So you wanna see New York City, and do it all on a budget.. You’re my kinda person! If there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s wasting a dollar that could’ve been stretched further.
Travel – If you’re still looking for how to get to NYC, I can share that I have found Southwest Airlines to have some of the greatest deals, flying into LaGuardia. There are a few things to remember when booking any airfare.
- Do not repeatedly google, or search the route that you are looking to travel. There are cookies and bots whose primary job is track these repeated searches and target market “deals” to you. These same bots will increase the airfare because it knows you will definitely book a flight eventually, given the amount of research you are doing on it.
- Make sure to click thru all the dates, typically Tuesday is the cheapest day to fly.
- Once you have found the cheapest flight (my original was New Orleans to Chicago for $79 which I thought was a steal!) Wait a few days, and then reenter the site thru the promo web address (click here if you don’t have one and you used Southwest) Search again. Sometimes the airline will see that you already have a flight from your cookies, and post the lowest fares again. For my New Orleans to Chicago trip I was able to change my flight to a $44 flight. A credit was applied to my account, and I used that to get to NY!
- Buses – My last New Orleans to New York trip I used buses. New Orleans to Atlanta (which I had to stop in to get my British Passport) was $16 on Greyhound. Atlanta to NYC was $25 using Megabus. The trick to the buses are to search at least two weeks before you are leaving. The earlier the cheaper. A man paid $120 to ride from Atlanta to NYC on the same buses as me because he booked 4 days before the departure. As far as comfort goes, Megabus wins hands down. The seats recline further, its a double decker bus. The staff were very friendly on both buses. (I had a layover in DC) the wifi worked (Greyhound did not) There were two outlets to charge my electrical devices, and if you get there early enough to be first in line for your bus, you will have the option to take a seat at the non reserved table, which for a frugal travel blogger is perfect! The first bus ride I opted for the top deck front seat, and had an amazing view!
Okay, so now you are in New York City! First thing you need to do is get a Metro card. I strongly suggest paying the $27 for the unlimited 7 day pass. The reason I suggest this is because you will most likely enter on the wrong side from time to time, or prefer to catch a bus for a couple of stops as opposed to walking. Being a tourist is exhausting, and cab fare can mount up quickly! The NYC transit apps are awesome at routing you from your current location to your destination using buses and subways with accurate times.
Now you are in NYC, and you are mobile, hopefully for under $100!
I look at lodging as a place to crash with a roof, a shower, and hopefully an outlet to charge my devices.. that’s all i really need as I’m never in town to lay in bed and watch TV. There is SO much to do and see, no matter where you go in this world… so I use Airbnb. For the cheapest lodging I usually search “shared” which means I am renting a bed in a room with other travelers. I drop the price down to $0-$30 and search one day at a time.. In Chicago I bounced around three different airbnb listings, but never paid over $30 a night to sleep. Using AirBnb actually inspired me to list my own house so that frugal travelers could visit the gulf coast beaches for an affordable price. It worked so well that we opened Hattan Hostel in Manhattan!
Ok.. so you should now have a plan for where you are sleeping, how you are getting there (the two budget killers) and now to figure out what you are going to do!
It’s possible that with all that you have saved, you can splurge on the attractions.. but if you are like me, and literally living on a dime and a prayer (and thanks for clicking on my blog, because that just added 2 cents to my dime! ) then you will want to navigate your way around NYC without spending too much.
Food – if you’re really on a budget, hit the grocery store, buy some oatmeal, cereal, bread and peanut butter, and try to ignore the amazing aromas as you walk the streets. If you do want take out, make sure you get it up in Washington Heights.. or near where you are staying. The same $1 bottle of water in the Heights, costs $3-$4 at the vendors in Times Square. Try the many delis and bodaga sandwiches.. amazingly yummy, and affordable.
Attractions – FREE MUSEUMS, STATUE OF LIBERTY, SKYLINE PICTURE OPS, BRONX ZOO, ART GALLERIES, ALCOHOL, BOTANICAL GARDENS, MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, TIMES SQUARE, JIMMY FALLON SHOW, SCULPTURE PARK, CENTRAL PARK, AQUARIUM, CONCERTS, TREASURE HUNTS!!! and more… there is always something to do!
ALL FREE …
Monday – Times Square is always amazing.. the shows are typically cheaper on Monday and Tuesdays.. also download the Broadway Shows app for cheaper ticket prices!
Tuesday – Brooklyn Botanical Garden followed by FREE beer tasting at Bierkraft, also in Brooklyn
Bonsai Tree in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
Wednesday – Bronx Zoo
Thursday – Take the Staten Island Ferry to see an amazing skyline view, then take it back, and hang out in Battery Park, check out the memorials, then take the subway a few stops to the World Trade Center Memorial, Freedom Tower ($32 to go up to the observation deck, and well worth it.. i suggest going up just before sunset, and getting both the sunset views and the night time views when the lights come on) the 9/11 Memorial Museum is also here.
Friday – Check out Central Park.. its beautiful, romantic MoMA (museum of Modern Art.. suggested donations are not mandatory, and $1 is sufficient) 4p-8p or the NY Aquarium after 3pm
Saturday – Wave Hill art workshops 9a-noon and then the Guggenheim after 5:45p
Sunday – The Socrates sculpture Park – amazing artwork in Long Island.
Additionally, the month before your visit, reserve your Jimmy Fallon tickets free! Comedy shows and off off broadway shows can also be found for $5-$15
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
Off off broadway show on 13th St
Washington Square Park
As seen from the Staten Island Ferry
All of the photos seen on this blog can be ordered in the form of prints, mugs, tshirts, hoodies.. and all that other souvenir stuff I typically avoid spending my money on.. but if you are going to, why not support my starving artist photographer traveling self??
My Art and Photography Online Studio