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January 3rd, 2011

New York Travel Tips

A few weeks ago, we went to NYC to spend a few days. Over the years, I’ve found a way that you can travel cheap, but relatively comfortably to a pretty darn expensive city. Here’s the downlow.

Getting there

Based on our travel from the DC area, it’s clear that if you’re traveling alone, going Megabus, Bolt, or DC2NY (perhaps using their new VA2NY service) is the best deal. Not running more than $50 roundtrip, this makes up for money spent on gas, tolls, and parking. Plus, you get to just sit there and soak up the free on board wi-fi.

If you have more than one person traveling, though, you may decide to drive. And if you do, the idea of paying $40 a night in the city may make you wheeze, so here’s the trick: park at the Staten Island Ferry. Parking is about $7 a night and then you take the Staten Island Ferry, which is free, into the city, passing by the Statue of Liberty on the way. It really is a great way to get to the city.

Getting around

Simple: use public transportation. While busses can be a little overwhelming, the NYC subway system is surprisingly simple to figure out considering how many places it can take you.

If you’re going to be in the city for more than three days and think you’ll ride the subway more than four times a day (remember a round-trip counts as two), pick up a weekly Metrocard. It’s $27 and pays for itself pretty quickly (daily cards are about $8 and individual rides are $2.25). If you have a few days left on your card when you leave, pass it to someone else after your final subway ride back to the ferry.

Staying there

If you don’t mind sharing rooms and bathrooms, obviously a hostel is the best bet.

If you’re like us and are just looking for a cheap, clean, safe hotel room with a private bath, look no further than the Park Savoy Hotel, which is located just two blocks south of Central Park and only a block from two different subway stops. The least expensive rooms run about $100 before taxes and have private baths. Sure, they’re small, but do you really want to be paying hundreds of dollars a night for a room you’ll be unconscious in most of the time?

Eating

We follow the rule of “be cheap with everything except food” when we visit the city. That said, check restaurant.com before you go to see if you can find any good deals. We got a $25 gift certificate for $2 at a restaurant we wanted to try. Just be sure to read the small print (there’s a minimum purchase and usually a limited time of day it can be used).

Posted in Miscellaneous

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