I was looking to book my usual December birthday holiday in October and couldn’t really decide on where to go. Nowhere I looked at was leaping off my laptop screen and shouting ‘VISIT ME’. My mum suggested New York City as she had visited on a layover earlier in the year. After a little umhhing it was decided NYC was the one, just not for a birthday due to expense. Yet another reason why a December birthday sucks! After a little shopping around we managed to get quite the little bargain break, and here’s how…
It can’t just be me that browses Skyscanner on the daily, right? I love putting in nearby airports and any destination to see if there are any super cheap flights… Maybe I should get our more! As soon as we had decided on New York City it was straight to Skyscanner to find the cheapest time to go. We originally tried April time but the flights were too expensive. We managed to work the dates so that we could get return flights for £300pp with Thomas Cook at the end of February. After waiting a few days to see if the prices dropped, we snapped the flights up. They fell by £30 two weeks later but we had already booked by then.
It definitely pays to be flexible with dates, as if we had stuck to April then we would have been looking at £500+ just for flights. At the time BA had New York City package deals on for £500pp however, they were from London airports only – WHY BA, WHY?!
My mum was adamant that she wanted to stay in, or near to Times Square. I wasn’t really fussed where we stayed as long as we had somewhere nice to lay of an evening. We initially used hotels.com to book as they offer free cancellation on many hotels, meaning that you can secure somewhere to stay but keep your options open. We booked the Hudson Hotel for £400 for 4 nights & were happy with our choice except it was a double room. Having shared beds whilst travelling in the past this wasn’t really a deal breaker. But, we would have preferred a twin room due to the fact we would want to sprawl out in bed after a long day of exploring.
In the end we decided to change hotels so we could get a twin room. We opted for the Moxy Hotel Times Square which is the Marriot chains younger millennial sister. It nudged our cost up to £550 for 4 nights but we were happy to pay it so we could have the pleasure of our own beds.
*For the purposes of a bargain post headline, I am using the original price that we got a hotel for. Don’t @ me.
I haven’t included transfers in my costing as depending on how you like to travel there are many options. When we booked our final hotel with Agoda there was the option to add on transfers for around £35 each way, which seemed like quite a bargain. We eventually decided to pass on this option though as we knew immigration at JFK was unpredictable; we didn’t want to book a transfer for a certain time then miss it due to queues… It actually took me 2.5 hours to get through immigration.
In the end we used an app called Via to get from New York City JFK to our hotel. Via is like Uber Pool in that it’s a ride-sharing app where you can share a taxi with other people. Via is a lot cheaper than Uber Pool though, so it makes it’s great if you’re on a budget. We ended up paying $50 for the ride which would have cost us around $70 in a yellow cab. Using the subway would have been cheaper, but after an early start, 7 hour flight and forever in immigration, we just wanted to get to our hotel and freshen up.
The app is fairly cheap when it comes to travelling throughout Manhattan too. We used it to travel from Times Square to the 9/11 Memorial Fountains and it only cost $8.50! It’s a flat rate which you can see before you ride, so there are no surprise fees. Use code hayley2b4 for $20 free ride credit when you take your first ride & download here.