New York City on a Budget

Earlier this year I impulsively bought flights for a week in the famous New York City, not realising, until closer to the time of the trip, so a bit too late, that New York isn’t a cheap place. My trip to New York was just for a week but I had to budget smart to ensure my money would last, I wouldn’t starve and I could still check out the many iconic sights and what the city has to offer. I definitely wasn’t eating out at any of New York’s finest restaurants. Being on a budget in NYC isn’t easy. Their sale tax isn’t included in the price advertised on items such as food,  there’s tipping too and New York is just straight out not cheap. It’s a big city and I knew I couldn’t get around only on foot like I usually do when I travel to European cities so I purchased  a weekly metro card. Now that worked out as very good value for money. After over a yer of navigating the London Underground, the subway in New York was a cinch to use. But nothing will beat the tube. Sure I can get mobile service on the subway and it’s not as hot as the pits of hell (ahem central line looking at you) but the subway trains were often late, don’t run as often and had a tendency to change from a stops all stations to an express train part way through, resulting in me missing my stop a few times.

I picked a hostel in the Upper West Side, an area recommended to me by others. The hostel had a little cafe and self catering facilities, which always helps when eating on a budget. They also offered lots of social activities, some that were free, perfect for the solo traveller. These types of hostels are the ones were I always meet so many interesting people.

I bought a NewYorkPass from a UK site that offers discounts on attraction passes. This pass allowed me entry and skip the links to 6 major attractions in NYC: The Empire State Building, The Met Museum, The Natural History Museum, 9/11 Memorial Museum, top of the Rock and a boat cruise to both Ellis Island and Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. Those 6 attractions and some of the social activities from the hostel made up my Itinerary for the week. I had plenty to keep me busy. I also filled out my days checking out a lot of the iconic, yet free, New York City tourist attractions such as Times Square, the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Bridge and Grand Central Station. I ate popular New York foods such as bagels for breakfast and pizza for lunch. I explored Central Park, looking beautiful covered in Autumn colours, possibly the prettiest park of New York.

I had a spontaneous catch up with an old photography friends from Melbourne. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years but on the Monday she messaged me saying she was on her way to NYC too so we decided to meet for NY pizza on the Tuesday afternoon. 10/10 would highly recommended Prince St Pizza. So good that I had to line up for second slice. On Wednesday we met for bagels. Sitting in a cosy little deli, eating our bagels whilst it started to snow outside. Of course being ex-photography students we couldn’t help ourselves but head out into the snow fall to take photos. It was cold, so very cold, but so much fun. I’ll never get over how transformed a city is when it’s covered in white.

I had a little bit of money left and some time to kill before heading to the airport, so I made my way to Macy’s, in midtown Manhattan, the worlds largest department store. I treated myself to a new red lippy. I then made my way to check out the Flat Iron building, but more importantly to find a cafe up the road to try one more American food. Pumpkin Pie. It was delicious, I’m going to try make it myself some time.

I was very hesitant about going to New York, It wasn’t one of my more thought out trips this year. It’s not my favourite city that’s for sure but I did enjoy exploring the city Ive grown up seeing in movies and TV shows.

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