How to do NYC on the Cheap


According to CNN Money, airfare is the lowest it's been in seven years. Why not seize the opportunity to see the greatest city in the world? It's been waiting for you (those were lyrics from Hamilton and Taylor Swift, respectively). New York City doesn't have to be expensive. If you know a few simple tricks, it could be one of the best values out there.

1. Go for vacation rentals over hotels

Even a cheap hotel in Manhattan can cost around $200 a night. But sites like AirBnB, VRBO and HomeAway have much better deals. This is because they don't find hotel deals - they offer vacation rentals. You can choose between a few options: rent a whole apartment, rent a private room in a shared apartment or rent a bed in a shared room. You can browse reviews to make sure you're staying somewhere safe and clean and save hundreds of dollars in the process. Or you can splurge for a high-rise apartment and pretend you're Christian Grey for a night.

2. Find free stuff

There are tons of museums and exhibits in NYC that offer free admission. For example, from 5 p.m.-close on Tuesdays, The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is free. The New York Public Library is always free. To see all the free admission museums, see this list from NYCgo.com. Another gem is The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has a suggested ticket price of $25 per adult. However, they're serious about it being a suggestion. You can slide a penny across the admissions counter and get in to see some of the most famous art in the world.

3. Get rush tickets for top Broadway shows

Many Broadway shows offer a "rush" ticket option. This means you can wait outside the ticket office when it opens (usually around 10 a.m.) and buy tickets for a third of regular admission costs (so a $90 ticket could actually cost around $30). Most limit the purchase to two tickets per person and some require student ID (although they're pretty loose about this, in my experience). To find out the policy for each show, Playbill compiles a handy guide. You may be shoved WAY in the corner, but the theaters are pretty small, so even terrible seats are excellent seats if it means having an inexpensive Broadway experience.

4. Rock that public transportation

It's tempting to get a cab or call an Uber because of the convenience and speed, but you could end up paying significantly less if you take public transportation. Subway stations and bus stops are conveniently located everywhere and apps like Moovit can help you navigate the city with ease. A trip from LaGuardia airport to Times Square in a cab will take 35 minutes and is estimated to cost $40.25. The same trip using a bus and a subway will take an hour and cost $5.50. Plus, it's the real NYC experience to cram in with a bunch of strangers underground.

Asia Dekle runs a professional writing business from her home in Sarasota, Florida. She's a proud BYU grad and she enjoys exploring local beaches, seeing foreign movies and traveling the world with her husband. Follow her on Instagram: @asiadekle and Twitter: @asiadekle.