Unless you are paying for a whole family’s plane tickets, lodging will be the most expensive part of your trip to the Big Apple. Flights in and out of New York are not usually outlandishly priced unless booked last minute, and there are plenty of ways to be budget conscious while doing all of the activities that you have always dreamed about. (see my upcoming post.)
- Do your hotel research.
Most people plan their trips a few months in advance which gives you time to scope out and track hotel prices before finally deciding on one. Like anywhere else holidays are typically more expensive but crazily enough NYC hotels don’t fluctuate as much during holidays as you would think. I always recommend Expedia to people who are looking for a deal, but be wary because many hotels do not allow cancellations if booked through third party websites. For years, discount sites have been the only way to go for budget travelers, but recent trends have seen a shift in the price difference between these third party sites and booking directly from the hotel. Check multiple sites as well as multiple discount options, AARP, AAA and Senior Citizen discounts are almost always accepted at hotels so take advantage of these if you qualify.
- Book a Weekend Stay.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights are often cheaper than Monday-Thursday. With the mass amount of people traveling in and out of the city for business during the week hotel prices often spike during the early week.
- Don’t stay in or near Times Square.
A lot of people come to New York and want to stay “where all the action is”. Staying in a different area of the city can save you major $$$ especially during peak tourist times.
- Check out hotels in the Financial Districtif you are planning a weekend visit. While it may not be the most lively area of the city on the weekends, you will be thankful for the peace and quiet after a long day exploring around. FIDI (as we New Yorkers call it) is located near a lot of train stations and connections to all parts of the city as well as the New York Stock Exchange, Staten Island Ferry Station, One World Trade Center and many other down town sites.
- Don’t be afraid of New Jersey. Especially if you found yourself on a flight to Newark, there are plenty of options that could save you big! Many hotels around the Newark area have typical inflated airport prices to deal with, especially in the summer. Broaden your New Jersey search by checking out the up-and-coming Hoboken area or head a little bit north to upper Bergen County. These hotels often charge a lot less for parking than the typical $55.00+ you would pay in Manhattan. The one thing I urge you to research before choosing a hotel in New Jersey is the proximity to public transit. Many hotels in this area offer shuttle busses to the city ranging in price from $7.00-$25.00 per day. If you are traveling with a family this often times is not the most cost effective or logistically pleasing option. Call your hotel before booking and see what options they have for getting to the city, and ask how close the nearest train station is.
- Experience the life of the Outer Boroughs. When I moved to the city my roommates and I landed on an apartment in Astoria, a heavily Greek neighborhood in Queens. The neighborhoods outside of Manhattan can sometimes be more colorful than those inside the central island. While gentrification is happening fast in Queens and Brooklyn, you will still save money by picking a crash pad a little further from the city.
-Long Island City, Queens has a lot of very new hotels at about half the price of many in Midtown Manhattan. By staying in this neighborhood you will most likely have a much bigger room, a quick train commute to midtown (1 stop to Manhattan), and as I mentioned before a much more peaceful sleep.
-Neighborhoods around Brooklyn have seen wide spread growth throughout the past ten years, and with that the prices have gone up. You can still find some hotel deals in Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, and Williamsburg. Many of these hotels have amazing rooftop views that you would never dream of in Manhattan and are often steps away from the water and public transportation.