How I traveled to New York City for 3 nights for under $500! (from San Francisco)

New York City was a place that I really wanted to visit, but it seemed just too expensive for me to go. I have my best friend, Vanessa, who lives there, someone I promised I would visit on numerous occasions, but it just seemed out of reach.

So I finally decided it was time to go and that I would just have to keep it cheap. Luckily, Virgin America was having a sale that I couldn’t pass up. So, Josh and I were able to purchase tickets for $236/person, round trip, from March 3rd-6th. While March is towards the end of the winter season and it was still very cold, it also meant that there weren’t very many tourists. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE to visit places in the off-season.

We immediately looked at Airbnb for a cheap alternative place to stay, about a month or so before our trip, and we managed to find a room in an apartment for $40/night. Staying in an apartment with other people didn’t bother us because we knew that we wouldn’t be spending much of our time there. So, with the flight and room booked, we packed our warm coats and headed to the Big Apple!

Here is a breakdown of our expenses, per person:

  • $236.40 – Virgin America Flight
  • $60.00 – Airbnb
  • $137.12 – Food (we ate out for every meal)
  • $34.00 – Rockafeller Center, “Top of the Rock”
  • $30.00 – Transportation (subway, $26. uber, $4)

TOTAL: $497.52

Overall, we probably could have saved a little more in the food section, but boy did we eat really well! I don’t really regret it. Some of the favorite places included: Stumptown (coffee), Bagels on the Square, Juliana’s (pizza in DUMBO), and The Wild Son (brunch).

As for the tourist attractions, we did do Rockafeller Center’s “Top of the Rock” instead of the Empire State Building (I am a big Tina Fey fan, so I was pretty excited to be inside the Rockafeller Center), but other than that we walked around and checked out everything else for free. We went to the Times Square, Central Park, One World Trade Center, Grand Central Station (TWICE, cause I loved it), and saw the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park. We got to visit Josh’s brother as well as my friend, Vanessa. And we also managed to go to two concerts while we were there!

What can I say, it was a jam-packed trip and I loved every second of it! I am ready for round two!

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