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Planning a Trip to New York City without Breaking Your Budget

Planning a Trip to New York City without Breaking Your Budget
Not able to fulfill your desire of visiting New York City, owing to the limited amount of funds that you have? Rest assured that an expensive city like New York can also be visited on a tight budget. Here's a bit on how you can plan your New York trip on a budget.
Sucheta Pradhan
"I go to Paris, I go to London, I go to Rome, and I always say, 'There's no place like New York. It's the most exciting city in the world now. That's the way it is. That's it.'"
― Robert De Niro

Notoriously renowned as one of the most expensive cities in the world, New York can indeed burn a big hole in your wallet. With its several shopping opportunities, high-end restaurants, and pricey attractions, the city attracts hundreds and thousands of tourists each year, which is why it is also considered to be one of the most important tourist centers in the world. When we think of traveling on a budget, New York is definitely not one of our first few options. In fact, we seem to be a little reluctant before heading to America's Big Apple, thinking that we may eventually end up broke. However, few people, rather enthusiasts, consider traveling to New York on a budget, and guess what? They end up making the most of it. So, if you think that New York can never be one of the budget destinations, it's time you do some homework. We, at Buzzle, will tell you how you can plan your New York City trip without breaking your budget.

Tripping New York on a Budget

New York is a splendid place to be―it is a city that encompasses several different worlds into one. The city tempts her visitors in so many ways that a trip or two to the place can really surpass one's budget. However, a little pre-planning and research can work wonders. You can then come to know that there are innumerable ways in New York by which you can save money―and a lot of it. Here's how you can make a budget-friendly trip to one of the most amazing cities on the planet.

Getting In

The cheapest and most economical option to travel to NYC is by air. This holds true not only for international travelers, but also for the domestic ones. Domestic travelers can also opt for trains, which might be another affordable means; however, considering the total time spent in transit is also vital. Consider all these factors, and choose a mode of transport that offers you the best value for your money.

Tip: Do not stick to one particular travel date. Try to be as flexible as possible to avail the best possible deals.

While booking air tickets, it is advisable to compare airfares online; check for any add-on costs, and only then make payments. Also, it is necessary that you book well in advance. In fact, you might be able to avail some of the best deals if you book early. Last-minute deals will often cost you more.

Tip: There are numerous airports in the NYC area. So, head to the airport which is nearest to the place you are going to stay and spend majority of your time. This will save you from heavy transportation costs, once you have landed.

Getting Around

Once in New York, the most economical way to go around is by foot. It's free of cost and gives you a chance to explore the city to the fullest.

If a particular location is too far to access by foot, you can opt to take a bus. Buses in New York are pretty cheap, and there is a good network all over the city.

Private taxis and car rentals are available, but are on the expensive side. So, opt for them only if absolutely necessary.

Tip: As far as possible, stick to public transport in New York. The moment you get tempted by the luxuries of private ones, you will end up spending much more than you can afford.

When to Visit

New York is equally beautiful in all seasons. Winter is particularly the off-season to visit the city, but for a budget traveler, it is just the perfect time.

For one, you will get amazing deals on your airline tickets. Because many tourists do not opt to go during the off-season, airlines offer some really good discounts during this time, even on last-minute deals. You can rarely avail these during the peak season.

The hotel rates also tend to drop considerably during this time, owing to the limited influx of tourists. So, you can save a lot of money on accommodation, while staying at some of the luxury hotels.

Tip: If you wish to enjoy luxury amenities within your budget, make it a point to visit only during the off-season. The weather will be chilly, but you will never get such great deals during the peak season, when most of the airlines and hotels are jam-packed.

Choosing Accommodations

New York City offers a wide range of accommodations that suit all kinds of budgets. The cheapest accommodations available in the city are hostels, which offer shared lodgings. These can save you a substantial amount of money, especially in the off-season. Peak season prices may be higher, but are still less than those of the hotels.

As mentioned above, if you are visiting during the off-season, you can avail good deals at some of the best business hotels. While such deals may fit into your budget, you can also consider some of the cheaper options such as apartment sublets, etc.

B&Bs are also good options to stay, especially during the off-season. While these might not be cheaper than the hotels, you will be able to avail facilities such as fresh, homemade breakfast in a homely environment.

To get a good accommodation deal, browse through some reputed websites such as Quikbook and Craigslist. Compare prices, and only then proceed with your booking process.

Warning: Some neighborhoods of New York, such as Harlem and the Bronx, offer really cheap accommodations. While the prices may be tempting for a budget traveler, it is also important to note that these neighborhoods might be unsafe for first-time tourists. So, before you make your final decision, inquire thoroughly about the localities you intend to stay in.

Eating on a Budget

New York City features some of the finest restaurants in the world, but it also offers several other budget dining options.

Opt for a light breakfast and then have lunch at one of the numerous fast food joints, which offer good food at reasonable prices.

If you are on a tight budget and have access to a kitchen, you can also consider cooking your own food.

Dine at some of the cheap buffets around the city, where you can get some really good food at rather cheap prices.

Tip: New York City hosts an event known as the "Restaurant Week", once in winter and once in summer. If you happen to be in the city during the event, you ought to consider yourself to be extremely lucky. You will not only get a chance to dine at some of the city's upscale eateries, but will also have to pay only half the price for your meals.

Free Sites and Attractions

While the city boasts of numerous world-class sites and attractions, many of which charge a fee, there are also ample options that can be visited free of cost.

Head to some of these sites, which include, amongst others, Ground Zero, the Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and Central Park. You can get information regarding these attractions from any of the local tourist offices, or even from your hotel.

While a guided tour across the city might prove to be expensive, strolling around on your own is always an option. However, do not stroll around alone at night, especially if you don't know much about the place. It is always better to be careful about your own safety, rather than regretting later on!

If you think that since you are on a tight budget, the various New York shopping malls are not for you, you are highly mistaken. Visiting a shopping mall does not always call for spending a hefty sum of money. Window shopping is always a feasible option, and this way, you can also make sure that you do not miss visiting any of the prime shopping attractions in the city. You can also make occasional purchases if you wish, of outfits and souvenirs that you might not get anywhere else in the world.

Tip: Get city passes, which can avail you a lot of benefits. For instance, The New York Pass will give you a free entry to more than 80 attractions across the city. Moreover, the New York City Pass can save you up to 40% on the entry fees to various attractions. You can purchase these passes online, or can get them from the various tourist offices across the city.

So, pack up and get going to one of the most impressive cities in the world. Just remember that New York will go on tempting you in countless different ways, but do not fall for them. Be loyal to your budget and make the most of New York. It will surely be a trip of your lifetime!