New York City was a great place to spend our 2 year anniversary. We have both been there but neither of us has ever explored it “Wayward Wanderer” style… It’s so romantic and when you have an awesome partner to travel with and experience with, it’s the best! Destinations planned but no set schedule… ah, just wandering, wandering, wandering… Some of our best finds are ones we wander on to. Neither of us can imagine a different way to explore! And traveling on a budget to New York City, well that just made it that more fun and interesting!
New York City is one amazing place that everyone should see at least once! There is so much history, so much adversity, and so much excitement lurking at every turn! But, like most cities, it’s expensive. The Wayward Wanderers went though on a budget and it wasn’t bad at all. We saved money with discounted tickets, smart decisions, and knowledge about what to expect before we went. We talked to friends about what they had done, researched online and comparison shopped. We want to pass all that information along to you, our faithful readers. And hope to see you in the Big Apple on one of our return trips! There will be many more to come as we are in love with NYC! And 2 1/2 days just isn’t long enough to see it.
Lodging: No matter where you plan to stay in New York City or what type of lodging you want, it is expensive. And everyone thinks being right in the city is important for the experience. Not true. Where we stayed added to our experience.
We stayed in Secaucus, New Jersey at the Red Roof Inn Plus. Their newly renovated rooms are comfortable, clean, and affordable. We booked through Hotels.com and paid only $100 per night! With only a 10 minute commute directly to the heart of New York City we truly enjoyed it without sacrificing the city experience. And the train ride was clean and safe. It offered the excitement of riding the subway but none of the horror stories you hear about.
Transportation in to and around New York City: We walked a lot in the city but there are some things you just need transportation for. This is what we did.
We drove our car to the Secaucus Junction – Meadowlands Train Station and parked there for only $9 a day (weekend rate). Then we purchased the roundtrip train tickets in to New York City for $8 each. The train stops at Penn Station under Madison Square Garden. The train goes every 10 minutes and runs until 2:00am. Keep in mind if you are gone more than 12 hours, your parking will jump to $29… still much cheaper than parking in the city and no fighting that New York traffic!
From Penn Station, we were able to walk to the Empire State Building, Time Square and Madame Tussauds on our first afternoon. On our second day though we knew we had more to see and our feet would be tired. The BEST thing we did was purchase bus tour tickets. Before our trip we visited Groupon and Living Social and were able to find tickets for the OPEN LOOP New York Bus. We had access from 8am-8pm and instead of paying the normal $29 per person, we paid just $10 each! The bus goes uptown, midtown, downtown and on a night tour and the loops hit all the main attractions like the Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Museum and Memorial, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, Empire State Building, Chinatown, Wall Street and more. Anytime we saw something of interest, we just hopped off the bus, explored and then got back on the next time we saw our bus. Easy!
Discounted Tickets to New York Attractions: The first time in New York you’ll want to see it all! And the cost adds up fast! We are in love with the New York City PASS! They have them for a few cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto that we’ll be checking out soon! Not only do they save you quite a bit of money but in many locations, you get to skip the long lines. That alone was worth it for us!
The City PASS gives you admission to:
- Empire State Building Experience (includes a day visit AND night visit!)
- American Museum of Natural History
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Top of the Rock Observatory OR Guggenheim Museum
- Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
New York took both our hearts. We were nervous before we went because we grew up hearing stories about how dirty, busy and cold the people of New York are. We quickly learned it wasn’t all true. Yes, it’s busy but the people we talked to were friendly and helpful, the train and bus were clean and we felt completely at ease. Knowing the loose plan before going helped and of course, being together helped the most. We can’t wait to go back!
You can see all our photos on Facebook.
Resources we used to save money in New York City:
- Hotels.com to book our lodging in advance and earn reward nights toward a free stay.
- CityPASS to see 6 main attractions
- OPEN LOOP New York hop on hop off to ride around to the various attractions uptown, midtown, downtown and for a night tour
- Living Social for food, discounts on some tickets
- Groupon for food, discounts on tickets