Go Ahead, plan your mini vacation to NYC, it’s cheaper than you thought.  If you’re willing to be a bit flexible, you can enjoy New York City for a few days and do it with less.  The Big Apple awaits you.

First, you need to be a bit strategic, plan to fly on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursdays, fewer people fly those days, so ticket prices are cheaper.  Also, watch for airfare specials on popular websites like Expedia, and Orbitz.  Don’t forget to check the airline’s website, in some cases, last minute airfare reductions appear there.

You’ll want to fly into either New York’s JFK or Newark’s EWR airports as both offer train service to Manhattan.  If you’re a bit more flexible and open, consider flying to LaGuardia, but be prepared for some inconvenience trying to get to the city as there is no direct rail link.

Getting to Manhattan, you’re going to want to get an MTA fare card.  $20 should be enough to get you around for 3 days.  In addition, if you fly into Newark, you have 2 options getting to Manhattan.  1- take the NJ Transit that leaves from the airport every 20 minutes and has only 2 stops before arriving in NY Penn Station in Midtown, just a few blocks south of Times Square.

2- Take the NJ Transit to the next stop, Newark Penn Station, then transfer trains to the Path train located directly across the platform you get off on, it will take you to the WTC, World Trade Center, the terminal where you can hop any train around the city.

Now you’re going to want a place to put your things and to sleep.  If you’ve never stayed at a hostel, consider that those rates are usually between $25-$50 per night per person.  Accommodations range from semi-private rooms to open bay bunk style rooms with multiple beds that others you don’t know will stay in.  Most all hostels do have private lockers you can put your things in.  They are usually clean and safe places.  NYC has several hostels in Manhattan.

Of course, if you need more private accommodations, you’ll want to get a regular hotel room.  Manhattan is by far the highest priced with rates $150-200+, Staten Island normally has rates around $80-$130 per night.

All told, you can expect to spend as little as $500 for 3 days including airfare, hotel, and local transportation.  Food and entertainment are extra.

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