New York City has never celebrated a reputation for its bargain prices. Even seasoned travelers expect to pay a minimum of $300 a night on accommodations to stay in the city center or even along the outskirts. And specialty housing like Airbnb and vacation rentals are often more expensive than hotels. But there are some creative ways to score deep discounts on New York City accommodations without compromising on fun.
Look to the Outer Boroughs
Venture just outside the core of the city to the outer boroughs and open up new possibilities for discounted hotel options. Staten Island will likely offer the best value for hotels, as well as the Bronx. Just remember to research whether or not a bus or subway is close by and double-check your trip time with the MTA Trip Planner. Otherwise, you could spend precious vacation hours on long waits and route changes
Legal, public camping is scarce in New York City, but it is possible if you’re flexible to where you sleep. Staten Island’s Gateway National Recreation Area houses 59 primitive tent sites, as well as a handful at nearby Fort Wadsworth. You can also sleep under the stars at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, although you definitely need to pack earplugs to combat the flight noise from nearby JFK. However, keep in mind these locations can feel remote and not convenient to the subway and requires careful planning.
Find a Convent
New York City isn’t teeming with convents and monasteries, but you can find affordable accommodations at a handful of the city’s Catholic organizations. Start your search with Sacred Heart Residence for women or the Leo House to sleep cheaply in a basic but clean room. Wherever you stay, ask about any rules in advance, including curfews or policies about clearing out on a daily basis before cleaners arrive.
Stay in a Pod
If you don’t need much space, sleep in The Pod Hotel for small rooms at bargain prices. With several locations in New York City, including Times Square and Brooklyn, you can find deals dipping below $100 depending on the time of year and day of the week you want to stay.
Consider a Trip Package
Travelers often fare better by pricing out their airfare and hotels separately, but that’s not always the case in New York City. With hotels competing for business travelers, you can scour sites like Costco Travel to find a package that meets your city-sized budget.
Wherever you decide to stay in New York, do your due diligence in advance. Scour reviews, double-check the location and access to public transportation and stay flexible to where your travels take you.
Truly immersing yourself in a foreign culture is one of the main reasons to travel, whether you’re learning a local dance or sipping wine with a vineyard owner in Italy. Traveling outside your comfort zone also involves sampling local cuisine, but if you’re visiting a major city like Rome or Paris, eating like a local usually means stepping far out of the city center, where eateries tend to cater to unadventurous tourists. But finding a worthy eatery can hog hours of your trip time as you pore over listings on TripAdvisor or Yelp.
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