When we got back from New York as well as messages asking how our trip was we also received messages asking how we did it. Including comments about how expensive it must have been taking three children. I thought the easiest way to answer these questions would be just to pop it all in one blog post breaking down the more expensive aspects of going to New York.
We started with the flights, when we got back from California we needed another getaway to look forward to, and now had a thirst for America, so we were itching to get back and explore another state. We flew to Cali with British Airways and a few days after getting back I got their world sale email, it’s how I found such good prices for our previous flights. I had a browse and played around with some dates and found a good deal. Our total flight cost was £1,600, and we thought £320 for return flights for each of us was as good as it could get, especially for half term.
The Cheapest Airport Parking we found was with Purple Parking. Just signing up to their newsletter alone at the time of us booking would have saved us 15%. We are still buzzing from the Meet & Greet Parking option that we went with in the end. Within minutes of getting through border control and grabbing our luggage, we came out an elevator to be handed our keys to the car which was right in front of us. Definitely something worth working into your budget.
Exploring New York attractions and it’s top tourist attractions was made cheaper with the use of our CityPASS which saved us 40% on entry prices. I like the fact we got to skip queues thanks to the separate CityPass queues at most of the attractions. Combine all this with all the free thing you can do in New York, and you have your holiday plans all sorted.
Now Hotel Transfer would have been so much cheaper for us if we could have just used the subway. But with three children and three large cases as well as hand luggage, it wasn’t a feasible option. We booked with Holiday Taxis and spent £140 for our return hotel transfer from JFK to our hotel in Manhatten. Looking back I would have used Uber as our transfer option which would of cost around $40. I wish I could say that Holiday Taxis were worth the extra cost, but the drivers were not friendly, and that night when we landed, it took us a long time to get to our hotel which wasn’t ideal with three tired children.
For the Hotel, we spent a couple of months after booking the flights hunting the web for a hotel that jumped out at us as the ideal family hotel. Reading reviews played a huge part in our decision as well as its location. Booking.com had a good system of allowing us to hunt for the lowest price upwards with the option of excluding hostels. There were cheaper hotels futher afield as well as self-catering apartments so this is one area where we didn’t go for the cheapest. We found The Hotel at Times Square for $2,399.86 (£1,958) for 14 nights for the 5 of us. It was SO close to everything but being down a street away from it all which meant we never heard a sound and the biggest bonus of this hotel was the free breakfast which leads me on to talking about food.
Dining out was probably the most significant cost for us, and I believe it’s as expensive as you allow it to be. There were days where we go out for a meal and swallow up the cost and go for anything on the menu and pay for that along with the service charge and tax and then there were days where we could grab a McDonalds and eat it in our hotel room while watching TV. We saved money on drink by filling up our water bottles at the hotel in the morning for the day ahead. Our biggest regret is not setting a daily budget for food costs, so this is something I would recommend if you are visiting New York on a budget.
One extra cost if you’ve not visited America before is the ESTA which authorises you to travel to America. Ours was still valid from our previous trip, and we were grateful for this when we landed in JFK as we got to skip the queue and going through security a tad bit easier. Your ESTA lasts for two years, and I do wish we had left applying for ours as late as possible so that we could squeeze our next America getaway out of it, but then it’s always better to prepare in advance. You are charged $4 for the processing of the application and $10.00 if your application is approved. I would note that if you are planning on spending more than 90 days over there, then you need to obtain a visa for this.