NEW YORK CITY ON A BUDGET.

Earlier this month, I went to NYC for a long weekend. Me and my best friends, no babies allowed, and a magical city to explore. Want to know the best part? The whole trip cost me less than 500 dollars. I feel like it would be a sin not to share how this was done, so I’ve compiled my top tips for visiting New York City on a budget. Here we go!

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  1. PLAN AHEAD. Call us crazy, but my friends and I planned every detail of this trip many months in advance. Mostly because we needed to arrange childcare and make sure we could take days off of work, but having an itinerary for this trip helped not only map out our plans, but also our costs. Pick a budget for the trip and then plan your days/activities accordingly.
  2. DRIVE, DON’T FLY. If you don’t mind airline ticket costs and you want to get there quickly, go ahead and fly. But if you want to save money and enjoy car conversations and gas station snacks (this ones for you, Gracie), opt for a roadtrip. Between the three of us, we each spent sixty dollars in gas round trip. 30 bucks to get to NYC? Yes please!

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3. STAY RIGHT OUTSIDE OF THE CITY. I think it’s well known that hotels in NYC can get really expensive, really fast. We found the best way to save money on our lodging was to stay in a hipster/artsy (their words, not mine) part of Brooklyn and then commute to the city each day. Bonus: not only did we save money but we stumbled upon a few great restaurants and coffee shops in Brooklyn.

4. SKIP THE HOTEL, USE AIR-BNB. Trust me. I know that this option is unappealing to some but if you do it right (read reviews!), it’s a great choice. We stayed in really clean and stylish apartment in Brooklyn. We stayed with a guy named Stephen and although it sounds weird, he was really great and there were no issues. Just do it, friends.

5. UNLIMITED METRO PASS. You can try to map out the city and your point A’s and your point B’s and take a guess on how many subway rides you’ll need but you most likely will come up short. For just a few dollars extra, you can buy an unlimited metro pass and save yourself some money on the flip side. Bonus tip: walk as much as possible! That way you skip the cost of cab rides and you’ll experience much more of the city when you’re on foot.

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6. UTILIZE YELP. I’m mentioning Yelp because that was the app we used most, but if there is another one that shows you restaurant reviews and costs, that works too. We were able to find reasonably priced restaurants that received great reviews by both locals and tourists alike.

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7. HAPPY HOURS. Guys, alcohol is expensive. Here are my two tips: find a happy hour and limit your alcohol intake. You really don’t need alcohol to have fun and happy hour deals are pretty much everywhere. Do a little research, save a lot of money.

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8. PLAN FREE/CHEAP ACTIVITIES. Obviously, not everything is going to be free. So sure, visit the art museums and go see a comedy show (seriously, DO IT) but mix in a few free/cheap activities to save you some money while still having a great time. Some ideas? walk around Central Park or across the Brooklyn Bridge, spend a few hours reading in a coffee shop/bookstore, or window shop in SoHo.

So here ya have it. I’d love to hear- what are some ways that you save money while travelling? Let’s all get inspired to take more trips!

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