Ready, Set, Road Trip: Micro Budget, Mega Fun in New York City

I HEART NYC! Who doesn’t? It’s the best!

Despite being a major tourist location, NYC can be a surprisingly affordable trip. With a few smart decisions, you can maximize a fun weekend touring New York neighbourhoods on even the tiniest travel budget.

Here are my tried & true travel tips for saving big bucks in the Big Apple.

 Shared Accommodations with Airbnb

There is so much to see and do in New York, it’s the kind of vacation where you’ll be on the go from sun up to sun down. Think of your accommodations as a home base: all you need is a clean and safe place to sleep and shower. If you’re willing to sacrifice luxury there are some amazing options on Airbnb. You can maximize your savings even further by selecting a shared accommodation. Just be sure to read the reviews and as long as the room is clean and secure then you should be fine. Try to select a location in close proximity to transit and you can make tracks all over town quickly and efficiently.

Rent a Bike

Biking is an excellent option when you’re looking for fun transportation and hoping to also get a sense of your surroundings. While the subway is fast and affordable, biking is a great way take in the sights and cover ground quickly. Brooklyn in particular is very bike-friendly. It’s mostly flat terrain and many main streets have designated bike lanes.

Picnics and People Watching in NYC Parks

Central Park may be the most famous park in New York but there are so many amazing green spaces on and around Manhattan that are definitely worth checking out. Prospect Park in Brooklyn is HUGE and has a fantastic network of trails for running and cycling. Bring your chess pieces for a game in Washington Square Park or dip your toes in the iconic fountain on a hot day. If you find yourself in the Financial District and looking for a reprieve from the Wall Street crowds, the Elevated Acre is an unexpected and magical hideaway. Watch for the escalator tucked away at 55 Water Street. Blink and you’ll miss it!



TKTS offers deeply-discounted tickets for amazing day-of shows both on Broadway and off. I HIGHLY recommend heading to the TKTS booth in downtown Brooklyn. It’s conveniently located close to a subway stop and has significantly shorter lines than those of the Manhattan locations. Even on a busy holiday weekend you’ll wait only a fraction of the time than you would if you were at, say, the Times Square booth. (I was there on Memorial Day Weekend and waited less than 10 minutes.)

See an Off-Broadway Show

If you are looking for a fun evening (or matinee) performance and don’t particularly have your heart set on a specific show, I urge you to check out something off-Broadway. It’s a great chance to catch top notch acting for a fraction of the price. Sometimes the shows are also shorter and sillier so they’re a good compromise if you happen to be travelling with someone who doesn’t yet have the score of Hamilton committed to memory.


Get Yourself a MetroCard

If you’re looking for travel in a hurry, the NYC subway is extensive and convenient for tourists. Hang onto a refillable card and save yourself the $1 fee for future purchases. Transit is much more affordable than taxis – plus, you’ll get to experience the city as the locals do!

Looking for more ways to save? Check out this list of current and upcoming free events and attractions in the city that never sleeps. 


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