If you follow me over on Twitter you might have seen that I booked tickets to go to New York next year. And if you’re not following me on Twitter then you need to have a word with yourself. The trip is booked for the end of February for 4 nights, so with my birthday and Christmas on the horizon, there’s not much time to save some pennies for the trip and pay for it. Due to this I’ve had to plan out every detail of travel and what to do whilst there, so I can get a good idea of how much I need to save and budget. Everyone seemed really surprised that I’d managed to plan out and cost up the full trip itinerary within 2 days of booking flights, so I thought I’d share my tips and plans with you, just in case you ever find yourself booking a trip to NYC with minimal budget…
We were actually looking for a long weekend in Iceland when we stumbled across some deals by British Airways that were around £470pp return with a hotel however, they were flights from London and living up north means it’s an added cost of about £200 to get there. Once we’d seen the deal we started searching for NYC and using Skyscanner I managed to find return flights from Manchester to JFK for £400 for 3 nights, but using their month planner I got the flights cheaper at £300pp return for 4 nights… It pays to be flexible with dates.
Flights booked it was time to get a hotel, which wasn’t an easy task as we both wanted to stay in different areas; Times Square vs Little Italy. We settled on Times Square and took to Hotels.com to find the right one. In order to spread the cost a little, we went for the pay later option which means we can pay at the hotel when we arrive and not suddenly have to find £550 to book it today. Paying later also means that we can take advantage of the free cancellation in case we find something different or cheaper. For us taking advantage of the pay later option was better for our budgets, but you could also consider using a credit card or instant loan to spread the cost if you have a limited immediate budget but need to book everything immediately. We went for the Hudson New York hotel as it’s on a good transport line and also nearby to where we want to start our days whilst there.
As soon as I had booked flights I took to Twitter, Pinterest and Youtube to seek our reviews and vlogs. With a million and one things to do in NYC no amount of time spent there will ever tick off all you want to do, so I wanted to make sure we weren’t wasting time doing things or seeing sights that were just a bit meh. I already had in my head a list of things I certainly wanted to tick off, but I also wanted some pointers on where’s good for food and pics. I found this post from Charlie Distracted really helpful as it rates the most popular eateries in NYC and if they live up to the hype, which helped me to cross off some places from my list and add some others. Emma from Emma Inks also has many helpful posts on NYC, especially if you’re looking to check out the alternative side of it.
Definitely check out as many sources as you can to help you get a feel for what you want to do, how it all fits into a day plan and how to do it on a budget. I found Pinterest really helpful for free things to do in NYC posts and posts on how to spend under $100 a day as a tourist there.
So within 2 days I had a full itinerary which I had mapped out, costed up and timed… Yes, I need to get out more. This was definitely the hardest part of the process, as locating places on Google maps and mapping things out that are close together is quite time-consuming. I started by splitting each day into a section, i.e. Lower Manhattan one day, Midtown the next, then plotted out what I wanted to do in each zone and mapped out the closest things then worked them into a day plan. Once I had that figured out I moved onto food, checking out what places I wanted to eat were in each area and checking out the menus where I could to budget how much a meal would cost there. Obviously, the days may not turn out 100% as I plan, but it’s good to have a base to work from, and there are some options in for foodie places to pick from once we get there.
To help lower the daily cost I’ve asked for a City Pass 3 for my birthday which takes the cost of 3 attractions out of my hands, saving me around $80, so if you have a birthday or Christmas coming up before a trip, I’d really recommend asking for a City Pass for your destination as a gift.
So that’s basically it, all I have left to do now is save up some pennies and pay for the remaining balances… no easy thing when the holidays are coming up. If you have any NYC tips or things for me to add to my itinerary drop me a comment and let me know, as I don’t want to miss anything…