Cheap New York City for the Budget Savvy Traveler

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.

Getting Around

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.

18 comments on “Cheap New York City for the Budget Savvy Traveler

  1. This is an amazing post! Everyone who travels will find it so useful.
    Wish you a wonderful week ahead Marcia:)

  2. Great tips and information, Marcia. We were in NYC last month too. We traveled by subways and the Metrocard was so useful and saved us money. It came out cheaper for us to go on the Airtrain and subway to the city than the other options too.

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  4. Yes, Marcia, that MetroCard is just so useful, as we found out on our recent NY trip!

  5. Just wanted to add that a week of unlimited Metro rides is only $29.00 ~ all week ~ all the subway you want! It’s a great way to see the city and explore. I downloaded a free iOS app for my phone too that helps me navigate the different trains. I love riding up to the upper East or West side, picking a stop and exploring!! Some of the architecture is amazing and I always manage to find a little neighborhood eatery that is perfect. Of course, grabbing lunch and sitting in the park works too!

  6. Thanks for the tips, New York can be expensive good to know that you can save a little cash by using the mass transit system, and that it’s actually successful.

  7. You’re welcome, Kevin. It’s the one of the best things NYC has going for it.
    I always get sticker shock when I go to DC and take their metro. Makes me realize how lucky we are in NYC.

  8. It’s hard to find anything cheap in the city of New York, but this serves as great information for travelers.

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