The Big Apple has a reputation for being one of the priciest travel destinations in the world, but nevertheless it is still one that’s high up on a lot of peoples’ bucket lists. With the average price at a New York City hotel coming in at a whopping $254 per night according to research reports, this major city has the most expensive nightly rate in the whole of the U.S. And with prices like that, it’s no surprise that many travellers view visiting New York on a budget as impossible. 

However, aside from the pricey hotel prices, New York City can actually be a surprisingly good destination for budget travelers to visit, especially if you are willing to do some planning in advance. There are plenty of things that you can do in order to save money on your entire trip to New York City, from saving money on your airfare to finding the cheapest places to eat, getting discounted tickets to Broadway shows, saving money on getting around, and discovering places to see free of charge. We’ve put together some of the best tips to keep in mind if you want to visit NYC on a budget. 

#1. Saving on Your Air Tickets:

If you’re planning on flying into New York City, then the good news is that there are several different ways in which you can save money on your flights to New York. If you’re not concerned about flying into the major New York airports, then it may be worth discovering any smaller, lesser-used airports that are a little bit out of town and work out if the cost of getting from there to the big city is worth the savings that you will make. 

In addition, it could be worth also looking at smaller airports near you to fly out from to save money on the way there. If you’re flying from Canada or within the USA, then there are plenty of affordable airlines to check out in order to take advantage of the cheapest prices. You can find great deals with airlines like Porter, where they also boast quicker check-in times with shorter queues, fast gate access, no middle seats and even free drinks and snacks! Visit their website here to find out more.

#2. Study the Map First:

Planning your itinerary and determining which sights to see and when will help you avoid overspending on getting around, so that you can visit one area of the city each day of your trip. For example, you could visit Central Park and Times Square one day and Wall Street and the Statue of Liberty another; helping you make the most of the time that you have in the city and ensuring that you only spend what you need to on taxis, Ubers and subway tickets. 

#3. Get to Grips with the Subway:

On the subject of getting around the city, it’s a good idea to avoid getting taxis wherever possible and opt to ride the subway instead. Spending some time beforehand getting the know the subway system in the city and learning your way around will make it easier for you to take advantage of this much cheaper and often faster method of getting about in the Big Apple. Hailing a yellow taxi might seem an appealing and very touristic thing to do, but it can set you back quite a bit, plus you’re likely to be stuck in traffic. 

#4. Avoid Tourist Traps:

If you want to save money during your trip to New York, then one of the best things that you can do is understand where the biggest tourist traps are and avoid them at all costs. Be mindful when visiting areas such as Times Square or Central Park, as there’ll always be somebody wanting to sell you something and it can be easy to end up spending more money than you’d bargained for. And, you can always spend your time during your trip exploring residential neighborhoods like Tribeca, NoHo, and Greenwich Village, which have a lot to offer and allow you to see and explore the real side of New York without breaking the bank. 

#5. Consider Getting a Tourist Pass:

If you want to see and explore as many tourist attractions as possible during your trip, then it might be worth looking into getting a tourist pass. These passes are available for a certain number of days and will allow you to jump the queue for entry into some of New York’s biggest attractions, rather than paying at the box office for them all individually. There’s a variety of options to choose from such as the New York Pass or CityPass, which give you entry into tons of attractions for a certain number of days and are well worth the price, with massive savings to be made if you’re planning on visiting as many attractions as you can while you are there. 

#6. Check for Reduced Admission Days:

If you want to spend some time visiting museums while you’re in the Big Apple, then you’re in luck, with plenty of great options to choose from. However, looking for reduced or even free admission days is a great way to save even more money on exploring the history and art available in the city. Check the websites of each museum to discover when their free or reduced-price admission days are. For example, you can visit the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) every Friday between 16:00-20:00 free of charge. It’s also worth checking the website for any coupons or discounts you can take advantage of before you go, too. 

#7. Know Where to Find the Freebies:

Despite it having a reputation as being one of the most expensive cities to visit, there are actually plenty of free attractions and activities to take advantage of in the Big Apple. Central Park is one of the best free attractions to visit and there are always musicians and street performers there who’ll put on amazing shows that you won’t have to pay a cent to see, although donations are always welcomed. The High Line is an unmissable public park created from an old elevated rail line, and the Downtown Boathouse is a great day out, offering free public kayaking programs. 

#8. Take the Ferry:

If you’re including a trip over to Staten Island in your visit to New York City, then taking the Staten Island ferry is the best way to get there. It’s free of charge and you can enjoy some fantastic views of New York Harbor on your way over. Watch out for the pricey, touristy harbor cruises – they look enticing, but will set you back a fair amount. 

#9. Stock Up on Coupons:

Last but not least, there are plenty of places in the Big Apple where a coupon will save you a decent amount of money. Before you leave, get online and search for all the best coupons for attractions, eateries, and anything else that you want to do in NYC. Groupon and LivingSocial are some of the best sites to visit, offering coupons and vouchers for spas, shopping, attraction admissions, eating out, and much more. 

When it comes to visiting New York on a budget, don’t let the high hotel prices in the city put you off. Once you’ve paid for your room, there are plenty of ways to offset the cost with cheap, free and discounted things to do in the city.