You’d never know it, but there’s a cheap New York City that beckons the budget savvy traveler. Here are my picks for cheap ways to get around and enjoy the Big Apple.
Most travelers, including Michael Bloomberg, the current mayor will agree that New York City has one of the best transportation systems anywhere. With express and local buses that connect to major subway stops, it’s a breeze to get around the city or get to the airport. And Bloomberg, one of the city’s richest residents, takes the subway to work.
As soon as you get to the city, buy a MetroCard. A single ride on the bus or subway costs $2.50 but a better buy is the one-week unlimited ride MetroCard which costs $29.50 and gets you on subways and buses. Sold at vending machines at subway stations and some kiosks. Vending machines take cash and credit/debit cards. Cards are better for refunds if your MetroCard is lost or stolen. Most subway stations have elevators and/or escalators; many are wheelchair accessible.
Making connections to the airport
La Guardia, take the A, B, C, D or 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 train or M1, M101 bus or Metro North to 125th Street then connect to the M60 bus which takes you directly to the airport. Price by bus or subway $2.5o one way or Metrocard. Add $6.75 for Metro North peak hour rate.
For JFK, take the A train to the Howard Beach/JFK stop and connect to the AirTrain which will take you to the airport. Cost $7.25, including $5 Air Train fare. You can also take the E, J or Z train to Queens, get off at Stuphin Blvd and connect with the Air Train or the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) to Jamaica Avenue. There’s an in station link to the Air Train which runs every 4 to 10 minutes. For LIRR, add $8.75 peak time rate.
Going to or from Newark? Head to Penn Station and take NJ Transit to Newark Liberty Airport station and connect to the Air Train, which picks up passengers every 3 minutes. Cost $12.50, includes the $5.50 Air Train fee. Travel time 25 minutes.
New York Airport Service operates express buses that will take you to and from the major airports. Buses run every 15 minutes and make stops at Grand Central, Penn Station and the Port Authority. If you reserve online, the fare to JFK and La Guardia is $10.
Shuttle Vans/Shared Ride. If you want door to door service on a budget, schedule a pickup with the Supershuttle, also called the Blue Van. For under $20, they will pick you up at your home or hotel and take you to any of the airports. This is a shared service so they’ll be picking up other passengers as well.
On your next trip, make sure you take advantage of these cheap New York deals.