7 ways to save money in New York

Looking back at Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry is an experience all by itself.

Looking back at Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry is an experience all by itself.

Stunning, breathtaking, lively. Three of many superlatives to describe the biggest city in the United States – New York.

Not only is it the most populated place in America, but it is also one of the world’s top tourist cities, welcoming over 12 million visitors in 2015, putting it comfortably into the top 10 most-visited cities for that year.

It’s also not a cheap fare and when hotels, flights, attractions and food and drink are all taken into account, it can be an expensive ticket.

But there is some hope for the budget traveller, because available is a host of money-saving options. Here are seven of those opportunities.

1. Department stores and outlet malls over boutiques

Shopping at Woodbury Common outlet mall where there are plenty of shops and some nice scenery, too.

Shopping at Woodbury Common outlet mall where there are plenty of shops and some nice scenery, too.

New York City is, without a doubt, one of the best places to shop on the planet. That’s not surprising, considering it is one of the world’s fashion capitals – so much so that it has just finished its own Fashion Week, an annual event also occurring in London, Paris and Milan.

But shopping in the individual boutiques can be quite expensive, and the best savings can be found in the bigger department stores, such as Macy’s and Century 21.

Apparently the "World's largest store," Macy's in midtown Manhattan.

Apparently the "World's largest store," Macy's in midtown Manhattan.

There are also frequent buses running to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets – New York state’s biggest shopping mall with over 220 stores and food outlets which can account for an entire day of retail therapy for locals and tourists alike.

2. Take the Staten Island Ferry

Tourists take pictures with and of the Statue of Liberty aboard the Staten Island Ferry.

Tourists take pictures with and of the Statue of Liberty aboard the Staten Island Ferry.

New York is an amazingly unique city, and there are plenty of vantage points from which one can capture its beauty. Helicopter rides, boat tours and observation decks are all part of the fun, but they usually come with a price tag (which, usually, isn’t cheap).

But there is a way to take in Manhattan and explore one of the least visited areas of New York City, by taking the Staten Island Ferry.

The distinctly orange boats travel between the south side of Manhattan to Staten Island, running right by the Statue of Liberty and offering up spectacular retrospective views of New York’s epicentre.

One of the Staten Island Ferries mid-sail.

One of the Staten Island Ferries mid-sail.

With plenty of outdoor deck space, passengers have a platform to get creative with their photography, and there is plenty of indoor seating for when it gets cold.

The ferry takes just under half an hour and runs every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Oh, and did I mention that it is completely FREE?

3. Use your feet

The yellow taxi - an unmistakable symbol of New York City.

The yellow taxi - an unmistakable symbol of New York City.

The first automobile taxis weren’t painted any colour, but legend has it that in 1915 John Hertz, owner of Hertz rental cars, opened a taxi company in Chicago and had yellow cabs after reading a study showing that it was the most visible colour from a distance.

In 2017 yellow taxis are synonymous with the Big Apple rather than the Windy City, and New York-bound visitors may want to take a ride in the back of a car from the famous fleet to add to their experience.

But to be quite honest, the streets of Manhattan are wholly navigable by foot. Working on a grid system comprising of streets and avenues, it’s also a simple city to explore.

Also known as "the Crossroads of the World," Times Square can, and should, be seen on foot.

Also known as "the Crossroads of the World," Times Square can, and should, be seen on foot.

Those wanting to travel further afield may do so using the New York Subway transit system priced at $2.75 per ride, but for shorter distances, being active can’t hurt.

4. Groupon

Groupon vouchers can help you save on dinner and feast less expensively on delights such as this margherita pizza, which we got from Angelo's Pizza, just north of Times Square.

Groupon vouchers can help you save on dinner and feast less expensively on delights such as this margherita pizza, which we got from Angelo's Pizza, just north of Times Square.

In its simplest form, Groupon is a website that connects its subscriber base with local merchants offering their services at a discounted cost. Whether it’s 10 percent off, a 2-for-1 bargain or a freebee on offer, Groupon provide a great opportunity to save some money.

They have deals worldwide and, of course, that includes New York – with money off helicopter rides and other attractions, and discounts at restaurants, too, it is a good way to save a few bucks in a place which can, at times, be expensive.

All you’ll need is an American or Canadian address to put in when you check out (perhaps use your hotel’s address) and you should be good to go.

5. Big breakfast

Pancakes for breakfast - definitely a filling way to start your day.

Pancakes for breakfast - definitely a filling way to start your day.

Another way to save a few pennies in the city that never sleeps is by going big at breakfast. There are a number of all you can eat options, but Americans are notorious for big portions and a stack of pancakes or plate of waffles will probably fill you up until the evening, meaning you’ll skip lunch and save on another bill.

Eat big, save large.

6. Take public transport or a shuttle bus from the airport

In the back of a taxi en route from JFK Airport to Manhattan.

In the back of a taxi en route from JFK Airport to Manhattan.

The famous yellow taxis also operate services from each of New York’s three airports. From the busiest hub, JFK, a ride to Manhattan costs $52 withholding additional charges for tolls, while shuttle buses start at $17 per person and a ride on the AirTrain is $7.75.

As you can see, the discrepancy in costs is a lot, and similar savings can be made when travelling to and from Newark and LaGuardia airports as well.

7. Hostels over hotels

Sure, staying in hotels is a nice luxury. You’ll get a comfy bed, a television and an en-suite – all in the comfort of your own personal space for the duration of your stay.

But those hoping for a cheaper experience may want to avert their eyes because at $343 per night on average for a hotel room in 2015, NYC doesn’t appear to be wallet-friendly.

But much like any other place on Earth, staying in a hostel in New York is usually considerably cheaper than a hotel.

 

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