Budgeting Your Trip to…New York City

New York, New York — a heckuva town. The largest city in the United States, it is the one with the ‘most’. The most cosmopolitan, the most theaters, the most restaurants, the most neighborhoods, etc. The city and its boroughs encompass thousands of things to see and do in only a few square miles, including sightseeing, eating, shopping, and taking in a show. And because of this there’s one more ‘most’…the most expensive.

Yes, a trip to Manhattan is not cheap unless you live within driving or train distance from one of the suburbs within the Megalopolis of the Eastern Seaboard. Getting and staying there are just two items that will pinch the purse strings. Throw in sightseeing and dining, for example, and a New York City vacation can crimp a bank account. It requires budgeting and a good deal of research ahead of time to make a trip to the Big Apple pleasurable. Here are a few things to consider.

Getting There

The good news is there are several airport options to get into New York City. John F. Kennedy International is the closest option to get into the city as well as the priciest. Further out is LaGuardia International Airport and, across the river in New Jersey, visitors can fly into Newark Liberty International Airport. For those willing to drive a few hours into the city, flying into Philadelphia International Airport is also an option. Check with your local travel agent or online site to get the best rate.

Getting Around

Thinking of driving around Manhattan? Don’t. They say New York is the city that never sleeps, so this means the streets are constantly packed with traffic 24 hours a day. Best to budget in  a comfortable pair of shoes, and walk the streets of New York. Not only is this free but you also get a sense of the neighborhoods and gives you an opportunity to discover local haunts that would be passed by, albeit slowly, in a vehicle. The second option is to take the subway. The days of graffiti-strewn train cars and danger at every stop are gone for the most part, making the NYC Subway is an inexpensive and easy way to get across town. And the best part is the subway offers stops at most of the tourist attractions in Manhattan and the boroughs.

Staying There

Staying in New York isn’t as expensive as you may think. Depending on the time of year and the period of days you visit, accommodations may only run a little more than $100 a night within the city. The best way to save money is to look into the boutique hotels in the area. They may not be in the heart of the city but they’ll contain all of their amenities and be a few short blocks from the main attractions. A second option is to stay in areas outside of the city, like Northern New Jersey or Long Island. These accommodations are a few miles drive from public transportation like the Long Island Railroad or the PATH.

What to do

The good thing about traveling to New York City is, other than budgeting for Broadway shows or dining opportunities, many things are free. For example, you can walk through Central Park without paying a dime or gawk at the lights of Time Square or take a stroll along the river at Battery Park. You can even walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for no money. Just make sure you budget cash in for some resting beverages or a new pair of walking shoes.

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