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If you’re planning on travelling to New York, you’re probably wondering how much you need to budget for your trip. While your travel costs will depend on your travel style, generally speaking New York is best for travellers with some spending money.
Accommodation costs are generally on the high side and food and drinks are relatively expensive. Many of New York’s best attractions are rather expensive to visit and, while some activities could set you back a fair amount, there’s plenty to do at lower price points too.
A reasonable budget for two for a week in New York is around $3,000.
This is based on staying in good, mid-range accommodation and having a few meals out per week, while preparing some yourself. It makes allowances for a couple of sightseeing activities, but doesn’t take into account expensive activities like adventure sports or private tours.
Generally speaking, the longer you travel, the cheaper it costs per day, while fly-in, fly-out trips can be more expensive.
You can expect to spend between $200-$300 a night, per couple, on accommodation in New York. This will get you a private room with your own bathroom in a 3-4-star hotel or apartment rental.See latest hotel deals in New York
Hostels are, of course, cheaper, but a private room with a shared bathroom will still cost around $120 per night. A bed in a dorm room also averages around $60 per night, per person, although there are definitely cheaper options out there.See the highest rated hostels in New York
As is the case in many major cities, accommodation costs in New York City vary, depending on which neighbourhood you choose to stay in. Manhattan is considerably more expensive than Brooklyn and the further away you get, the more affordable the accommodation. Saying that, there are a few cheaper neighbourhoods in New York City which are still very convenient. If you're still deciding where to stay, read our neighbourhood guide for New York.
Budget to spend around $850 for two for a week in New York. This assumes you’re cooking some of the time and drinking a small amount of alcohol.
If you enjoy eating out, you can expect to pay around $115 for a nice dinner for two, including an alcoholic drink. A meal at a pub is likely to be around $65 for two, with cheaper meals available (especially for lunch) for around $15 each.
Assuming that you’ll be eating out some of the time, budget at least $75 a week for groceries. If you enjoy a few drinks, you’ll need to increase this amount – beer costs around $5 for a 500ml bottle and good bottle of wine is around $17, although you can always find cheaper options in the supermarket. Milk typically costs around $1 for a two-litre bottle and you can expect to pay around $5 for a cappuccino from a local café.
While eating out in New York can be expensive, groceries and fast food options are a lot more affordable. If you want to spend less than the above, finding cheaper places to eat is the way to go. Look for food trucks, head to Chinatown and try the local bagels and hot dogs - typical New York food.
Getting around New York is easiest with a train. Transport costs fluctuate depending how much you travel, but budgeting around $125 for two per week is a good starting point. This should allow you to take a couple of intercity train routes. If you’re planning on doing any tours or using hop-on hop-off buses, you’ll need to up your budget a bit.
Expect to use the subway to get around New York City. The above amount includes a couple of day trips out of the city - if you stick to Manhattan, your transport costs should be less.
A lot of the best things to do in New York are free. However, there definitely are some attractions that cost money – entry fees to a museum or an art gallery are usually around $25 - $60 per person. If you want to do organised day trips or join smaller tour groups to learn more about some of the sites, budget around $150 per activity per person.
New York is a beautiful destination to visit and although it’s not cheap, it’s definitely possible to travel there for less. Cooking your own meals, carefully selecting accommodation or limiting meals out will definitely help you to reduce your travel costs. Slow travel is another great way to help your budget to stretch further, while exploring a place in more depth.
Travelling through New York is definitely possible on a budget – just pick your priorities and compromise on the rest or consider travelling in the off-season (Spring, Autumn and avoiding school holidays) to cut down on costs. And, if you’re on the luxury end of the scale or wanting to treat yourself, the sky’s the limit.
Last Updated 4 May 2022