For our trip to New York we were going during our birthdays and around Christmas time so we did give our budget a little boost to make the holiday that bit nicer.
The first thing to work out was how we would get there and back. Living in Malta made things a little more awkward as we had to juggle the timings around to fit in with flights to and from the island we call home. We basically had 3 options- fly to London, to Istanbul or fly via France, but luckily, there are a number of flights in and out of Heathrow throughout each day and so that was the first decision made.
The one thing I would definitely suggest is you plan well in advance. As someone that enjoys the organisational side of things and to have a plan, this was right up my street – I was chomping at the bit to book and confirm everything around 6 months before the trip!
I’ve included our list of expenses for the trip, bear in mind, this trip was a huge treat for us:
- Our flights to and from Malta : €543 (Air Malta)
- Flights to and from JFK (Premium Economy) : €1,834 (Virgin Atlantic)
- 14 nights at Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan/Chelsea (King room with City view) : €3,114 (Booking.com)
- New York Pass (7 days) : €529.53 (New York Pass)
- Lion King at the Minskoff Theater : €434.07 (Ticket Master)
- Hockey tickets: €173.13 (Ticket Master)
- Basketball tickets : €292.95 (Ticket Master)
- Cash : €1,386 ≈ $1,400
- TOTAL = €8,306.68
When you look at the total figures it is a considerable amount of money. However, this was over a full two weeks, sparing no expense and fitting in as much as we possibly could.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it took a lot of saving and a big effort to plan everything in plenty of time to ensure we got our absolute money’s worth.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing. I loved our trip and I have nothing but fond memories of our time there. I genuinely would not change a single aspect of what we did for our first trip to New York. Having said that, there were definitely things that could have been done at less expense.
- To start with, although it is something I’d suggest you try at least once, Premium Economy can obviously be skipped. This can save a few hundred each way depending on flight times.
- Generally, the further you book in advance, the better.
- Try booking flights that land early on your first day and leave late on your last in order to maximise your time.
- Staying outside of Manhattan will significantly reduce your expenses, for the sake of a budget friendly, ten minute bus/ferry trip. Similar hotels the other side of the Hudson can be around half the price of their Manhattan neighbours, with skyline views to boot.
- Make the most of those $1 slices! Grabbing a slice to tide you over rather than pay $10 for a quick bite can not only help you to feel like a bona-fide New Yorker, but over a whole trip it could save you a nice wedge of cash.
- Getting to and from the airport you should make use of the incredible New York public transport network (as long as you don’t mind dragging your luggage around).
- Plan your days well. Remember – it’s a holiday, you don’t need an hour by hour itinerary with designated toilet breaks! However, it helps to consider seeing sites in the same areas and always take queueing times into account. Once you have an idea of what you want to see, take a look at the New York Pass and other options to reduce sightseeing costs.