My husband and I decided that we wanted to wait on the honeymoon of our dreams after spending a shiny penny on our multi-ethnic wedding. The honeymoon plan was to go to Italy in the winter (whereas I have only been in the summer season) and to spend at least two weeks shuffling through narrow back alleys in search of new adventures. When we began to visit the dollar amount needed for such, it seemed to be peaking at $10,000. At work, I hit a lucky strike and found a fantastic deal to New York, a city we both know and love, and it seemed like a great substitute while we spent more time organizing the trip to Italy. As a result, we have managed to plan a trip for two to New York for less than $1,400. Here’s how I did it.
I am a loyal airline customer. I fly American or Southwest near exclusively. Recently, however, I have been using AirfareWatchDog to find exclusive and quick deals to my favorite domestic and international spots. For this trip in particular, I was able to book a roundtrip ticket to NYC for a seven day trip for $80 per ticket. Two, please! Everyone comments, “I bet those were the only two available.” No, actually. There were six left after our tickets were purchased. In total, with taxes, we spent $176.00 on the tickets. Since I wanted preferred seat assignments so that we could sit together, I opted to spend an additional $96 for those seats. In total, the airline for two roundtrip tickets across the nation cost us $272.
For baggage, this is where additional costs can eat your lunch. Keep in mind, you are allowed one carry-on and one personal bag/item on flight. The cost of a checked suitcase within weight limits is only $25 per bag. If you’re smart, choose a travel partner who packs light so you can use some of their additional suitcase space. I’m not the only one who does that, right? In totoal, baggage costs come up to $50.
This is where things got interesting. We had already saved so much on the airline ticket, I didn’t want to suddenly splurge on hotel costs. When I pulled up hotels in Manhattan, I was faced with $400/night prices. I had a moment of weakness thinking, “it would be better if I took the loss on the airline tickets and didn’t go at all.” With those prices, I would be facing $2800 hotel invoices for the week. No thanks. Instead, I looked to Airbnb. Airbnb isn’t as much of a company as much as it is a network on people just like me. If it’s your first time booking, you can get $25 off your first booking by going here. I found a user that had near flawless reviews and decent prices. Instead of paying $2800+ for the hotel, we got away with under $900 for an entire apartment that was only 15 minutes from the city. Ultimately, we kept $1900 in our pockets where it belongs.
You may need to do some price comparison when it comes to transportation. Uber has been storming the taxi industry and it’s due diligence to price your route with both a taxi driver and an Uber driver before committing. Take Google Maps and route to your destination. Make note of the miles and compare it to the local taxi fares. Also, look up your route on Uber for the cost. Obviously, you’re going to want to choose your cheaper option. In our case, it was always Uber or the train. Train fares save you so much when you’re in NYC. Day one, we went and bought a week pass for the transit line which was $31 each. In total, our transit needs were met with only $62.
I cannot emphasize how important the food arrangements are when you are traveling. To further illustrate, let’s say you spend $30 each meal for two. That’s roughly, $100 a day (including snacks and drinks when you’re on the go). That’s potentially $700 on food that you’re setting yourself up for when you travel to the inner city without a food plan. Alternatively, when you book an apartment on Airbnb, you often have a stove available. Voila! There’s you’re your money saving golden ticket once again. Again, on Day 1, in addition to our Metrocard, we went to a local market and bought $100 worth of grociers, snacks, and drinks to last us for the week. Therefore, most of the cash we spend when we are out goes to coffee spots and restaurants we actually wanted to visit.