If you follow my blog for a while, you know that one of the highlights here is how to explore the city on a budget. New York City is considered one of the most expensive cities in the world – to live and to visit – but my mantra is: with research and information, you can save a lot of o money! Of course, this will require more planning, but if your budget is tight, keep in mind that you can save money in many ways. And today I bring 10 tips that will help you in this mission! Remember that a lot of these tips are useful if you live here as well!
1. Think outside the box when choosing where to stay! I think the biggest mistake people make is to think that the only possibility of accommodation in the city is limited to hotels in Times Square. And that’s not true. If you are the kind of person that does not give up staying in a hotel, the tip is to search for places in other areas of the city. Long Island City, located in Queens, is just a few subway stops from Manhattan and about 10 minutes from Midtown. The area is full of hotels with cheaper rates than Manhattan – and more convenience, such as larger rooms and even breakfast. Check out some options:
- Best Western Plaza
- County Inn & Suites
- Farfield by Marriot
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Quality Inn
- Red Lion
You can also consider Airbnb and rent a room or an apartment. The advantage of Airbnb is usually the price and also the experience of a local. When you rent a room you will be sharing space with the host and one of the cool things is the exchange of experiences and the different tips that your host can give you.
Then, another idea to save money is to consider a hostel. This is often the choice for those traveling alone, for the possibility of interacting with people from all over the world. Many people do not like the idea because they like privacy – but, it’s good to remember that there are hostels that offer private rooms!
2. Use public transportation! It seems obvious, but a lot of people have no idea how convenient is public transportation in New York City – and I think it is important to emphasize and reinforce this since there are those who only stay in Midtown simply because they are afraid to use the subway! Here, you don’t need to rent a car. Aside from the city’s traffic being tricky at different times of the day, parking can be quite expensive. The truth is that in New York you have to walk a lot and explore every corner of the city. Organize your script into large areas and use the subway to get to them. Do not forget that the city also has a very good bus system and a Ferry system.
3. Want to take a cruise but your budget is tight? Enjoy a ride on the NYC Ferry, a boat transportation system that connects a lot of areas of the city. For only $2.75, you can choose one of several available lines (and still get a free transfer from one to another). My tip? The ER line, through East River, passes underneath three iconic bridges of the city.
4. Forget yellow cabs – use apps – New York has a lot of options besides yellow cabs. You can use Uber, the most popular of all, and also Lyft and Juno. But if you want to save even more with this type of service, the tip is to use Via! Via offers shared rides through smart and fast paths. It is worth remembering that all these apps accept payment only by credit card. Remember: when using a taxi, you must leave a tip of at least 15%.
- Use LAURAPERUCHI code for $10 on Via.
- Use hbmmh code to get $15 on Uber.
- Use LAURANYC to get $15 on Lyft.
5. Group tours are cheaper than private tours – exploring the city with certified tour guides is a great way to get to know the city and have a richer experience of local knowledge. If the idea is to have this experience without compromising your budget, look for group tours – try Free Tours by Foot (don’t forget to tip your guide!).
Two other amazing group tours
6. Take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry and enjoy views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline. It is totally free. This Ferry connects Staten Island and Manhattan – up to 1415 passengers. Obviously, the distance is not the same as the paid boats, but I’d say it’s a pretty satisfying view. Maybe you can not get that classic photo with the Statue close to you, but I guarantee it’s worth it. Also, we must not forget the incredible view of the Manhattan skyline. Even if you go visit the Statue of Liberty – take advantage of this free opportunity to see the city during other times of day – at sunset, for example.
7. Try your luck on the Broadway lottery. The online lottery for Broadway shows is a great way to get tickets for amazing musicals and plays for about $30 per ticket – which is very cheap for this kind of show. As the name suggests, this is a lottery, and, as you know, depends on luck, that is, there are no guarantees. This is a great choice for anyone who is open to any musical option – the trick is to try every possible lottery. Visit Broadway on a Budget website and see the options that show Digital Lottery and click for details and fill your entry. Remember: the important thing about the lottery is consistency! Put reminders every day on your phone so you do not forget to try.
8. It is not just about fast food – here on the blog, there are several posts with tips for affordable restaurants. Save the ones that interest you on a list, to have options when you are hungry. Also, download apps like Yelp and do a search by filtering through price range ($$$). Want another tip? Many restaurants in the city have special prices for lunch on weekdays. Search Yelp for Lunch Special to find restaurants with special prices.
9. Download Crave and Seated and save a lot of money when eating out – if you live here or if you are visiting, make sure to download Crave, an app that features live deals & discounts from top restaurants. Everything you have to do is open the app and search for deals near you, claim it, and that’s it. Discounts can be up to 50% and you present the voucher when you arrive at the restaurant. Also, make sure to download Seated and get up to 30% back on every dollar spent. Seated features hundreds of restaurants: just open it, make your reservation – or walk in – and take a picture of the receipt at the end of your meal. The cashback you get is converted to credits that you can spend at retailers like Amazon and Sephora. Make sure to use my code and get some extra credit LAURA893.
10. Tax-free for clothing and shoes – There is no tax for clothing or footwear priced at less than $110 in New York. It is worth noting that rates are calculated per item. That is if you buy $700 in clothing and shoes and no item costs more than $ 110, your purchase will have no tax. If there are any items whose price is more than $110, only that item will be taxed.
Did you like these tips?
Content creator and journalist in New York City. Here, I share lifestyle, beauty, NYC tips, thoughts, and the struggles about living in the most amazing city in the world! I’m not gonna pretend to be another person: I’m a Brazilian immigrant and I think this is my soul, it is part of who I am. I hope you enjoy my content! Follow me on Instagram!