He had dreamed of going to the Big Apple on many occasions. But it wasn’t until I started doing the numbers and I learned how much a trip to New York costs that I seriously considered it. I already warn you that it is not a cheap city, but you have the advantage that there are options for all budgets. So you can take a low or medium cost trip or give yourself all the luxuries you want.
In this article, I solve all your doubts. The same ones that I had before going to New York. I’ll tell you how much it costs to have a coffee, a pastrami sandwich in a Deli, or the contrast tour with Gospel mass. I also deal with the issue of tips, how, when, and where to give them. I have also included a section of tips and tricks to save you a few dollars in NY City.
Budget for a trip to New York
Open the spreadsheet we started adding zeros. I’m going to tell you how much a trip to New York costs. But I also give you some advice so that you can save and reserve some money for the long-awaited purchases in the Big Apple.
Flights to New York
You already know that buying flights is always one of the big expenses on any trip. Also that the sooner you book the cheaper they will cost you. Another factor that also influences is if you have the flexibility to travel. It’s the way to get a good deal to fly to New York.
If you travel in high season as happened to me and you book it with little time, the price will go up. To give you an idea, my trip to New York was at the end of June and the stopover ticket cost me about € 354 per person. However, I got the return for € 202 on a direct flight to Madrid. So any price below € 400 round trip is a good buy. Taxes and a 20-kilo checked suitcase are included in the price. It does not include the reservation of seats or meals on the plane. Accommodation is another of the big items in the budget for a trip to New York. It depends on how far in advance you book you can find a great hotel like the Hotel on Rivington in the East Village with breathtaking views of Manhattan for € 250 per night for 3 people. Another option is the Pod Hotel in Times Square very well located in Midtown and priced at about € 120 double room.
Hotel prices in New York
If you want to save money on breakfasts and dinners, you have the option of an Airbnb, it is also great if you travel in a group and need a kitchen I booked it with very little time and had to settle for an apartment in Brooklyn 15 minutes from a bus stop. metro for 120 euros a night, but you can get very good apartments with time. Although being New York it is a good price for three people.
The ESTA is the document you need to pass passport control when you arrive at the New York airport. In this post with tips for traveling to the United States, I told you everything you need to have your documentation in order. One of those documents is the ESTA and you have to pay a fee to obtain it. The price is 14 dollars per person because you pay it to the American embassy. They apply the corresponding change at the time of purchase.
I have been traveling for many years and have always done it with travel and cancellation insurance. It seems to be the way to be calm when I buy a plane ticket that costs me a fortune. Since writing on the blog, I have received many emails from readers who tell me that they have canceled their trip more than once, so I reaffirm that you take out insurance with this coverage. Besides, to make a trip to New York, the insurance must include medical coverage. You already know that American healthcare is very expensive —Miguel tells you about it in this article— and he has no agreement with the Spanish. So for 100 euros – the approximate cost of family insurance for two people and a minor with cancellation – I don’t risk it and I travel calmly.
Transportation and airport transfers in New York
Now it is the turn of transport prices in New York. I recommend that to move around the city you do it by the metro. The Metro Card is the card you need. For more than 13 weekly trips, the 7-day Metro Card option is better: $ 32 per person. I am telling you this because if you want to take the Airtrain to go to your hotel in New York you will need this card. The transfer with this transport system costs you $ 5 the way plus $ 1 to buy the card plus a single subway ticket $ 2.75. If you activate your unlimited Metro Card plan, you save $ 2.75. You can also think of a private transfer in a shared vehicle for € 18.25 per person.
Prices restaurants and eating in New York
It can be cheap to eat in New York if you decide to eat at street food stalls. A falafel, taco, hot dog, or pizza can cost you between $ 5 and $ 10. Hala Guy’s Chicken and Rice in front of MOMA starts at $ 7. A hamburger is an American restaurant that starts at $ 12. A brunch in Mogador $ 19 including food and a drink such as coffee or tea or juice. If we talk about sweets, prices range from $ 2 or $ 3 for a scoop ice cream at a typical stall to $ 10 in the Williamsburg market. Coffee can be between $ 3.5 and $ 5 depending on the place. A slice of cake at Lady M is $ 7, a cupcake at Magnolia Bakery starts at $ 3.95. To these prices, you have to add the Taxes (like our VAT) and the tips if applicable for the type of establishment.
Excursions and activities in New York
A trip to New York is to do certain things like eat a hot dog, go to an NBA game (from € 41) or visit the Statue of Liberty (from € 21.88). If you have read my article on what to see in New York you are already clear on what you should visit in the city. You also have to know that doing all these excursions will be a good peak in the final budget, but also that they are essential, such as doing the New York contrasts tour (from € 44.70). A tour of the different neighborhoods of the city that if you do on your own is cheaper, but it takes you a few days. So consider whether you prefer to spend time or money.
How much do I tip in New York?
I give you a brief summary of where and what tip you have to leave in New York. In restaurants without table service, in street stalls and franchise-type ones, you do not have to leave a tip, in diners the usual is 15% of the bill. 20% is an appropriate amount in the rest of the restaurants. Sometimes they suggest the tip that you should leave: so follow the instructions given by the bill, but always calculate between 15-20%. Another amount can be abusive. In cafes, it is common to have a piggy bank or box so that you can freely leave whatever you want. If it is a cocktail bar, $ 1 per drink or $ 3 per round.
In taxis and private transfers to the airport between 15-20%. If you take an Uber or a Lyft, the tip is left through the mobile app when making the driver’s assessment. In hotels, you leave the cleaning person $ 2 per day. Small group excursions and activities $ 5 per person. If it is a free tour between $ 10-15 per person.
Budget trip to New York for 7 days
With all these variables and with the money I spent on excursions, food, accommodation, and flights, I have prepared a typical budget of what a trip to New York costs per person (accommodation and meals valued for 7 days).
Flights: € 450 I / V.
ESTA: € 12.75 (depends on the change).
Travel insurance: € 50.
Internet: use wifi in hotels. With Vodafone included in your rate.
Accommodation: € 500 per person.
7-day Metro Card: € 29.14.
Airport transfers: Airtrain is € 8 x 2 round trip. Private transfers: € 18 x 2 round trip.
Eating (budget): € 400.
Excursions and extras: € 350. Not including admission to musical or helicopter excursion.
TOTAL: € 1,800.
7 Tips for Saving Money in New York
Although it may seem impossible in New York there are also a few ways to save money or make very fun plans by spending the equivalent of a subway ticket or even for zero dollars. So I’ll tell you my tricks to save a few dollars in this American city.
1. Get a tourist card to visit monuments
I used the New York CityPass for three reasons. First, because I skipped the lines to enter the skyscrapers. Second, because it included most of the visits that I wanted to do, such as going up to the top of the Rocks or the Metropolitan Museum. And the most important: because you save 44% of the cost of the attractions; it is cheaper than buying them separately. In this post, I will tell you the attractions included in the New York City Pass
2. Avoid credit card fees
Since I know the cards to travel without paying commissions, I do not usually exchange currencies when I travel outside the eurozone. I’ve been traveling with the BNEXT card for a long time and I’m delighted with life. It returns all commissions to me every time I play with it. It also helps me get money from ATMs or typical AMTs that you find in any store or supermarket in New York. Just in case you also carry a credit card and always try to have some cash because it failed me in some establishments or to give tips in cash.
3. Spend little money eating at street stalls and supermarkets
One of the best ways to save money on food in New York is by avoiding table-service restaurants. First, because they are more expensive and also because you have to add the tip to the bill. A very New York way to eat is to do it at street food stalls such as hot dogs, falafel, tacos or hamburgers. You can also eat at the tables that many supermarket chains have. You buy the food they have prepared and you take it calmly sitting down.
4. Shop at the end of the day at the souvenir stalls
If you buy at the end of the day in the street stalls it is much cheaper, especially if it is food or souvenirs. Also, the price is going to decrease at the speed of light if it starts to rain and they have to collect. On the contrary, in Manhattan stalls when it comes to food and drinks it is the other way around. Food trucks begin to increase prices as all the establishments around them close.
5. Look for free plans in New York
The city of skyscrapers is really expensive. Even so, there are many activities, plans, and sites that are free. In this post about views of New York, I told you about some viewpoints to contemplate the New York skyline without paying a dollar. There are also places where you can go by paying only the price of subway transportation or even for free like the State Island ferry.
6. Visit museums with Pay what you wish
The museums of New York are the best in the city and you are lucky that the most important are included in the tourist cards. Others have days or hours of Pay what you wish, you set the price of the ticket. Others are free one day a week and some free entry every day.
7. Drink non-bottled water
There are drinking fountains in every public place in New York. In museums and monuments and also in parks and gardens there are public fountains. So I recommend that you bring a reusable bottle. In addition to saving money on drinks, you will be a much more environmentally responsible traveler. In the United States in general and in New York in particular, the throwaway culture prevails. So I recommend this post on how to be a responsible traveler in the United States if you are interested in knowing how to generate less waste on your trips.