New York is one of the most popular and exciting destinations in the world, but it can also be very expensive. If you are planning to visit the Big Apple, you might be wondering how to budget your trip and save money on your travel expenses. In this blog post, I will share with you some tips and tricks on how to travel to New York on a budget, without compromising on the quality and fun of your experience.

Choose the best time to visit

The first thing you need to consider when planning your trip to New York is the timing. The prices of flights, hotels, and attractions can vary significantly depending on the season, the holidays, and the events happening in the city. Generally speaking, the cheapest months to visit New York are January, February, and March, when the weather is cold and the tourist crowds are low. The most expensive months are June, July, and August, when the weather is hot and humid and the city is packed with visitors. However, you can also find good deals in the shoulder seasons of April, May, September, and October, when the weather is pleasant and the city is less busy.

Another factor to consider is the day of the week. The weekends are usually more expensive than the weekdays, especially for hotels and flights. If you can, try to avoid traveling on Fridays and Sundays, and opt for midweek days instead. You can also save money by booking your flights and hotels well in advance, or by taking advantage of last-minute deals and discounts.

Find the best accommodation

The second thing you need to budget for your trip to New York is the accommodation. New York is known for having some of the most expensive hotels in the world, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to find a decent place to stay. There are many options for budget travelers, such as hostels, guesthouses, Airbnb, and couchsurfing. You can also save money by choosing a location that is outside of the main tourist areas, such as New Jersey, where you can find cheaper and more authentic accommodation options. However, make sure that the place you choose is safe, clean, and well-connected to public transportation, so you can easily access the attractions and activities you want to do.

Use public transportation

The third thing you need to budget for your trip to New York is the transportation. New York has one of the best public transportation systems in the world, and you can use it to get around the city easily and cheaply. The subway, the bus, and the ferry are the main modes of public transportation in New York, and they cover most of the areas and attractions you will want to visit. You can buy a single ride ticket for $2.75, or you can buy a MetroCard, which is a reusable card that you can load with money and use for multiple rides. The MetroCard also gives you discounts and free transfers between the subway and the bus. The best option for budget travelers is to buy a 7-day unlimited MetroCard for $33, which allows you to use the subway and the bus as much as you want for a week. You can also use the MetroCard to take the AirTrain to and from the airport, which costs $7.75 per ride.

Another option for getting around New York is to use a bike. New York has a bike-sharing system called Citi Bike, which allows you to rent a bike from one of the many stations around the city and return it to another station. You can buy a day pass for $12, which gives you unlimited 30-minute rides for 24 hours, or a 3-day pass for $24, which gives you unlimited 30-minute rides for 72 hours. Biking is a great way to explore the city, especially the parks, the bridges, and the waterfronts, and it can also save you money and time.

Eat and drink smart

The fourth thing you need to budget for your trip to New York is the food and drink. New York is a food lover’s paradise, and you can find cuisines from all over the world, from fine dining to street food. However, eating out in New York can also be very expensive, especially if you go to the touristy areas and the popular restaurants. To save money on food and drink, you can follow these tips:

  • Cook your own meals. If you stay in a hostel, a guesthouse, or an Airbnb, you can use the kitchen facilities to prepare your own meals. You can buy groceries from the supermarkets, the farmers’ markets, or the ethnic stores, and cook some simple and healthy dishes. You can also pack your own snacks and drinks for the day, and avoid buying them from the vending machines or the convenience stores.
  • Eat at local and ethnic restaurants. If you want to eat out, you can find cheaper and more authentic food options at the local and ethnic restaurants, especially in the neighborhoods of Chinatown, Little Italy, Koreatown, and Harlem. You can also look for the daily specials, the happy hours, and the coupons that some restaurants offer.
  • Eat street food. Another way to eat cheap and delicious food in New York is to eat street food. You can find food carts, trucks, and stands all over the city, selling everything from hot dogs and pizza to falafel and tacos. You can also visit the food markets, such as Smorgasburg, Chelsea Market, and The Halal Guys, where you can sample a variety of dishes from different vendors.
  • Drink water. The tap water in New York is safe and clean to drink, and you can refill your water bottle at any of the public fountains or sinks around the city. Drinking water will keep you hydrated and healthy, and it will also save you money on buying bottled water or soda.

Enjoy free and cheap attractions

The fifth thing you need to budget for your trip to New York is the attractions and activities. New York has countless things to see and do, from museums and monuments to shows and events. However, many of the attractions and activities in New York are also very expensive, especially if you buy the tickets at the door or online. To save money on attractions and activities, you can follow these tips:

  • Get a city pass. If you want to visit some of the major attractions in New York, such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you can buy a city pass, which is a bundle of tickets that gives you access to multiple attractions for a discounted price. There are different types of city passes, such as the New York Pass, the New York CityPASS, and the New York Explorer Pass, and you can choose the one that suits your itinerary and budget. However, make sure that you compare the prices and the benefits of each pass, and that you plan your schedule well, so you can make the most of your pass.
  • Visit the free and pay-what-you-wish attractions. There are also many attractions and activities in New York that are free or pay-what-you-wish, which means that you can enter for free or for a donation of any amount. Some of the free and pay-what-you-wish attractions in New York are the Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, the High Line, the 9/11 Memorial, the Staten Island Ferry, the Grand Central Terminal, the New York Public Library, the Museum of Modern Art (on Fridays from 4 to 8 pm), the American Museum of Natural History (pay-what-you-wish), and the Guggenheim Museum (pay-what-you-wish on Saturdays from 5 to 8 pm).
  • Look for the free and cheap events. New York is also a city that never sleeps, and there are always events and festivals happening throughout the year. Many of these events and festivals are free or cheap to attend, and they can give you a taste of the culture and the vibe of the city. Some of the free and cheap events and festivals in New York are the Broadway Week, the Restaurant Week, the SummerStage, the Shakespeare in the Park, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting, and the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop.


New York is a dream destination for many travelers, but it can also be a nightmare for your wallet. However, with some planning and creativity, you can travel to New York on a budget and have an amazing time. By following the tips and tricks I shared with you in this blog post, you can save money on your flights, hotels, transportation, food, and attractions, and enjoy the best of New York without breaking the bank. I hope you found this blog post helpful and informative, and I hope you have a wonderful trip to New York. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading and happy travels!