When I first traveled to New York City in November, I was told by everyone who I consulted that New York was an expensive place. This troubled me a bit because I am a woman with modest means. Needless to say when I arrived in the city, I learned that this was a misnomer. Now that I have experienced my second trip, I have learned a few strategies to keep your spending at a minimum. Having fun in NYC does not have to be expensive. Here are a few tips:
- Plan, plan, plan- When making your travel arrangements, plan strategically. Check online travel sites against those with a travel agent. Check flight prices every few days, flight prices often fluctuate, sometimes within hours. Getting a good deal online is not hard to find but it does take work and initiative. Plan accordingly. Always book at least two weeks in advance to get the best price.
- Subway it- The subway is your best friend in the city and its rather inexpensive to get around. You can buy a 7 day unlimited Metrocard pass for $27.00 which is way less expensive than cabbing it all around the city. Renting a car in New York City is a waste of time and money because the traffic is major and paying for parking can cost a mint! I was scared to get on the Subway when I was here last November, but in reality, it is a safe mode of transportation and that is how I got around during this trip.
- Check the menus- Most restaurants in NYC have their menus posted outside the venue, which gives you the opportunity to see the items offered as well as pricing. That way, you will know if its in your budget or not before you sit at the table. Most restaurants have a website which will allow you to check their menus as well. Also, you can consult websites such as Yelp for reviews from other patrons to decide where the best food and values are.
- Two Is Company- Taking a companion with you on your trip can also make it affordable. Splitting hotel costs (which is probably the most expensive portion of your trip) helps you keep the costs down and insures that you have someone to enjoy the city with.
- Set a Budget- Make a realistic budget for your trip and stick to it. Create a plan and an amount (say $200 per day) for meals and shopping, withdraw the cash, and use the amount wisely. Keep your receipts to keep track of your spending and leave the credit card in your room to make sure you do not overspend. Bring a debit card only for emergency purposes.
New York is a fun and exciting city with oodles to do. Yes, you can spend a mountain full of money, but having a good time doesn’t require tons of spending, but does require being fiscally responsible while planning and researching. Good luck!