A few months ago I was granted the opportunity to visit America in an adventure that beats any other I’ve had in my life so far (I have a tremendous backlog of posts I need to write for this). During my ten weeks in The States I learnt a lot about America and it’s culture, about travelling and also how not to bankrupt myself whilst having the experience of a lifetime. I finished my trip in New York, which was incredible, but also conveniently the most expensive of my American destinations. On my shoestring budget I still managed to have a fantastic time so keep reading for my 5 ways to save money in NYC so you can too!
1. Use public transport where possible. You can get a week long subway pass for about $30 and it will take you pretty much everywhere you need to go. A single taxi ride alone could be more expensive. If you absolutely need to get a car somewhere (we did to get to the airport on short notice) use ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft and always be sure to check out the web for some money off codes as both companies are great for them.
2. Don’t buy directly from the box office. One of the main appeals of New York for many visitors is going to see a show. Aim for off-peak times for cheaper tickets – you’re not going to get good rates for a show on a Saturday evening. Try afternoon shows or off-broadway shows to cut back expenses.
3. Play hard to get. It’s the oldest trick in the book, but it pays to act uninterested. As I was under 21 evening activities for me were somewhat restricted, especially considering we were all rapidly running out of money. Because of this two of our four nights in New York we went to see comedy shows and they were fantastic. Times Square is a breeding ground for ticket vendors and once one has your attention they will do pretty much anything to keep it including drastically reducing their prices. On our first night we managed to get tickets down from $40 to just $5. Do I believe they were ever $40 to begin with? No. But $5 is still an incredible deal. Don’t be afraid to bargain a bit – this applies to bus tours too!
4. Eat like the locals. We made the mistake of turning up to Times Square at lunch time. Don’t be that guy – anything in that area is going to cost you an arm and a leg. We learned from our mistake and during the rest of our stay ate at some amazing ethnic restaurants and Irish pubs. It’s also worth mentioning when in New York it’s a rite of passage to try a slice of pizza. Not only is it cheap (I got a huge slice and a drink for $3) and absolutely delicious there are loads of gluten free and vegetarian options too!
5. Remember that the best things in life are free. Some of my favourite memories from New York are just walking around and taking in the sights. Whether it be marvelling at the greenery in Central Park or watching the sun set over the water. New York has something for everyone and don’t be fooled into thinking you have to spend a fortune to enjoy it.
What about you guys? What are your best money saving tips for New York or other expensive cities? Let me know!