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The Fine Art of Visiting New York City on a Shoestring

Jul 25, 2008
When we see New York on TV and in movies, we tend to get the impression that it is one expensive town. Visiting New York on a shoestring budget looks impossible. To be honest, yes, it is, but only if you live there. What we see on TV is usually the glamorous part of town, Manhattan, and that's a little misleading. New York is full of incredible spots that cost little to nothing to visit.

Lodging

When you first arrive in New York, you'll want a place to stay, of course. An average room in Manhattan is a whopping three hundred bucks a night. The New York Hotel in Manhattan has rooms in the hundred dollar range and is located right in the heart of the area, but that's still not exactly visiting New York on a shoestring budget.

What you should do if you really want to save some money is take a look around for bed and breakfast setups. Book a room online and make sure to research the bed and breakfast you select before you book. You don't want to wind up with a reservation in the middle of a bad part of town.

Dining

Honestly, the best way to save money on food (and just about anything else) in New York is to be friendly. When you're looking for a place to eat, you'll want to step away from the neon signs and glamour of the main streets and into the little known hole in the wall bars and restaurants, and the only way to find those spots is to ask the locals.

Entertainment

A tip for getting into a show or a sporting event at a lower price: Go to the will call of the venue and just hang around for a bit. Seats are often reserved for family and friends of the stagehands, performers or athletes at an event, and many times, these people are unable to attend. This way, you can avoid having to deal with ticket brokers or scalpers, and you can often grab a seat at the last minute without having to even bother with a reservation.

If you have the time to plan ahead, make sure to look online for discount event tickets or a New York City Explorer Pass, which can save you even more on attractions. Some travelers will even purchase an Entertainment coupon book for the zip code in which they will be traveling. This will often save you on lodging, dining, and attractions. Just make sure that the amount you can potentially save will cover the cost of the book.

Safety

Leave any unneeded cash, credit cards and even ID in your hotel room. If you're careful, you probably won't get mugged, but it does happen.

Don't be tempted by the lure of shortcuts. Stick to main streets that are well lit, stick to crowds, and don't go anywhere alone if you can help it.

The legends of New York being absolutely overflowing with thieves are mostly exaggerated, but they are based in truth. You don't need to be scared for your life your whole trip, but do be aware and alert. Don't be trusting of any strangers: even a man in a business suit might mug you. If you have any friends in New York, spend a lot of your time with them.

Visiting New York on a shoestring is not only possible, but preferable. The pricey parts of town are strictly for tourists.
About the Author
Jamie Jefferson writes for Momscape.com and Susies-Travel-Coupons.com, where she posts discounts on hard-to-find event tickets as well as New York City discounts.
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