New York is a city unlike any other; its vibrant history and diverse culture make it one of the most unique places to visit in the world. Another thing that is well-known about New York is that it is not a place that is easy to visit on the cheap – although it is by no means impossible! Savvy travelers will need to plan carefully and know what to expect. There are plenty of ways to reduce the overall cost of a trip to New York, but it will still end up more expensive than a super-budget trip to most other big cities (though there are many that give NYC a run for its money).



That being said, the incredible experience of visiting New York is something no traveler should pass up. True, you might need to save a little longer to manage the expenses, but it will be incredibly worthwhile. It is also worth noting that once you’re in the city itself, there are many things you can do that are free or heavily discounted – knowing where and when to look is the key.

Find Free Activities

New York has more free activities than you might think. For one, simply wandering around the city, taking in the incredible skyscrapers and architecture, could easily fill an entire trip. Central Park is also completely free to visit and can be a wonderful change of pace from the towering concrete skyscrapers of Manhattan. There are also free outdoor art installations, free days at some of NYC’s many museums, and much more. Do some research ahead of your trip to find out what kind of free activities you could enjoy on your visit.


Visit In The Off-Peak Season

Like most cities, New York has a peak and off-peak season. During peak seasons, you can expect masses of tourists and a significant hike in prices for everything from accommodation to transport to dining. It makes clear financial sense to visit NYC during the off-peak season – not only will the streets be less busy (though NYC streets could never truly be called quiet), but you will also get the best deals. Peak season in NYC typically includes April to August and December, so try to plan your trip outside of these months.

Stay In A Hostel

Don’t be fooled – even hostel accommodation, generally known for being the cheapest available, will be pricier in NYC than in other areas of the US. However, when compared to even the most budget hotels, a hostel will still be your cheapest bet. Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, you can normally get a private room to share between two to eight people – some hostels might have accommodation available for more, so it is worth shopping around if you’re going in a very large group. You can often save even further by choosing a dorm-style room with other travelers, but you should consider whether you’ll be comfortable bunking with strangers.

Get There By Bus

Of all the ways to get around the US, the bus typically wins out as the cheapest option. There are various bus companies available, including the famous Greyhound Lines, so you’re sure to find a cost-effective travel option to take you to NYC. Prices vary depending on where you’re traveling from, but you can find out the cost of a bus to NYC using Wanderu’s great comparison and ticket-buying site.



Take A Free Walking Tour

Most major cities around the world offer free walking tours; they are often considered to be the best way to learn your way around a new place and meet like-minded travelers (a must for solo adventurers). Most free walking tours end with a request for a tip, which is entirely at your discretion. You could forgo tipping altogether, but this is generally frowned upon; anything from $5 to $30 is standard, depending on the length of the tour and how friendly and knowledgeable your guide was.

See The Statue Of Liberty By Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry is free to use and the best way to get an up-close view of the Statue of Liberty. The ferry runs at least every 30 minutes (every 15 in rush hour) though times can change during holidays. It is an excellent way to get a completely free viewing of the Statue of Liberty, as well as the incredible Manhattan skyline. Once you arrive in Staten Island, you can either board a ferry directly back to NYC or hop off and enjoy some of the many attractions Staten Island has to offer.



Every traveler should visit NYC at some point in their lives; you won’t find anything quite like it anywhere else. If it is pricier than other places to visit, it is with good reason – few other cities can compare with the mix of stunning skyscrapers, lush greenery, unparalleled food experiences and rich history. To get the best value for money, you should visit during the off-peak seasons and find as many free activities to enjoy as possible. Accommodation will likely be your biggest expense, but even this can be reduced if you’re happy to bunk up with other travelers in a hostel.