After you get that flight ticket to New York City for a special price, there are two things to do: plan the trip itinerary and find a place to stay. This second item in particular causes headaches in people. You will get tired of asking about good and cheap places to stay in the city: truth be told, cheap and New York are two words that don’t match a lot when we talk about accommodation. Even the real estate market is super competitive. Translating, it is possible that the hotel will be responsible for getting most of your budget. But what to do?
Well, I don’t have much experience with accommodations in the city. In my first time visiting in 2013, I was in an apartment in Jersey City rented by my husband’s company. Then in 2014, I finally moved back here. That is, I never stayed in a hotel, so it is difficult to suggest something. But I am living here for some years, I know a good part of the city and decided to list some tips that can help you with this task to book a nice place without spending a lot.
1. Don’t limit your search to Times Square – it is unanimous: most people ask for hotel suggestions in the Times Square area. People usually repeat the speech that spreads around, that Times Square is the best place to stay in New York. Do not fool yourself. New York is much more than Times Square. The first question is: why do you want to stay in Times Square? Are you going to attend Broadway performance every night? Probably not. So, forget It. “Ah, but staying in Times Square I will do everything by walking.” Another mistake. It is true that many attractions are close to the area: Top of the Rock, Bryant Park, Public Library. A little further down, there is the Empire State, a little further up is Central Park. But the Statue of Liberty, MET, and Museum of Natural History – which are other famous attractions – will require you to take the subway. If you don’t stay in the Times, you’ll get there in other ways. Soho, Chelsea, Meatpacking, East Village, Hell’s Kitchen, Tribeca, Financial District: all these neighborhoods are great and you will be well located, always close to a famous spot. Chelsea / Meatpacking has the High Line Park and Chelsea Market, Hell’s Kitchen has plenty of restaurants, Financial District has the One World Trade Center and Brookfield Place. See how not everything is near Times Square?
2. Stay close to a subway station – subway system in New York – especially in Manhattan – covers a large area of the city and you can go everywhere, 24 hours a day. Excluding some peak hours – from 7:30 am to 9:30 am, from 5 pm to 6h30 pm – trains run very well, with speed and agility. It is very likely that you will leave your place in the morning and will return only at night – you need to be ready, you won’t stop! – then, if you analyze well, what really matters is how long you will spend on your commute per day. Do you want an example? Being in the Upper East Side, near 86th Street, the subway ride to Times Square (since everyone has this reference) is 15 to 20 minutes. Incidentally, Upper East Side and Upper West Side are great areas to stay, very charming, with restaurants, cool shops, and several museums. Both UES and UWS have express lines (trains 2 and 3 and trains 4 and 5), which are very fast and save time because they skip some stations. Not to mention that staying out of the obvious areas, you will have different travel experiences, living a local routine and meeting places that you would never know.
3. New York is not just about Manhattan – some regions outside the island have got the sympathy of tourists by the strategic location and the lower prices. Do you want a tip? Make a search in areas like Astoria and Long Island City, Queens, which are few subway stops away from Midtown. When searching for a location, open Google Maps, look where the place is, simulate the subway ride to Manhattan. You are concerned about security? Overall, New York is a very safe city. In particular, I don’t like to say bad things about any part of the city – it’s wrong to say that The Bronx is dangerous, for example. There are some areas that should be avoided at night, as well as other areas of Brooklyn. You can not generalize because then you end up not knowing some cool places. To help analyze the issue of security in the region that you are choosing to stay, check this map.
4. Check the reviews – nowadays, with so many websites and social media, it’s easy to share information. Even if you don’t book your hotel through websites like Hotels.com and Booking, take advantage of these tools to read reviews and comments from users. Go beyond: download Yelp and also search by the hotel on the app. Testimonials from other people are great to help you to close a deal – and to know which expectations to have about the place since most hotels are very good in advertising – but we know that the reality does not always correspond to those beautiful web images. If you are searching for a room or apartment on Airbnb, the tip is the same. Read the guest’s reviews carefully and also the host rules. Oh, and don’t be disappointed: the rooms here are often small.
5. Remember the alternative accommodation– Airbnb is not new to anyone, right? The website for rental of rooms/houses/apartments is usually an option for those who want to save on accommodation. If you are traveling alone or with friends, have you thought about the possibility of staying in a hostel? The city has great hostels and ends up being a way to save on accommodation and also meet new people from all over the world.
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!