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tend to fill up fast in the busy summer months, but booking in advance generally guarantees you a bed on your dates of choice. If you have never stayed in a hostel before, it's worth reading about; rooms with 6 or more beds, people up late singing and drinking does not appeal to everyone.
If you are lucky enough to have a relative's or friend's apartment to stay in, do bear in mind that most New Yorkers have tiny apartments and really don't love having guests. Since you're saving money by staying with them, do offer an invitation to a nice restaurant or a gift of flowers, chocolates or wine. If you sublet or rent an apartment for a few weeks, pay close attention to the lease or regulations you are given, especially if in a co-op or condominium building. America may be the land of the free, but you don't want to get your hosts in trouble with their building owners. Moreover, you don't want to be responsible for property damage or clean-up.
We are asked frequently about choosing a hotel or bed-and-breakfast in New Jersey, Upstate or on Long Island. There are several affordable hotel options in Northern New Jersey, particularly in Jersey City, Weehawken and Hoboken, mainly of the value chain variety, most of which you can book right HERE
. While you do save some money by staying outside the city, the travel time back-and-forth as well as travel expense really isn't worth it. Better to seek out an affordable place to stay in NYC well in advance of your visit.
As for homestays, we hear from time to time about great deals paying to stay in unofficial bed-and-breakfasts. In other words, you are paying to stay in someone's apartment, which is basically illegal, though obviously not unheard of. Here it pays to listen to the travellers' grapevine and do some Internet research; there are many options, not all of them good. Certainly the quality depends on how much you pay. A better option would be to make friends through a groovy social networking site--like right here at NYC.com--and have your new friends do some research for you.
Do keep in mind, above all else, that a budget hotel in middle America does not compare in price to a budget hotel in New York. $150 (US dollars) per night represents a great value in Manhattan, whereas $150 might get you four or even five nights at a budget hotel in the Midwest! So for the first-time traveler, do accept that you will pay substantially higher rates here than elsewhere. Moreover, room sizes (like apartments) tend to be much smaller here than elsewhere in the United States. Remember, you're not only paying for a room, but for the room's proximity to all the arts, attractions, culture, nightlife New York is known for – all of which is a subway ride away.
If you happen to find a room for under $75 per night, do expect your bargain place is probably a dorm room at best or just above flophouse status at worse. In some instances, you might even have to share a bathroom with your hallmates. Between $75 and $125 will be an average room, and anything between $125 to $200 per night will likely be of decent quality, but perhaps not the quality (and certainly not the room size) you would expect for that price elsewhere in the United States. Don’t expect five-star amenities or luxurious multi-room suites for under $200. But keep in mind these sacrifices are worth it. After all you’re here to see the city, not a hotel room. Below are several discount options for the budget-minded traveler:
Hotel Riverside Studios
342 W 71st St
New York, NY 10023
Much like its name suggests you can enjoy a view of the river right from your room. Plus you’ll be conveniently located a mere few blocks from Broadway and just a walk away from Central Park.
New World Hotel
New York, NY 10002
Located in the heart of Chinatown and just a short walk away from Little Italy The New World Hotel is perfect for the traveler who wants to be surrounded by some of New York’s finest and most affordable ethnic cuisine. The New World also offers complimentary newspapers in the lobby and free wi-fi.
700 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
The Milford Plaza is a great value for the budget-minded traveler. It’s perfect for tourists who’d like to explore all that midtown has to offer, as it is literally just around the corner from 14 Broadway theaters and only a short walk from Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park.
161 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016
A complimentary continental breakfast is a great way to kick off your stay in New York. That, along with a variety of other thoughtful amenities including free wireless internet and daily newspapers , make a stay at the midtown Ramada a pretty sweet deal.
103 E 29th St
New York, NY 10016
Built in 1898, Hotel Deauville is a charming turn-of-the-century Brownstone that’s served as family owned and operated hotel since 1969. Enjoy old world charm and personal service away from the hustle and bustle of Times Square.
While you will find numerous possibilities, you might want your narrow your search criteria to consider location, special needs, amenities and room size. For example, if you are attending a show at the Javits Convention Center, the Upper East Side likely will not be your first choice of location. If you use a wheelchair, or have several small children, or perhaps travel with a large dog, obviously those criteria are very important in choosing a room. Moreover, for the road warrior or frequent traveler, knowing that warp-speed Internet and other high-tech amenities are available and functioning can be critical in choosing a room.
Don't raid the mini bar or eat in your hotel. In the immortal words of Mitch Hedberg, "A mini bar is a machine that makes everything expensive." This is especially true in New York. Unless you want to spend outrageous amounts on a candy, you're better off stocking up on snacks at a local deli. The same goes for using the phone in your hotel room. If you haven't got a cell phone, visit a nearby coin telephone and use a prepaid calling card available at newsstands and smoke shops everywhere. See our telecom
section for more money-saving tips.