New York on a budget: is it possible?

New York on a budget: possible to do, even in Times Square!

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” the Queen said to Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass.

So, believe it or not, it’s not impossible to have a great time in New York even while sticking to a tight budget. Yes, it can be an incredibly expensive city but there are plenty of free or very reasonably priced attractions that won’t break the bank. Here are a few suggestions to how to do New York on a budget.


Early booking is usually the best way to get the cheapest flights. New York has several airports so rather than just plumping for JFK look at Newark and La Guardia to try to get the best deal. Money saved on flights is cash that can help with the whole stay in the city. For a visa waiver you must submit ESTA Application online


Transport around

The famous yellow cabs may be an iconic symbol of New York but, to be fair, they’re not cheap. And the traffic is generally terrible so the fare counter clocks up. Much better to use the subway. It’s a lot cheaper; it has an extensive network and visitors rub shoulders with the real New Yorkers. Remember that in summer, when it can be swelteringly hot, the subway cars are air-conditioned but the stations are not.


New York hotels can be expensive, especially in the center of the city where most visitors would prefer to stay to get easy access to major attractions. Yet it’s perfectly possible to shop around to find some good deals, especially out of season. It’s worth exploring budget options that will be acceptable, with good, basic hostels providing cheap accommodations in either dormitories or private rooms.

Saving money initially may allow for a couple of nights at a high quality establishment!


It needn’t be expensive to eat out, especially if getting a takeaway. American portions are usually big so sustenance for big appetites is always available. By saving money on many meals it’s then possible for the budget to stretch to a fancy restaurant or two. Lunchtimes are generally cheaper than dinner.


Save money by going to hang out in Central Park and spend a few dollars taking a rowing boat on the lake. Head to south Manhattan and take the free Staten Island Ferry to get magnificent views of the city’s towering skyscape as well as the chance to sip a cool beer on board.

From mid-July to the end of August there are many free music concerts at the Seaport Music Festival and, of course, there are dozens of bars that have a whole range of musical offerings for people dropping in for a drink or a bite to eat.

It’s worth spending a little cash to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to get a real flavor of America’s amazing history of immigrants arriving in the country.

If money’s running short then a quick check of’s benefits for getting money sent quickly and cheaply will ensure that more of New York’s attractions can be enjoyed.

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