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Also known as the Big Apple and the City that Never Sleeps, New York City is a prime vacation destination for millions of people every year. But it is also one of the world’s most expensive cities.

With museums, Broadway, Fifth Avenue shopping, and so much more, it’s hard not to spend a fortune when visiting NYC. But, w’ere here to tell you that it is completely possible to have a luxury-style vacation without breaking the bank!

Enjoying the glitz and glamour of New York on a budget starts with planning and a little creativity. Ready to learn more? Keep reading!

How to Have a Luxury New York City Vacation without Breaking the Bank

A-List Accommodations

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New York has a plethora of options when it comes to accommodations. You certainly want to start by finding the right balance between luxurious and affordable accommodations.

If you want this trip to be a little fancier, you can definitely spring for one of the best hotels in New York City. But to not break the bank, it’s best to spend time looking at the amenities to make sure you won’t have any surprise, last-minute costs.

Is there a daily charge for parking (if you are bringing a car)? Is there a complimentary breakfast or airport shuttle? Have you budgeted enough money for tipping?

Tipping is expected in hotels in the United States, and if you’re in America for the first time, you’ll want to budget for this. Plan on giving a couple of dollars to the bellman, and leaving the same for the housekeepers who service your room.

If you venture outside Manhattan the cost of hotels will be significantly less than otherwise, but if your heart is set on a Manhattan hotel, make sure you compare prices online, and never be afraid to ask for a discount.

Negotiating with a hotel for a better deal is common. Sometimes there won’t be any wiggle room, but you’ll never know unless you ask.

Broadway at a 70% Discount

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This might seem impossible to find deals if you’re not a native New Yorker, but it is quite feasible!

One of the biggest tourist attractions in New York City is the arts and culture found on Broadway. You can use services like the TKTS booth or show lotteries to find tickets at extremely discounted rates. The TKTS booth offers same-day show tickets for up to 70% off!

If you’re willing to stand in line for a little while, you can snap up excellent last minute seats to the latest shows, and you can also try your luck by entering a show lottery. This one is a little riskier, but is all part of the fun!

But, make sure you do your research in advance so you know which shows are hot, and which shows are not.

Balance Your Meals

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Balancing meals in this case does not refer to health, instead, we mean strike a balance between fancy meals and affordable dives, of which there are many!

New York City has so many food options, and there is no reason to spend a fortune on every meal! Sure, there are trendy Michelin star restaurants, but we recommend one “expensive” meal per day so you’re not blowing your whole budget.

Street food is a big part of the NYC culture and lifestyle, so aim for a hotel breakfast, street food for lunch, and if you’re so inclined you can splash out on a fancier dinner each night.

Getting a Sabrett hot dog in Central Park, or Southeast Asian-style tacos from a food truck on 6th Avenue are big staples of the New York experience, and they won’t cost you more than $5.

Balance Free With Paid Activities

The great thing about experiencing New York City is that there are a huge range of free activities, and you can spend your days walking through Central Park, people watching, or can take the free Staten Island Ferry among locals to see the Statue of Liberty.

Sure, there are a huge range of day spas, cocktail bars and shopping you can do if you’ve got the money to burn, but just immersing yourself in the glitz and glamour that is NYC is enough to create the feeling of luxury, and this can be totally free!

If you are after a bit of pampering, combine free activities in the morning with an afternoon at the Aire Ancient Baths. Located in what was once an 1883 textile factory, the AIRE experience focuses on Roman, Greek and Ottoman traditions to transport you back to ancient times.

Come the evening, take a sunset cruise to watching the lights of the iconic New York City skyline. After-all, to truly appreciate the city that never sleeps, you have to see it after nightfall!

Image credit: Daniel X. O’Neil (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Tailor the Trip

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Really, the definition of luxury is in the eye of the beholder. So decide what is important to you.

Is it 5-star accommodations? A Broadway experience like no other, or a steak dinner you dream about later? Tailor the trip – and the budget – to your definition of luxury.

This will mean you spend your money and time on what matters to you. Rather than focusing on other’s definition of luxury, live out your own dream!

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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