.
Without taking much time of yours, let’s start off:
1. Plan, Plan & Plan
There are incredible options for people of all ages to know the City, up and close. From soaking in the breathtaking beauty, shopping your heart out, gorging on international cuisines, sipping the latest wine, dancing on the latest pop numbers to countless other entertaining activities.
You dream it, you have it in the city that never sleeps! Easier said than done! With so much on platter, things can get messy. Do the homework and make a list of things to do in New York City – hotels, restaurants, cafes, clubs, museums, shops, music, shows and many other sightseeing activities.
Seek recommendations from friends or search online to dig potent information to cut down on your essential expenses – accommodation, food, shopping and traveling around with your family or friends! But have some wiggle room in your budget. After all, you do not want to kill the fun! Right?
2. The Ideal Time To Travel
Hasty plans often fail, leaving your sulking. Yet the time of travel can be crucial to spoil the fun! For instance, Christmas has its unbeatable charm in the US that hundreds of travelers flock the city every year. But if tight on budget, avoid the peak season when the market is experiencing the frenzy.
From booking air tickets, hotel accommodations, food to many other trading activities will comparatively be expensive during the festive season.
Instead, make plans during off-seasons such as between Jan-March or July-August when you may not see an insane demand, and NYC tourism needs a boost! Play your cards well to save hefty money on overseas traveling.
3. Don’t Be A Lazy Bone
Most people don’t like waking up early, not at least during the vacation. Right? But if you start early, then chances are good that you can visit maximum number of places within your traveling schedule.
Not to forget, some of the places such as national parks are best visited in the early hours of the day to experience the serenity. You might be surprised but one of the most visited tourist destinations – Central Park – offers free Admission to tourists.
The city can be hopelessly chaotic that you would wish not to step outside on certain days. But if an early bird, you can easily enjoy the advantage of first-come-first-basis service to explore many NYC attractions such as Top of The Rock, 911 Memorial and Museum, to name a few.
Do you know The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) offers several different discounts including free admission? But for that, you have to visit Friday night from 4:00 to 8:00PM (known as UNIQLO Free Friday Nights). There are free walk walking tours as well; And kayaking tours on the river Hudson.
Phew ..the list is long, pull your socks for an experience of a lifetime. Do some google search to find if you get free or discounted entry into some of the popular places in the city. Alternatively, save some more bucks with affordable bus tours for sightseeing throughout the city.
4. Sightseeing Pass Is A Bonus
NYC is no cheap city! You got to pull the cards right to have fun! What about a sightseeing pass? It allows you FREE entry into more than 90 best tourist attractions in New York City. Instead of buying independent tickets, have the sightseeing passes at a comparatively cheaper price.
Typically, the pass allows unlimited sightseeing for 1, 2,3,5 or 7 days for first-time visitors as well as frequent travelers. Some of the major attractions include the Empire Building, One World Observatory, Circle Line Landmarks Cruise and many more.
There is a different price for adults and children tickets. Make advance bookings for the most frequently visited places to save your time and energy!
5. Subway Metro Card
For travelers who are holding the wallet tight, subway Metro Cards may fit your bill! If you’re in New York for a brief time, get yourself a single ride card ($3) with top-ups as needed.
Alternatively, you can have a 7-day Metro Card ($33) that’s ideal for tourists, especially if you are planning to hop around often. Make smart calculations to determine if topping single rides is cheaper or not than a week-long pass.
The subways run 24 hours and that too faster, even during the busy days. So, you do not have to make any adjustments in your traveling plans in the city.
6. Cheaper Parking
The vehicular struggle is real in New York wherein cars, bikes, buses or even people bump into you if you do not navigate well. It wouldn’t be unfair to call it a ‘nightmare’.
But then you can’t be staying put just because it’s mad traffic on the roads. Right? But there is a solution for tourists in NYC.
If you’re a frequent visitor, then buying a monthly parking pass is a wise move. Many parking garages offer hefty discounts to their loyal customers. See, if you can be the lucky one!
Find out the spots that offer free parking for limited hours or the rates are metered fairly depending on the total parking time. No extra or unreasonable charge.
You can download parking apps to find cheap rates anywhere near your anticipated location. But do that before stepping out of the home or hotel. If you are still hesitant to drive on your own, cabs are a good option but you may have to shell out extra unless traveling in the wee hours or late at night.
7. Lip-Smacking Food That Does Not Smack Your Pocket
New York City is no less than a paradise for food connoisseurs especially with some of the greatest Michellians star restaurants of the world.
Yet, no need to dole out mind-boggling money to satiate your food desires. You can easily find a local restaurant for regular yet appetizing meals in as little as $10.
Some of the best suggestions for cheap NYC restaurants include
- Tuna Melt at B&H Dairy
- Falafel at Oasis
- Nasi Lemak at Kopitiam
- The Biden at Sunny and Annie’s Gourmet Deli
- Steamed rice rolls at Joe’s Steam Rice Roll
- The Superiority Burger at Superiority Burger
- Roast pork mofongo at El Castillo de Jagua
You can check out incredible food variety under one roof at the Time Out Market New York. From local ethnic food to international cuisines, you can have your platter full of amazing food.
The crux of the story is: foodies can have the time of their life gorging on the mouth-watering delicacies the city is known for, even without emptying their wallets.
8. Free Entertainment Is Not A Dream
New York is home to a thriving independent musicals and art scene. From attending the local plays, live music, dance shows or other gigs, the city offers spectacular entertainment without digging a hole in your pocket.
Check for some exciting discounts on Groupon for countless events and live shows. However, if Broadway or Off-Broadway shows are your fantasy, then TDF’s TKTS Booth under the red steps in Duffy Square can help you get a 50% discount on many musicals, plays, and theater performances.
Alternatively, you can download TodayTix app to get all the updates on discounted tickets on your mobile phone. Also, check for the websites for exclusive discounts for families, students or any other offer.
9. Putting The Lid On
It is no sin to break the rules once in a while, especially if you’re in your dream destination like New York City. However, if fear of flying is stopping you from living your dream, then educating yourself via online course is an option worth considering.
Wander aimlessly on roads less-traveled, eat your heart out, raise a toast, dance like the world is ending or do anything unimaginable. Spend quality time with your family or friends while embracing the spirited city life around.
Let’s face the truth; you can’t travel without money anywhere in the world, let alone the Big Apple. Just exercise some control over your budget so that you do not have to pack more regrets than rejoices while traveling back home.