This is the second part of a 2 part series on saving money in New York City.
I did some quick research before heading to the airport and discovered it was cheaper to rent a vehicle to get there (before flying), and then rent another vehicle when heading home after the trip. These are called one-way rentals since it involves two rental locations (one close to my home and one at the airport) and was cheaper than taking a cab to/from the airport or parking at the airport.
A cab would have cost $85 (one way) and it cost $19 to rent a vehicle. This came with some nice perks – I didn’t have to worry about a cab not showing up early in the morning and I didn’t have to worry about trying to find parking at the airport. When departing I simply drove to the airport, returned the keys and left. From my lessons in the past I made sure to only rent from a reputable company, take pictures of the vehicle when I picked it up and to do a full vehicle inspection when I picked it up.
While in New York I found it handy to download the Hop Stop app on my smart phone to get around. The app uses your current location to give detailed subway directions on exactly how to get to your destination using the NYC subway – which can be very confusing.
I also purchased a 7 day unlimited metro card which meant I didn’t have to find change every time I used the subway. I found the subway to be the easiest way to get around Manhattan and used ti about 3-4 times per day, which meant I saved big by using the the $31 unlimited 7 day pass. Click here to find out more about Metro fares. I even used it on the last day to get to a station closest to the airport, where a taxi cost $12 direct to the airport.
I also considered using Uber for transportation to/from the airport but it actually would have been more expensive than a cab, so I chose to use the subway system instead. There are group shuttle services that offer transportation to/from the airport for a flat fee but from what I’ve read they usually involve plenty of stops at other hotels to pick up other passengers and can take much more time.
I found a good deal on a hotel using Hotwire, and used Trip Advisor to do some research on recommended hotels. I wanted to find a hotel that was central and clean, but also affordable (for NYC). I stayed at a hotel about two blocks from Times Square which was handy because we saw a couple Broadway plays that were within minutes walking distance of the hotel.
I considered using AirBnB but found the prices to be close to or even higher than a hotel. I would have considered an AirBnB rental if I wanted to make use of the kitchen to make my own meals, but we didn’t spend much time in the hotel so I knew it wouldn’t matter if we stayed in a hotel over a private rental apartment.
I knew I would want to use my smart phone while in NYC so I picked up a $20 Roam Mobility sim card and purchased a data plan. 7 days of data cost me about $15, and it was well worth the money since I used the phone for finding Broadway theatre tickets and for navigating around the city.
In case you aren’t familiar with Roam Mobility, they offer discount roaming rates for Canadians travelling to either Mexico or the United States. Their plans are very cheap compared to the big cell phone companies and the setup is straight forward. I purchased my plan the week before leaving and set it to begin when I landed, which was handy because it meant I just had to switch my sim card while on the plane and the phone worked perfectly when I arrived in NYC.
Of course you’ll want to make sure your phone is unlocked to be able to take advantage of Roam’s cheap rates.
Conclusion: NYC is expensive but there are a few ways to save money – mainly by purchasing the unlimited use Metro card, searching for a good deal on a hotel using Hotwire and using a Roam Mobility data plan to avoid heft roaming costs.
How do you save money in NYC?