Hello everyone, as many of you already know I recently visited New York City. My husband and I celebrated our 5th year wedding anniversary there. It was truly an amazing experience. I had so much fun going all over the place and just enjoying every single minute with my husband. When my husband first told me he wanted us to go to New York (about two months prior to our trip) I thought he was crazy! I literally had two months to plan a week in NYC. I did most of the planning since my husband was very busy with work. I am a frugal momma and love saving money any way possible. Here are some tips to help you save money in one of the most expensive cities in the United States.
1. Airplane tickets
I love booking flights through Expedia.Com I constantly checked the prices for the dates we were planning on going. I wanted to get an idea of the price range. Every day the price is different, sometimes it was $400 roundtrip per adult, other times it was $350 and one day I found it at $260 roundtrip and I booked right away. It took some time and patience, but it was worth it to save money.Total price for flights for both of us was $558.40 roundtrip including the travelers insurance. If the price is too high for the dates you are searching for, maybe you should consider going on other dates when it is not so expensive.
I also want to recommend checking out the airline websites, sometimes they have good deals going on and you can score better deals than Expedia.
When I was checking online websites such as Expedia.Com, Trivago.Com, Hotels.com I was very shocked to see how expensive hotels in NYC are. For the time we were visiting it ranged anywhere from $150-$300 per night not including resort fees. Most hotels were about $180 + resort fees/night+NY state taxes +NYC taxes. It was crazy the amount of fees added ? It would have come out to a little over $1,000 for one week. So we checked out Airbnb.Com, I was a little hesitant at the beginning. I had never booked through air bnb so I was very nervous. I noticed that the prices were so much cheaper!! We found a studio apartment in the city of Weehawken which is about 10-15 minutes away from NYC. 1 bedroom, living room, bathroom and kitchen. Plus it had free wifi ?? it cost us $56 per night+ $44 Air bnb service fee + $38 cleaning fee. A grand total of $306 for 4 nights! You can’t beat that price. We truly loved our studio it was conveniently located just two blocks from the shuttle that took us to NYC every day.
When did book a hotel near JFK airport the day we arrived from LAX for $67 and booked another hotel near Newark airport the day before we departed to LAX for $86. We did this to be closer to the airport upon our arrival and departure.
One very important tip I can give you is DO NOT RENT A CAR! It is a really big city that is congested with traffic so it will take you a long time to get around. On top of that you will have a really hard time finding parking, and when you do it will cost you $20-$30 per hour.
DO get a Metro card, my husband and I were going to be there for a whole week so we purchased the week pass which cost $30 each plus there’s a $1 fee for the card.
The Subway goes all over the city, it is a must do in New York.
DO Walk! There was times my husband and I were walking down streets and would find very interesting buildings and statues. We would not have found these places if we did not walk around.
Lyft and Uber App- We loved using the Lyft app we used it about 6-7 times during the whole week, we did not use the Uber app but it is very similar. I highly recommend to use the Lyft app instead of taking a taxi. There are many Lyft and Uber drivers all over the city that can pick you up wherever you are at in 1-3 minutes. You never have to deal with actual money everything is paid through the app. I loved it! I think it is fast, safe and cheap.
Pictures below are from the subway station
There’s tons of restaurants all over so it’s very hard to choose. My husband and I used the Yelp app to look for reviews and pictures. It helped us make decisions on where to eat. I honestly cannot remember every restaurant we went to and I did not take pictures of my food as often.
Shake Shack- this was my first time eating here I was looking forward to it because so many people recommended it. It honestly did not meet my expectations, I live in Southern California and I believe In-N-Out is 10x better. My husband did love it though, so of course this is just an opinion. Try it for yourself! I actually liked the burger, but not the fries.
5. Things to do
There is so much to see and do in the city of New York, here are some of the places my husband and I visited.
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
We purchased tickets to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with Statue Cruises. It cost us $18 per person, you can purchase tickets once you are there or you can also buy them online in advance at StatueCruises.Com. The ticket includes admission to the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum and access to the grounds of the Statue of Liberty.Your ticket also includes an audio tour for both places, you will get a remote looking speaker that will tell you all about the statue and Ellis Island. If you want to walk up to the pedestal and/or the crown make sure to purchase tickets way in advance. Tickets are limited to go to the crown and they normally sell out fast.
Tip: Food on the boat and at the Statue of Liberty are not good and expensive (in my opinion) so make sure to eat some good food before getting on this cruise.
Empire State Building
Visiting the Empire State Building was absolutely amazing, the view you get at the top is breathtaking. Tickets cost $32 per adult to go to the 86th floor and you can pay an additional $20 to go to the 102nd floor. We went during the day and at night time, you will get amazing views at any time. Buy tickets on their online website or you can purchase once you are there.
9/11 Memorial is such a heartbreaking place to visit, the memories that stay behind are super sad. You will see so many personal items and pieces of buildings and first responder burned cars. You are only allowed to take pictures until a certain point. Please be respectful of the victim’s families by not taking pictures of their personal items.
Its cost $24 per adult to visit the memorial, however they offer FREE admission on Tuesdays. You will need to make a reservation at 911memorial.Org to get tickets. Free admission tickets are limited! My husband and I went on the website on Monday night to make our reservation and received our tickets via e-mail if you do not have access to internet you must get there before 4 pm to get tickets. They are on a first come first serve basis, so make sure to get yours the night before.
Below you will see some pictures from the museum
My husband and I purchased a voucher for bike rentals in Central Park on Groupon.Com, it cost us $20 for all day bike rental per adult. Regular price was about $20 for just two hours. Although we only used the bikes for a little over two hours, getting the all day rentals made us stress free about time and actually enjoyed the park.
Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for free It is a little over one mile long, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes. You can also rent bikes and ride across the bridge. I noticed that the pathway for bicycles were very narrow and many people ride their bike super fast. I thought it was a bit dangerous for first timers and plus you get to enjoy so much more when you walk it. You can start either on the Brooklyn side or Manhattan.
Chinatown is awesome, theres many restaurants so it is hard to choose one to eat at. My husband and I ate at Joe’s Shanghai, we used the Yelp app to read reviews and see pictures. The food was delicious and if you like dumplings then make sure to order that, its their house speciality. After eating dinner at Joe’s we walked to get some ice cream at 10Below, it is amazing how they make the ice cream right in front of you. The ice cream is so delicious! I highly recommend this place. It gets very busy so you need to be a little patient in line and it also takes a few minutes for your ice cream to be ready. It costs about $7 each which is totally worth it.
Time Square reminded me so much of Hollywood, bright lights everywhere at night.
Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken
If you are a fan of “Cake Boss” from TLC then you know what Carlo’s Bakery is all about. There are a few Carlo’s Bakeries in New York, however the “original” one is in Hoboken, New Jersey. Hoboken is just 10-15 minutes away from Manhattan, my husband and I took the PATH for $2.75 each.This train is different from the Subway in New York, therefore your subway pass will not be valid here. If you get on the PATH near the World Trade Center it will take you directly to Hoboken Terminal. You will need to walk about 10 minutes from the terminal to the bakery. The walk was not bad at all, we actually enjoyed walking so much because we discovered so many places along the way.
Below are pictures from the bakery
Grand Central Terminal
I have seen this terminal a few times on television commercials so being there was really cool. They were actually filming at the time we visited which was very nice to see. This terminal is so beautiful in person, I took my time in there walking around and taking pictures.
George Washington Statue at Federal Hall
This is one of those things my husband and I “discovered” by walking around the city. We were so surprised and super excited to take pictures here to share with our friends and family. Located on Wall St.
Charging your phone
My husband and I were always walking around so much and we needed to charge our phone often. We would stop by Starbucks and checked out this small charger. The tables already have this sensor that connects to the white charger to charge your phone so awesome!! They have it available for iPhone and Samsung. (You will need your valid driver’s license or I.D). I also recommend you put your phone on airplane mode so it can charge faster.
Take comfortable shoes
You will walk so much, you will need super comfortable shoes. My first day in New York I wore boots and by the end of the day my feet were killing me. The rest of the week I wore my Nike shoes and it really makes a huge difference.
Take a camera and take a million pictures (or 100)
I went crazy with my camera and took pictures of everything that was around me lol, once I got back home to L.A I went through all the pictures and deleted the ones I did not like. I took over 1,000 pictures in one week!
For many of us this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, therefore have as much fun as possible.