New York City on a Budget

How to afford new york city on a budget

New York City on a budget. Sounds like an oxymoron right? 

But the great thing is, traveling to the concrete jungle is affordable when your broke. 

Trust me, I would know. 

With some careful planning and as always, saving, I finally got to check off one of the most iconic cities in the world off my bucket list. 

I was so excited I listened to T-Swifts “Welcome to New York” song on repeat for a month.  

Central Park in Fall: NYC on a Budget

New York didn’t disappoint.

Well, except when we got turned down to see Jimmy Fallon. That will forever be one of the biggest disappointments of my life.

the tonight show with jimmy fallon

(Next time, next time Jimmy…)


From the suburban sites and tasty food to the creepy stoned guy stalking us in the subway, it was quite the adventure. New York City subway

We were able to spend 4 days wandering around the Big Apple and I can’t wait to go back. ( I have to see Jimmy live before I die.)

How did I afford such a trip especially only a few months after galavanting across Australasia? 

Well, part of it was fortunate timing the other careful planning!

New York City on a Budget

1.Check flights often to get a good deal.

Flights are often the biggest expense when it comes to travel. If you’re serious about going on a trip, do some homework. Find out when the on and off seasons are (they might determine flight cost). Keep an eye out for deals. Use sights like Student Universe and Skiplagged to find the cheapest deals!

2. Bring snacks and spend your money wisely.

My personal travel motto is to spend money on experiences, not things. If you can, bring portable snacks like dried fruit, nuts, apples and granola/protein bars to save money on spending too much eating out. As far as souvenirs go, they can be super expensive and overpriced in NYC. I spent $15 dollars on a tiny collectable pin for my niece. That should give you some perspective. 

Spend money on experiences, not things. Click To Tweet

However, I strongly urge you to check out Levain Bakery and spend as much money as you want on those incredible cookies of theirs. And bring me one.

One experience I’m grateful I paid for was to take a tour of the new One World Trade Center. They take you right to the top and you get unbelievable views of the city and Ground Zero. Very worth the $30 ticket. New York City on a Budget

3. Find free activities.

NYC is full of free activities and free sightseeing that can keep you occupied for days!

  • Many of the museums are free on certain days/time or tickets are suggested admission (meaning you pay what you want).
  • Most of the famous sights around the city are awesome and free. My favorites were The High Line, Brooklyn Bridge, Cental Park (BEAUTIFUL) and Chelsea Market
  • Take the Staten Island Ferry across the river and get a stunning look at the city skyline and Statue of Liberty for free. 
  • You can get into shows like Good Morning America and Jimmy Fallon for FREE. We got our tickets to see Jimmy’s monologue about a month in advance. Just make sure you are early and get in line as soon as they let you. We were a few minutes late and we got turned away literally at the last second. (I’m still crushed.)

Grand Central Station NYC

4. Take the Subway. 

Forget Taxis, they are a rip-off. Instead, take the Subway. It’s not the most glamorous form of transportation, but it’s a good deal and can get you pretty much anywhere you need to go. If you are going to be in the city for more than a couple of days, I would suggest getting the 7-day metro pass for $31. It will save you money and you’ll always have a pass ready to go. Just don’t lose it!

If you do find yourself in a tricky situation, I would definitely suggest taking an Uber. I’ve taken an Uber in San Fran and NYC and have been very impressed both times.

We found ourselves out later than planned one night and since our hotel was a good 10-minute walk from the metro station and we are a bunch of timid girls in a big city, we decided to split the cost of an Uber. They picked us up right in Times Square 5 minutes later and had us dropped off safely right in front of our hotel in a quick 20 minutes. If you are in a group and split the cost, Uber is a great deal. Plus, if you haven’t signed up with them you get a discount on your first ride. 

 Central Park in Fall

I had a fantastic time in New York. Going in the fall was a plus because Central Park was a dream and the weather was perfect. It was so fun to see famous buildings and iconic landmarks. Ground Zero was humbling and gave you that proud to be an American feeling. The pizza really is amazing, but not as good as Levain chocolate chip cookies. 

Do yourself a favor, and go spend some time wandering in this crazy, crowded, loud, but absolutely wonderful city. 

One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.    –Tom Wolfe



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