A couple of years ago ,one of our readers told us that by following some of the money saving tips here on MoneyguideIreland.com and switching their energy supplier , broadband and mobile network , – they saved enough money over 12 months to pay for a return flight to New York plus accommodation.
That reader made the trip to New York in November 2015 . We asked them to tell us how they got on and if they had any useful money saving tips for a trip to New York on the Cheap
They travelled with Aer Lingus- with return flights from Dublin to JFK for €450 per person – It was a 5-night stay.
The trip was for 3 single male adults (the others were paying all their own expenses) – so they wanted a room with at least 3 beds. They wanted somewhere fairly central in Manhattan and not a hostel. After extensive research, the best hotel price they found was $1218 USD a night for a Triple Room in the Heritage Hotel Chelsea. That worked out at just over €77 Euro a night per person each with breakfast included and good free WiFi. Most other hotels had rooms with two double beds – which was not suitable for this all-male group. This is a basic mid-range hotel. Total cost per person was €385.
Total for flights and hotel was €835 (Nov 2015 rates )
Tips on Getting from JFK to Manhattan: Yellow cabs, by law , have to charge a fixed rate of $52 Dollars plus tolls for a journey from JFK to Manhattan. The toll is around $7 – so when you add on a tip you can expect to pay $70. A train and subway will be cheaper – but with the taxi door to door, it is worth it.
Tip : Do not accept taxi rides from anyone in the airport who is not in the official JFK taxi rank – it could end up costing you a lot more. Also – UBER will usually work out more expensive than a Yellow Cab.
Travel by Subway and Buses : If you are in New York for a few days it might be worth buying a 1 week Metro Card for $31 Dollars it gets you unlimited trips on the subway and the MTA buses. Otherwise – paying cash is $3 a trip. Metro cards are on sale at all stations.
Sightseeing for Free
Statue of Liberty – don’t pay over the odds for a boat trip to the Statue of Liberty. Just get the FREE Staten Island Ferry that runs every half hour. You have to get off and back on again at Staten Island – just grab a cheap beer ($4) on the boat and see the view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty for free. (Don’t delay getting off or you might not get back on and will have to wait for the next ferry)
Other great free places to go in NYC are Central Park, The High Line, Brooklyn Bridge, Bryant Park, Washington Sq Park, Greenwich, Grand Central Station, Battery Park, Museum of American Folk Art.
Tip: You Don’t Have to Pay full price for the Natural History Museum or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The “suggested ” fee for these is $25 dollars – but you can pay what you want … we just paid $2. Don’t feel bad about it – tourists from the USA get to see loads of stuff for free in Ireland.
Walk as much as you can – it’s free and you get to see a lot more of the city streets and the people.
Some Recommended New York Bars and Restaurants
The Dead Rabbit + Fraunces Tavern (Porterhouse) both near Wall Street
McGettigans not far from Times Square
Rooftop at Refinery Hotel
Spotted Pig in Greenwich
Good Value NYC Food:
Cornelia St Cafe – Greenwich
The Burger Joint (in the Parker Meriden Hotel near Central Park)
Urban Space Vanderbilt – a large food hall near Grand Central Station
Read our article on the Best Place to Get US Dollars in Ireland
Also – you should take a look at our article about using Debit Cards and Credit cards overseas.