Today, I wanted to share with you a few ways that you can save money when booking a trip to New York because as expensive as it can be, there really is a way to get to New York on a budget – believe me, I’ve done it myself a couple of times.
New York is somewhere I could visit time and time again – I’ve been a few times in the last couple of years and we have another trip booked for December this year so we can go and see our favourite city at Christmas time.
The last time we were there was in February and I actually shared each day’s itinerary as a separate blog post if you’re interested as we’re quite budget conscious when we’re there and try to mix in lots of free activities and sightseeing with a couple of the big attractions that we really want to do.
One thing I didn’t cover in much detail in my little series of posts was how to save book your actual trip to New York on a budget which is what I wanted to pick up today. After all, the less money you spend on your trip, the more money you have to spend while you’re there.
How to book your trip to New York on a budget
(I know this post is quite a niche one as I know that not everyone wants to (or can afford to) book a trip to New York but I often get emailed to ask me for some tips so I *think* that at least some of you will find this interesting. ;-))
Be clever with the hotel you choose
This is my biggest tip to help you book New York on a budget – do your research before you even consider booking and absolutely don’t choose your hotel based on what the hotel itself is actually like! Obviously, that’s a factor but a much bigger factor should be where the hotel itself is located and more importantly, what’s around it.
We always stay in the same hotel when we visit New York and have done since the first time we went. The Hilton Doubletree Metropolitan, Midtown, is listed as a four-star and it’s a lovely hotel with really nice staff but there’s no doubt that some rooms are nicer than others. We stay there because we love the location – it’s five minutes walk from 5th Avenue, Grand Central Station and the all-important Bath and Bodyworks (for the teen not me) and just 10 minutes walk from places like Central Park and the Rockefeller centre.
For places further afield, you literally walk out of the hotel and the subway station is right there which would be great if we were OK using the subway – we had a bad experience last time but next time we’re going to try again. 😉
Each time we’ve been we’ve explored a bit more of the area around the hotel so we now know that it the streets behind it (the opposite direction to Fifth Avenue) we can find a Panda Express, a McDonalds, a Chipotle and a bakery all within five minutes walk. These are great places to eat on a budget and because they’re away from the main touristy areas they’re not crammed with people. We also love that there’s a mini supermarket just across the street and a Starbucks just a minute’s walk away.
Our choice of hotel saves us a fortune while we’re there because of where it is and what’s around it so we can ignore the fact that the rooms might be a bit dark (just the last time we stayed so far) and the bathrooms are teeny tiny (again just the last time we stayed) because we know it’s just a base for us and as far as bases go, it’s perfect!
Consider what area you want to be in and what you want to be around it – you might eat out more than we do in nice places so having cheaper restaurants close by might not be as important to you and you might be OK with paying Uber/Taxi fares more than we are so the walking distance might not be important at all to you.
Choose the company you’re booking with wisely!
I always book with British Airways which isn’t necessarily the cheapest company but it does work out well for us. They are actually really reasonable and do connecting flights from our local airport for very little which means Mr Frugal (who isn’t a huge traveller) can drop me and Miss Frugal off at the airport with our bags, which we then don’t see again until we land in JFK and then pick us up again when we get home. He likes the reassurance of knowing that he’s seen us on to the plane practically and that we’re with a company who he feels are reputable and I like the fab experience we’ve always had with BA and also the fact that we’ve been upgraded twice now on our travels with them.
Use cashback sites
British Airways, Virgin and lots of the other operators who you can use to book your trip to New York are on the cashback sites so you can get a reasonable amount of cashback on your trip.
Make sure you have a good look around and that you have the best prices available and then when you’ve chosen the one you’re going to book, clear your cache and cookies and go through one of the cashback companies to book your trip.
Even a small percentage of cashback will add up when you consider how much you’re spending!
Consider when to travel
There are definitely cheaper times of the year to travel to New York so the time of year that you’re visiting makes a huge difference. The cheapest time to visit New York on a budget is on weekends from mid-January to the end of February which is how we got such a good deal when we travelled in February.
I would say though that although the skies were very blue during our last trip, it was COLD so it might be cheaper to travel off-peak but there’s a reason for it. Because we were prepared for it and we actually don’t mind the cold, it didn’t affect our enjoyment of the trip at all other than when we walked to the Highline one afternoon and climbed the steps planning to walk along the park that’s been made from an old disused railway. Because it was higher up off the street level, the cold wind was so biting that we literally walked up the steps, took a look around and walked right back down them again.
Don’t book your insurance with the company you book your trip with
Or if you do, at least look around first and make sure it’s the cheapest available.
I usually buy a Worldwide annual family policy but this year I get that with my Nationwide bank account so I don’t need to do that. I’ve always reviewed each year using cashback sites and over the last couple of years, I’ve had great deals, with cashback, from both Debenhams (I know, who knew?) and the Post Office so it’s absolutely worth comparing prices and levels of cover before going ahead.
So there you have it, five ways to book New York on a budget!
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