How to save on luxury travel to New York City

New York offers some of the most extravagant luxury hotels, fine dining experiences and glitzy shopping options anywhere in the world, but they don't have to break the holiday bank. Adam Ford checks in with easy ways to live it up for less in the Big Apple...

How to save on luxury travel to New York

How to save on luxury travel to New York

The falling Aussie dollar has hit travellers to New York hard.

It’s even trickier to balance the holiday books if you want to enjoy a few of the finer things in life during your visit to the Big Apple. Well, don’t despair. Here are some great ways to save on luxury travel to New York.

Save on NYC luxury digs

Generally, room rates at luxury hotels in Manhattan are lower outside Midtown and cheapest in Downtown – as the financial district largely closes down at night. However, you’re still only a subway ride away from the action in Times Square, the trendy Meatpacking District, Greenwich Village and Soho.

It’s definitely worth considering, especially when luxury hotels around Wall Street and Lower Manhattan can be half the price of the same hotel brand uptown!

Listen to a podcast of our tips for how to save on luxury travel to New York:

If you want to be a little closer to the action you’ll find lots of great boutique hotel options around NoHo, the East Village, Greenwich Village, even Hell’s kitchen (note: there’s no subway here). Check out New York Boutique Hotels for ideas.

How to save on luxury travel to New York

Head Downtown for cheaper rates on Manhattan luxury hotels. Image: Bigstock

Choose your travel dates carefully. Christmas and fall (autumn) are the busiest periods in New York – and therefore the most expensive seasons to visit when booking hotels. January through to March is generally considered the best value.

When you’re booking a hotel, check for Club Floor rates. Inclusions like breakfast, Internet access, sundown snacks and cocktails can save you big dollars over a weeklong stay.

Take a long lunch

Here’s one of the tastiest tips for how to save on luxury travel to New York. Many of New York’s top restaurants offer lunchtime specials, which are a great way to save on your holiday food bill. For example, Jean-Georges at 1 Central Park West (connected to the Trump Hotel) offers a two-course lunchtime special for $58. Dinner would be three times that. Del Posto, one of the city’s best Italian restaurants, offers three courses at lunchtime for $49.

How to save on luxury travel to New York

How to save on luxury travel to New York. Image courtesy of Jean Georges

Get happy with happy hour

The happy hour is a time-honoured tradition at many of New York’s finest cocktail and wine bars and can often include complimentary bar snacks, canapés and even tapas dishes. What a great way to save on dinner! Head to www.nyhappyhours.com, where you can search by date and area.

How to save on luxury travel to New York

How to save on luxury travel to New York. Image courtesy of Gansevoort Hotel

Invest in a New York Pass

With good planning the New York Pass can save you big bickies – especially the five and seven day versions. With most museums and attractions in New York averaging around $30 for adults, it won’t take you long to rack up quite a saving if you aim for at least two included attractions per day.

There are 80 attractions included in the pass – including museums, galleries, cruises and walking tours – some of which can be pre-booked online.

How much will you save? Well, the current top ten attractions in New York will cost you $300 in entry fees. A three-day pass starts at $180, and that would be plenty of time to do all ten. So you’re $120 up already!

Get connected for free

If it’s not included in your Club Floor benefits, free Wi-Fi is available in many of the city’s parks. Check www.nycgo.com for a complete list.

How to save on luxury travel to New York

How to save on luxury travel to New York

The discounted show must go on

Here’s another popular way to get a dash of culture in New York on a budget. When it comes to Broadway tickets, there are three official discount TKTS ticket booths operated in New York by the Theatre Development Fund. The main one is in the heart of Times Square. Tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows sell at 25 to 50% off. Get in early for the best daily selection.

Cash in on designer discounts

Shopping is one of the great joys of travelling to New York, so don’t less the falling Aussie curtail your fun:

  1. Sign up for an international visitor’s discount card at major department stores for a straight up 10% discount on purchases. You’ll need your passport.
  2. Check out the outlet shopping options in and around New York. Century 21 is a well-known one. Also try Gabay’s Outlet on 195 Avenue A in the East Village.
  3. Head across the Hudson to New Jersey where there’s no additional sales tax applied to clothing and shoes.

On a pair of $2,500 Christian Louboutin Maralena Flame Sandals, that’s quite a saving!

Do you have any tips for how to save on luxury travel to New York City? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Additional images: Bigstock

 

Adam Ford

About the writer

Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a Melbourne-based travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. Adam has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. He worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. Adam also appears regularly as a travel commentator on Sky News Business Class. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.


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  1. You cannot do 10 attractions in New York in 3 days. Most attractions need half a day to do them justice and to really enjoy. Travelling between attractions also takes lots of time. We stayed in New York a couple of years ago and filled our days. We bought a 10 attraction pass and managed all 10 in 9 days. We did 2 attractions on 3 different days and one on others, and other days we just walked! You need plenty of time as there is so much more to do apart from the pass attractions.

    We stayed in accommodation in Long Island/Queens – a quick 10 minute subway ride to Times Square. We enjoyed the trip into Manhattan each day and even managed a peak hour trip “home”. We felt like locals as we walked back to our hotel each night. This saved us $200 a night compared with Manhattan accommodation.

    Love New York and will return one day.

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