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How To Save Money When Visiting New York
July 26, 2022 By CityPASS
There's no city quite like New York. Everybody should experience this cosmopolitan spectacle at least once.
Unfortunately, while NYC is on many bucket lists, vacationers often neglect the Big Apple for fear of paying exorbitant prices on food, lodging, and entertainment.
To some extent, these fears are valid. Luxury accommodations abound in New York, as do fancy restaurants, high-class shopping, and numerous other opportunities for spending money. Its reputation as an expensive city is definitely justified.
That being said, splurging isn't 100 percent necessary. Believe it or not, it's possible to do it up on a limited budget. Keep reading to learn how to save money in New York City.
5 Tips to Save Money During Your New York City Trip
There's no one correct way to budget for your trip to NYC. It's perfectly acceptable to splurge in some areas and cut back in others. In fact, this is the best way to explore New York without feeling like you're compromising too much.
Before you book your trip, determine where your priorities lie. Do you want to stay in a sophisticated hotel? Do you prefer the convenience of traveling by taxi? Or is fine dining essential?
Select one or two vacation must-haves, plus a few areas where you're willing to compromise.
Now that you have your priorities straight, check out these simple suggestions for stretching your New York vacation budget as much as possible.
1. Minimize Costs By Going With Discounted Tickets to Attractions
Gate prices can be steep, but many customers simply pay these exorbitant rates for fear of missing out on New York's most iconic attractions. If you do a little research, however, you'll quickly discover that many discounted options are available.
Depending on your itinerary and who you're traveling with, you just might be able to hit up the hottest attractions at a dramatically reduced rate. Discounts for seniors and college students are typical, as are special prices customized for early birds or evening hours.
Better yet: Simplify by investing in a travel package that scores you admission to several top sites for one low price. With this solution, you can pack your trip with exciting excursions while paying less per attraction.
This approach is especially compelling if you plan on hitting up these favorites:
- Empire State Building
- Guggenheim Museum
- American Museum of Natural History
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum
- Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck
- Statue of Liberty
Don’t forget the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise, which introduces you to several top attractions and can also be included with a vacation package.
2. Factor in the Cost of Food for Your Trip
New York boasts an exceptional culinary scene, complete with numerous Michelin star restaurants. All that fine dining adds up quickly, however. Even seemingly low-key establishments, such as local delis and pizzerias, can cost you quite a bit.
If you want to enjoy the best of New York dining while keeping your food budget reasonable, prioritize a few must-visit restaurants and save the rest of your appetite for food from grocery stores or bodegas. Even if your hotel or rental lacks a kitchen, you can find pre-prepared items for a reasonable price.
Not only could limiting your restaurant visits save you hundreds of dollars, but this will also ensure that you thoroughly enjoy the few dining experiences you ultimately select. You'll also save a lot of time, as eating out can occupy a sizable portion of your day.
3. Visit Major Attractions Outside of Peak Season
Every major travel hub has a peak season when appealing weather or exciting events attract more travelers. With these crowds come substantial price increases, often to the tune of hundreds — or thousands — of dollars for accommodations.
In New York, unfortunately, there's not just one peak season to worry about but rather two significant surges. These peaks arrive in the summer (typically between June and August, when school is out) and during the holiday season in November and December.
From both a weather and financial perspective, you'll benefit most from visiting New York when tourist activity is minimal. Winters, while beautiful, can be chilly, and summer tends to be muggy.
For pristine conditions, consider visiting New York in September, October, April, or May. These months deliver the perfect blend of idyllic weather, minimal crowds, and reasonable prices.
Of course, traveling during peak season is a delight and can even be affordable if you play your cards right. Still, it’s worth your while to look closely at off-season deals.
4. Set a Daily Limit For Your Credit Card
The lure of fine dining and shopping may be just too great, but you can always set limits in advance to hold yourself accountable. Use your credit card as a money-saving tool rather than as permission to spend as much as possible.
If you purchase tickets or vacation packages in advance, you can then set a budget for the remainder of your daily expenses — including transit, dining, and souvenirs. Some credit cards allow you to set an actual spending limit; for others, you'll need to keep a mental tally.
5. Use Public Transportation Around the City
New York taxi rides may feel iconic, but they can be prohibitively expensive, even when traveling just a few short blocks. Instead, use your two feet as much as possible, supplementing with public transit when necessary.
The city's subway system is downright legendary, so it's worth checking out even if you aren't particularly worried about transportation costs. Learning to navigate the subway will give you a better sense of what life looks like as a real New Yorker. Don't forget about local ferries and buses, which also promise to get you where you need to go at minimal cost.
Save on the Biggest Attractions in New York
If you want to hit up New York's famed attractions without breaking the bank, CityPASS® tickets are the solution for you. Offering attraction packages that cover several important New York destinations, this approach brings the price per attraction down considerably.
Don't leave world-class vacation experiences off of your itinerary for fear of exceeding your budget. Browse our attractions today to learn how you can level up your NYC getaway.
Save on New York City Hotels
To get the most out of your stay in New York City, we recommend finding lodging near New York City's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you: