5 Tips for Travelling to the Big City on a Budget

This week one of my friends tweeted that she would soon be travelling to New York City and she wants to do it without spending alot of cash. That got me thinking. I have travelled coast to coast in Canada and the United States and each time I did it on a budget. How was I able to travel, see the best sites, and keep money in my wallet?

  1. Plan ahead. I would always grab a guide book, search online, and talk to natives whenever I could. I came up with a flexible plan of what I wanted to see and do.
  2. Come up with your trip budget and stick to it.
  3. Eat Cheap! For me I always ate breakfast in my room having gotten usually bagel, cream cheese, and fruit from a local market. For lunch I hit a restaurant the lunch menu is usually cheaper then the dinner menu and there are often lunch specials you can rely on. For dinner I loved sampling the street vendors.
  4. Visit the freebies: the big park, the museum that offers free hours, the harbourfront, the place of historical importance.
  5. If there are sites and attractions that you do want to see find out if they offer a city pass or discounted tickets. Most do. Buy doing so you could save yourself about 40% off.

Now my friend is headed to New York City for a week. I have been in New York a few times in my life and enjoyed the city very much. She is a young woman so here are my recommendations for that big city:

1. I know she eats Halal so check out The Halal Cart on 53rd and 6th after 7pm for a cheap good Halal meal.

2. Visit Ground Zero, this is a site that every global citizen should see. For her I would also then walk the few blocks to the local mosque for jummah prayers. These Muslims have had so much press lately. It might be good to give them some support.

3.Head over to Battery Park and take the free ferry to Staten Island. The ride is 25 minutes each way but it does give you a great view of the Statue of Liberty.

4. If you wanted to spend $79 you could also buy a City Pass that gets you into 6 attractions : The Empire State Building, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The American Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Modern Art. The last two you can choose between The Empire State Building and Ellis Island tour or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise. If you like history then do Ellis Island, if not the cruise give you a great way to view the sites of the city from a different perspective. The last two to choose between are the Top of the Rock and the Guggenheim Museum. My choice would be the museum.

5. Take a walk in Central Park or if you like to bike you can always rent a bike for a few hours. A great way to spend an afternoon. Another great walk is the Brooklyn Bridge.

6. If you are bound and determined to take in a Broadway show while you are there then make a list of your top say 3 then head over to the TKTS booth about an hour before it opens and you should be able to score some decent tickets for about half off. I did this and ended up in the managers seats for alot less then if I had bought ahead.

7. I always loved going and watching the taping of the Today show. Get there early for a good spot.

Those are my recommendations for the Big Apple.  With some planning and asking ahead any big city can be done on a budget.

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Farthing by Jo Walton