How Much Does A New York Trip Cost
New York City is called the Big Apple for a reason. For years, NYC has always been one of the world’s costliest cities to live in. But expensive as it may, the asphalt jungle is never lacking in qualities that continued to attract travelers suffering from various cases of wanderlust into the city.
Whether for the iconic landmarks, post-card worthy skylines, or spectacular Broadway shows, both foreign and local tourists still delight in spending their vacation in NYC regardless of the notorious costs.
They say it’s expensive, and we’ll see about that; here’s a guide on how much does it cost to go to New York.
Whether you’re coming from another state or country, you should consider the following when planning your trip:
- Number of travelers
- Length of stay
- Airline and airfare
- Departure city/country
The general rule is that the larger your group is, the longer your stay, and the farther you are from the destination, the more expensive the total New York vacation cost will be. Bear that in mind when planning for your NYC budget.
Your itinerary would also affect the trip to New York cost. The more you want to see and experience while in the city, the more dollars you’d have to spend.
Peak and Low Season
New York is vibrant all year round but the best time to explore the city is during spring or autumn. Note only that hotel prices are steep during these times of the year. Visiting during holidays, particularly between December and early January, also tend to be expensive.
Spring in New York (March to May) means a warmer weather and normal accommodation prices. Only, be prepared for rain showers. Costs are also steady during summer (June to August) but the humidity could get so heavy.
Service providers in NYC would expect tips. For instance, restaurant servers should receive an 18-20% gratuity unless a service charge is already included on the bill. Some other costs listed by Lonely Planet are as follows:
- Bartenders: 15-20% per round, minimum of $1 for each standard drink and $2 for each specialty cocktail
- Taxi drivers: 15-20%, rounded up to the next dollar
- Airport and hotel porters: $2 per bag, minimum of $5 per cart
- Hotel maids: $2-4 per night
The daily cost of tipping in New York may reach up to $8.
To be able to compute the trip to New York cost, here is a breakdown of travel costs from airfare to the price of seeing the best of the big apple.
New York is being serviced by three major airports, namely: Newark Liberty International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and John F. Kennedy International Airport. Prices vary greatly depending on your departure city.
To give you an idea of the costs, here are sample prices from American Airlines (flights scheduled in June and September):
Anchorage ANC to New York JFK (Main Cabin)
June: $768 to $2,392
September: $557 to $1,175
Los Angeles LAX to New York JFK
June: $509 to $705
September: $374 to $650
Honolulu HNL to New York JFK
June: $1,135 to $1,651
September: $871 to $1,152
If you’re a budget traveler, you could always score deals on websites like CheapOair and Expedia. For instance, CheapOair offers tickets from Honolulu to Hawaii for as low as $863 for a flight scheduled for June and $774 if you’re flying during September. Look out for such deals and significantly cut down on airfare!
Cutting down on airfare is essential because it would spare you some money that you could use to survive the cost of living in New York. For instance, the price of staying in a room in the city ranges from $40 to $850 a night. Accommodations available mostly include hotels and hostels.
As for the prices for each type, here’s a sample from Lonely Planet:
- Dorm bed: $40-$70
- Double room in a midrange hotel: starts at around $200
- Luxury hotel: $325-$850
Top hotels in NYC command hefty prices. For instance, The Greenwich Hotel costs a whopping $595 per night. Even budget hotels go by the hundred, with low-end accommodations costing $100-$150 a night.
If you badly wanted to save money, you could opt for a 4-6 bed dorm that costs around $25-$35 according to Nomadic Matt. Note that there are only a few cheap accommodations in Manhattan. For better deals, you could look for hostels in Brooklyn or Queens.
Food and Drinks
New York has a lot to offer when it comes to meals. Aside from the overly popular hot dogs, chowders, bagels, and pizza of NYC, the city has all sorts of cuisine for every palate from Chinese to Filipino, Italian to Mexican, and German to Hungarian. There is an ultra-wide array of choices that if you don’t know how to prioritize what to eat, you would surely blow your budget.
Of course, you could always opt to lower your expenses if you hunt for cheap meals available around the city.
To have an idea of the daily budget for meals in NYC, here are sample prices from Expatistan.com:
- Basic lunch in the business district: $15
- Combo meal in a fast food restaurant: $8
- 1 liter of whole fat milk: $1.09
- Domestic beer (16oz.) in the supermarket: $2.77
- 2 liters of Coca-Cola: $2.23
- A hot dog: $2.50
- A slice of pizza: $3
- A pretzel: $2
- Small water or coffee: $1
Buying in sandwich shops, kebabs, salad shops, and café meals are affordable at less than $10 while eating for two at a midrange eatery would cost around $130. Prices at top end restaurants, on the other hand, ranges from $85-$325.
You could get around New York through the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, taxi, or bus. You could also try renting a bicycle. Boarding a boat is also an option if you want to get a good view of the city’s skyline. Or to be able to enjoy everything NYC has to offer, consider walking.
To help you plan your budget, here are average prices for each mode of transportation:
- Subway: $2.75 per ride (regardless of the distance traveled)
- Citi Bike: $11 for a 24-hour pass, $28 for a seven-day pass
- Staten Island Ferry: Free journeys across New York Harbor
- Bus: $2.75 per trip, or $6 for an express bus ride
- Taxi: Initial charge of $2.50, 50 cents for each additional one-fifth mile, $1 peak surcharge
- Uber: Base fare of $2.50, $2 per mile
With so many places in the city, you would have planned an exhaustive itinerary, and that means you would move a lot. For practicality, consider buying a MetroCard for $1 and load it with credit. A $20-load would give you eight rides and change. You could also opt for a 7-day unlimited pass that costs $31.
A week is not enough to explore the whole of New York. You could, of course, check out travel sites to know what places you should prioritize visiting especially if it’s your first-time in the city.
Just for an idea of how much it costs to see and experience New York, here are admission prices of top attractions in the metro as listed by Lonely Planet:
- Empire State Building: $27-34 ($47-54 including 102nd-floor observation deck)
- Metropolitan Museum of Art: $25 (suggested donation)
- Lincoln Center: $20-25
- Ellis Island: $9-18.50 (ferry ride, includes Statue of Liberty)
- National September 11 Memorial Museum: $15-24 (free admission every Tuesday)
- Statue of Liberty: $12-21.50 (including crown)
- Museum of Modern Art: $25 (free admission every Friday)
- American Museum of Natural History: $12.50-22 (suggested donation)
- Radio City Music Hall: $20-27
- Broadway: From $35 to more than $150 depending on the show (check out detailed prices at com)
Aside from paying admission fees as you go, you could also consider availing a New York Pass which you could use to enter more than 80 attractions in the city for free. The said pass also includes a hop-on/hop off tour. A one-day tour costs $110 while a three-day pass amounts to $240 per person.
Calculating the Cost
Now that you know how much does it cost to go to New York, let’s use the lower prices to compute an estimated budget for a week of stay in the city:
Accommodation: $50 per night or 300 for 6 nights
Food and Drinks: $40 per day or $280 for 7 days
Local Transportation: $31 (unlimited pass)
Attractions: $240 (three-day pass)
The estimated New York vacation cost could only give you an idea of how much you would spend given that you don’t accidentally enter a fancy restaurant and that you’d remain stingy throughout the trip.
Other than these basic expenses, you should also expect the costs to become higher due to shopping (especially if you tend to buy a lot), parking and toll fees, and tipping. To be sure that you would have enough budget for New York, throw in another $1,000 for the estimated price.
Costly as it is, you could get a good bargain if you look hard enough. New York is big so you would never run out of options. There would always be cheap meals and affordable attractions. Use your money where you would be most satisfied and cost-cut on things that you deem less important.
Don’t let New York’s costly reputation stop you from experiencing the life in the city that never sleeps. Save up now!