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New York City travel deals
Pound the pavement without smashing your budget.
Sky-high towers, melting pot flavors and contagious creative energy make NYC a can’t-miss destination. Plan an economical trip by taking advantage of discounts and low-cost sightseeing.
How to travel cheap to NYC
Experience the magic of bright lights and pizza slices the size of your face without breaking open your piggy bank.
Time of year
Peak season in NYC hovers around the winter holidays. Flights and accommodations will likely cost more if you visit NYC in late November through December and New Year’s Eve.
To save money, consider planning a trip in January or February when flights and hotels are at their cheapest.
But if you can’t stand the cold, book in late April through June or September through early November for reasonable rates.
The cheapest flights to NYC are usually found in January and February. However, booking with a budget airline like Frontier or Spirit could save you a chunk of change year-round.
Compare airports — John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia, or Newark Liberty International — to find the cheapest touch-down spots, and consider taking a red-eye to cut fares. Browse our guide to cheap flights to NYC to glean pro tips on passage to Gotham.
Plan ahead to save sightseeing funds. When creating your budget, be sure to:
- Visit free or discounted museums. Tickets to certain museums can cost upwards of $25. Instead, research which NYC museums offer free admission or suggested donation. Admission to the New York Botanical Garden grounds is free Wednesdays and from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday. And the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is pay-what-you-wish on Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m.
- Bring your student ID. Most NYC museums offer discounted rates for individuals in school.
- Steer clear of tourist traps. Live like a local to save money in NYC. Instead of Times Square, spend time in Tribeca, Chinatown or the Lower East Side. Check out comedy shows at indie bars rather than major venues, and eat at local cafés.
- Take advantage of public transportation. Catch glorious views of the Statue of Liberty on the free Staten Island Ferry. Likewise, the Roosevelt Island Tramway provides aerial views of the island for just $2.75. Between MTA subways spanning the length of Manhattan and its outer boroughs, and buses providing above-ground transit, you can get anywhere in the city for just a few bucks.
- Enjoy public landmarks. Washington Square Park. The Highline. Brooklyn Bridge. Many of NYC’s most popular landmarks are free to see, after subway fare.
Hotels near Times Square and on the Upper East Side are the most expensive, so budget travelers should stay off the beaten track. Think Brooklyn, Queens or a residential neighborhood in Manhattan.
NYC also has some decent hostels for solo travelers, and you can find a gem of a short-term rental on Airbnb.
If you’re sold on staying in a hotel, visit during the off-season between January to February or in early autumn to get the best deal.
What about last-minute travel?
An impromptu jaunt to the Big Apple is like a shot of caffeine straight to the soul. If you can’t wait another second, shop sites like Expedia.com and Orbitz that offer discounted rates. Scour Airbnb for rooms in the outer boroughs, and plan on indulging in street food rather than white tablecloth dining.
A trip to Gotham doesn’t have to break the bank. The key to getting the best NYC travel deals is to plan ahead on the off-season and favor attractions without fees.
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