statue of liberty

Visiting New York City on a Budget

Family vacations are an invaluable way to spend time together, exploring new places, trying new cuisines, and learning something along the way. However, it’s not always affordable to travel with your family, especially to popular destinations like New York City. That is unless you know how to plan an affordable family trip. We’ll offer some of the best tips and tricks for planning an impressive New York City trip that the whole family will enjoy, without breaking the bank.

yellow cabs nyc


New Yorkers walk everywhere. Where they don’t walk, they take public transportation. For the most economical way to get around the town, do as the locals do. NYC is a very pedestrian-friendly city, so make sure everyone packs comfortable walking shoes! Children under 44 inches tall ride for free on both buses and the subway, so this is a great option for affordable travel within the city with a bunch of kids. To see the city uniquely, sign up for one of the best New York sightseeing bus tours, which will give you the chance to see many of the city’s popular landmarks in one shot.

new york dining

Dining Out

One of the reasons many people come to New York City is for the food. Unfortunately, that can also result in some hefty food bills for your trip to the Big Apple. With a little strategy, however, it’s possible to eat out in New York City with your family without spending a fortune. It would be hard to recommend specific dining spots, as every family’s tastes are different, but here are some general guidelines you can use to stretch your food budget further in New York:

Ask a local where they like to eat. It’s likely got great food, a friendly atmosphere, and an affordable price tag – unlike the tourist trap chains that charge for the privilege of dining there.

If there is an exclusive restaurant you’ve been wanted to try, go there for lunch instead of dinner. The prices will almost always be lower, and the portions will still be more than satisfying.

Opt for a hotel room that has a kitchenette. If you can cook for yourselves for at least some of your meals, you’ll save a lot of money. Even if you don’t have a kitchen in your room, stop at a grocery store and pick up supplies for breakfast, as well as snacks and beverages. You’ll save a significant amount of money.

new york city hotels

Where to stay

When it comes to choosing a NY hotel, there are two schools of thought. On the one hand, you can stay a little further afield (outside of the city proper), and you’ll likely get a lower per-night rate. However, you’ll spend more on driving into the city and finding a place to park. On the other hand, you can stay closer to the city center, which may mean paying a little more for your room but you’ll save because you can walk everywhere. Also, be sure to check for online discounts and deals that could save you money.

Save on attractions

If you want to see some of the top tourist attractions in New York City (and by all means, you should) decide which attractions you really want to see, and look for the best city attraction passes to suit your needs, here you can check comparison of New York Pass vs City Pass vs New York Explorer Pass. These passes allow you to bundle your admission passes to several popular attractions at a discounted rate.

Also, you can save by finding free or inexpensive attractions to see. Keep in mind that New York City is so much more than the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. To really experience the city for all it has to offer, immerse yourselves in the neighborhoods. There are lots of inexpensive, or even free, ways to do that with kids. Check out one of the many playgrounds throughout the city, or spend some time browsing in one of the old libraries. Many of the libraries offer free activities for the family, such as story times, concerts, etc. This is a great way to fill the time with some inexpensive events that aren’t as crowded and busy as the tourist attractions. Perfect for kids! There are also lots of outdoor concerts, theatre shows, and other events that are free or very inexpensive.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the city’s green spaces! Central Park is a beautiful spot, so pack a picnic and soak up the sunshine!

New York City is a beautiful city, full of history, culture, food, and lots of fun, family-friendly activities. Planning an affordable vacation just takes a little strategizing and creativity. You’ll not miss out on anything the city has to offer, and your wallet won’t feel the strain!

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