A destination at the top of every traveler’s bucket list, New York City is truly one of a kind. From world-class museums and incredible food to incredible cultural events, it’s impossible to get bored in the city that never sleeps.
Looking to explore New York on a budget? Here are some of the easiest travel tips for exploring New York on a budget, making it easier than ever to check this incredible city off your bucket list.
1. Prioritize Accommodations Near Subway Stations
Don’t fall for the idea that you need to stay in Midtown in order to experience the best that the city has to offer. While you’ll be in close proximity to some of the city’s best museums, parks, and attractions, rooms in Midtown can come at a hefty price.
Plus, with the best things to do in New York scattered around the city, you’ll never be close to everything all at once.
Instead, prioritize finding accommodations near a subway line. Look in Queens, Brooklyn, or even areas of downtown Manhattan. Being near a subway line can save you time – and money – as you explore the city. Sometimes, being near a subway line can even save you travel time and be faster than walking!
2. Consider Transportation Costs if Traveling in a Group
While staying in an area of the city with great access to subway lines is a great way to save money, it’s not everything. Public transportation is not always cheap in New York City, so especially if you’re traveling in a group, consider the cost of using the subway versus taking an Uber or a taxi.
Depending on where you’re headed and the number of people in your group, taking the subway can actually be more expensive.
3. Cheap Food is Everywhere… You Just Need To Look For It
Eating in New York City can be quite expensive – but it doesn’t have to be. Trade world-class restaurants for street food or cheap eats options. Try Mamoun’s, the dosa cart in Washington Square Park, or even cheap pizza spots. Even saving money by eating cheap for just a few meals can make a big difference as you explore New York.
Additionally, take advantage of the happy hour that restaurants and bars offer during the afternoon – you can sometimes find 2×1 deals for drinks or even meals.
4. Map Out Your Day
When planning out your New York itinerary, make sure to check out a map! Rather than traveling all around the city, try to group your activities by neighborhood to make walking more feasible. It will save you both time and money on transportation.
For example, plan to visit Tribeca, Chinatown, and Little Italy on the same day. Touring these neighborhoods can take you several hours, and will take you through some of the most charming places in the city. You won’t have to spend money on transportation all day as you explore these areas by foot.
Visit New York
While New York City is by no means an affordable or cheap destination, it doesn’t have to be so expensive that it’s out of reach. With a bit of planning and research before you head out, you’ll find that New York might actually be a more affordable destination than you could imagine.
Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.