New York is a famously expensive city, but our travel expert finds the wallet-friendly options for city views, walks, authentic NYC meals and well-located accommodation.
I was a student when I first travelled to New York, so I quickly realised I needed to find a cheaper way of enjoying my favourite place in the whole world ... and it was easier than I expected. First of all, there’s heaps of fun stuff to do that’s completely free.
The High Line in Chelsea is an old disused above-ground section of a rail line, which is now used as a park. Nestled in the heart of the trendy Meatpacking District, it’s a stunning boardwalk that offers spectacular views of the whole of Manhattan and the Hudson River, plus it’s lined with coffee shops and artworks.
Times Square is always free and buzzing with vibrant energy. You can get photos with the people dressed as movie characters walking around (tipping them is not obligatory). Then walk from Times Square to Central Park, where you can walk around all day and not get bored. If you get peckish, stop by a hot dog stand and grab a $2 snack, or even stop by Crave, which has the best New York pizza, salads and wraps and is really cheap.
Tipping is always 10-15 per cent of the total bill and only expected if you sit down to eat. Take-away places don’t expect it so stick to take-away pizza in your hostel room or a park and you’ve got New York City on a shoestring sorted!
Everyone knows Manhattan itself is not exactly budget-friendly, but you don’t need to stay right in the thick of it to have an amazing experience. I would recommend staying in Harlem, Brooklyn or Long Island. The YMCA Harlem is a hostel popular with youngsters and it's cheap by Manhattan standards. It’s situated right near four subway lines and attractions like the Apollo Theater and the 125th street shopping district.
Super 8 Long Island City
Super 8 Long Island City is another good choice for those on a budget. The location is a little further out, but you can easily jump on the subway and make your way into Manhattan every day.
- Belinda Curtis, Travel Consultant, Flight Centre Bourke Street, Vic