The best ways to Save Money in New York City

28 Apr 2017

According to a survey, over 60 million people visited New York City in 2016 and with attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and the multitude of other activities, it is no wonder New York is the 11th most expensive city in the world to live in. So, if you’re thinking of visiting, you really should be prepared. We have created a list of hints and tips to help you save money when travelling to and around one of the largest metropolises in the world.

Cheaper Flights

Sounds obvious, but you have to start saving somewhere and where better to start than the flights themselves? Saving on your flight doesn’t mean flying on a 1930s propeller plane or standing throughout the flight; it simply means looking around, using comparison sites and knowing what a reasonable amount to spend is. You know your budget, but you can’t tell us that even if you’re financially affluent, a little extra wouldn’t help. 

Exchange Currency before you Travel

Many travellers find themselves short of time prior to their trip; getting ahead on work, packing, arranging for cat-sitters and the like - exchanging currency is often an afterthought. If you need foreign currency in a hurry, our Click & Collect service in 60 seconds can really help. By using eurochange instead of the airport bureaus, you can get more than 15% extra for your money. 

New York arrival shuttle transfer

Shuttle buses from airports to your accommodation are generally very similar in cost to taking a bus/subway or taxi-cab combo. You can book the service before you even take-off, arrange to be met at your arrivals gate and relax; enjoy the scenery and rest assured that you will wind-up in the right place. Prices start at $25 (£16) per person and services are available from JFK International Airport, Newark International Airport, or La Guardia Airport. 


You’re not going to New York to sleep. So why pay over-the-odds for a hotel room, when you’re only going to spend a very limited time in it? Hotels in New York can be frightfully expensive. For the cheapest accommodation you might consider staying in Brooklyn or Queens. The outlying boroughs are approximately half the price of the city proper and transport around the city can be very manageable. 

Download apps before you go

There’s an app for everything these days…and therein lies the problem. Phone storage is getting larger, each incarnation at a time, but there is still a finite amount of space on your phone and knowing which apps are useful can be a chore. Here is our summation of the most useful apps for NYC.

Urban Wonder

This self-guided audio tour of New York City is free and is full of interesting facts and directions.


Is ideal for us Brits unfamiliar with the tipping culture. How much and when to tip? This app’ll let you know.

Red Rover

Allows parents to discover great activities for kids and like all of our app discoveries, is 100% free.

See Something, Send Something

New York City is like anywhere else, crime happens. If you see something suspicious but aren’t sure how to report it, then this app will help.

Time Out New York

Shows you all the latest concerts, exhibits, events, and everyday happenings at any and all times. The app is free, but the event’s aren’t…well some are…best download it and have a try.

Take the

Staten Island Ferry

Instead of the tourist harbour cruises, which can be quite costly, why not travel like a real New Yorker? Be warned, it can get quite busy, as you’d imagine when the ferries transport 70,000 passengers a day. WiFi is available in each terminal and onboard and best of all…it’s FREE! The ferry and the WiFI!

Buy a Subway pass

Keeping on the transport theme, why not take a trip outside the centre, away from Times Square and the other obvious tourists spots and explore a few of the neighbourhoods. Areas like Chinatown, Little Italy and Little India are great for meals at affordable prices and the atmosphere is remarkably different in each; a world in on city. The MTA card allows you to use the subway, bus and paratransit services. A 7-day, unlimited ride card will cost $32.00

radio city music hall, New York City

TKTS booths

A great place to check for discounted Broadway tickets to shows like ‘The Lion King’ and ‘The Producers’, and discount ticket websites like can be useful too. Don’t forget to bring your student ID, if you have one.

Where to Get 99-Cent Slices 

Dollar Pizza in NYC is a real thing. Get the Real Pizza of New York app and you can find the nearest (not necessarily the best) pizza around.

If you’re tired of Pizza, you could try the Falafel? A New York favourite, this pitta bread meal typically costs $2 – $3 or simply grab a hotdog from a vendor for a buck.

Party during happy hour

If you’re going out for a drink between 4pm and 7pm, chances are you’ll be there during ‘Happy Hour’. Discounted drinks and snacks are available and if you happen to be in the right bar, you might make the most of “name night”, where some establishments hand out free food and/or drinks to people with a certain name. Don’t forget your ID to claim.

Visit museums on ‘pay-what-you-wish’ nights  

From tickets that generally run-to $15 or more, to a suggested amount of a couple of ‘bucks’, “Pay-What-You-Wish” events can really help you stretch those dollars that much further. 

Visit the Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo also takes part in the “Pay-What-You-Wish” scheme, but if you’re in the area on a Wednesday, it’s free entry anyway. It’s not just animals either, although they are pretty amazing; there are amusements, a 4D cinema and a host of other attractions.

Attend free TV show tapings 

A number of shows are filmed in NYC and offer free tickets. Check the Time Out New York app, but often it involves queuing outside the studio and waiting patiently, like all good Brits know how.

new york city, Bridge

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

If you’re in the neighbourhood and fancy a walk with a view, there are few better opportunities than walking the Brooklyn Bridge. Open 24 hours a day, it’s safe to walk on even until the late hours, as the number of tourists on the bridge is always quite high. It’s free but if you want a guide, you can pay or use the Urban Wonder app. Don’t forget to take a jacket – it can get pretty cold up there. 

Drink tap water 

Rather than paying $1 – 3 per bottle of water, simply drink straight from the tap. NYC water is regarded as some of the cleanest urban water in the country. Fill-up a bottle in your hotel room and you’re good-to-go. You can use one of the travel bottles with a filter on it, if you are concerned. 

Go kayaking for free in NYC

If you’re not too fussy about the chance of a dip in the Hudson, you can take advantage of this free kayaking service, during the May-October months (it’s a bit chilly the rest of the year). All you need do is sign a waiver, know how to swim, wear a life-jacket and be back in 20 minutes. Under 16s need to be accompanied by an adult. 
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