You’re planning to visit New York City, but you don't really know how much your budget for the trip should be? Between activities, plane tickets, transportation, accommodation and other extras, the list of expenses can grow fast! 😅
Depending on the season, the number of people travelling and the places you wish to discover, the price of a trip to New York varies enormously! You'll need to start planning as early as possible to avoid unpleasant surprises. To help you see things a little more clearly, here are some estimates of the budget you need to prepare for the different aspects of your trip 🙂
Flight to New York and back
Round trip airfare to New York is a significant expense. Flight prices will depend mainly on when you travel and when you make your reservation. If you book early enough, i.e. about 3 months before your departure, you should be able to find a return flight from London to New York for about £490 to £630. If you go during the off-season or if you're lucky, you can sometimes even find tickets for around £355! 😉
On the other hand, if you go during the high tourist season and more precisely during the summer holidays or the end of year celebrations, expect to pay your ticket rather around £715, or even much more if you wait too long before booking your ticket!
Price of a trip to New York: accomodation
Accommodation is undoubtedly the area of expenditure where the budget will most depend on your desires and requirements. One thing is certain, hotels in New York are expensive! But their prices vary enormously depending on their standing and location.
If you are still unsure of where to stay in New York, consider the following information:
- For a classic, well-located hotel on the outskirts of Manhattan or nearby, expect to pay between £130 and £225 per night for a 2-people room.
- If you're sleeping on a budget, you may want to consider a youth hostel or homestay. If you're looking for the cheapest accommodation in New York, that’s what you'll want to look into. Still, you should expect to pay at least £70 per night.
- If you want to stay in a more upscale, well-located establishment in Manhattan itself, expect at least £265 a night for a room for two. Of course, you will also find big luxury hotels in Manhattan, with suites that cost 3 to 4 times as much, if not more!
Depending on your choice of hotel, for a one-week stay for two in New York, you will need to budget between £535 and over £1,785. For this type of stay, an average accommodation budget is around £1,115.
Good hotel plan in New York! 🛏️
You’re planning your trip to New York and looking to save as much as possible on accommodation? I recommend the West Side YMCA in Manhattan, in the Upper West Side, next to Central Park and only a 5 minute walk from Columbus Circle 🙂
The hotel offers standard double rooms with bathroom from £85 per night. Its location is one of the best value for money you will find in New York. Still, remember to book as early as possible to ensure you’ll get both a room and the best rates 😄
Visits and sightseeing outings
During your stay in New York, you're bound to want to do a lot of exploring, especially if it's your first time in the city. There are countless attractions in the Big Apple, and their prices vary greatly 🍏
It is important to note, however, that there are many awesome activities you can do for free, such as taking the Staten Island Ferry or visiting the High Line, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, Grand Central Terminal or The Vessel.
On the other hand, some attractions are rather reserved for people who can really afford them. I am thinking in particular of the helicopter flight over New York, a must-do activity in NYC but still very expensive. However, if you are interested in this unique experience, just know that you’ll get to fly over Manhattan by helicopter and see the Statue of Liberty from the sky 🤩 It's an unforgettable experience for sure – even if it costs about £180 per person!
Of course, most of the time, if you've planned a trip to New York, it's most certainly to discover as many things as possible and to take the opportunity to visit some of the Big Apple's most iconic places! 😊
To give you an idea of how much you need to budget for your activities in New York, here are some examples of popular activities in the city:
Top of the Rock Observatory
Cruise to Ellis Island
Musical in Broadway
NBA match in Madison Square Garden
Guided tour of the Met
If you want to do a good number of visits, you will most certainly save money by choosing a City Pass for New York. There are a number of different passes available, which allow you to either choose a fixed number of visits, or to do as many visits as you like over a specific number of days 🙂
- The Go City Explorer Pass, for example, grants you access to 2 to 10 attractions of your choice, starting from £62 (you can pick the attractions from a list).
- The New York Pass will let you visit as many of the listed attractions as you like during 1 to 10 days, starting from £120.
In short, you will have understood that the budget to plan for your activities in New York will really depend on your own desires 😃 In the absolute, you will certainly manage to find things to do for free during your whole stay, but you must admit that it would be a shame to miss out on some of the must-sees!
To make an overall estimate, for a week-long trip to New York, I think you'll need to allocate at least £110 per person, which is enough to take a New York Explorer Pass of 4 attractions. If you really want to indulge yourself and attend a sports game or one of the Broadway musicals, take guided tours and many other discoveries, £625 to £715 per person will definitely not be too much!
Therefore, the average budget for your activities and visits in New York during a week-long stay for two should be around £450 🙂
Book your activities in New York🌆
One of the easiest ways to manage the cost of a trip to New York is to plan ahead as much as possible! So if you want to visit a lot in the City that Never Sleeps, you must book your activities in advance 😉 Whether to visit a museum, go up to an observation deck or take a dinner cruise in New York, booking will always save you money and help you avoid unpleasant surprises 😊
Price of a trip to New York: food expenses
Food is another expense not to be underestimated. In New York, it is of course possible to eat well without breaking the bank, but you could possibly want to indulge in some of the more expensive restaurants – where the bill can quickly become astronomical! In the end, between a hot dog or a slice of pizza for just over a dollar, or a meal in a Michelin-starred restaurant for several hundred dollars, making an average estimate of the meal budget is no easy task 🍴
The prices in fast food restaurants are quite similar to those in the UK. On the other hand, in more classic or gastronomic restaurants, prices are generally a bit higher.
Depending on the establishment you choose, you can get by for about 20 pounds per person per day, but you can also easily spend 5 times that amount to enjoy a meal in a more upscale restaurant. Speaking of, if you want to know the best restaurants in New York, don't hesitate to consult my guide on this subject! 😋
Back to the matter at hand, for a one-week stay for two people in New York City, you should expect spending between £270 and £1,160 on your meal budget. This is of course an estimate: £1,160 will definitely not be enough to eat in upscale restaurants at every meal 😅
As a rule of thumb, you'll already be set if you plan on an average meal budget of £535 for a week for two as a couple 🙂
Transportation in New York City
When you arrive at and depart from the city, you will need to go from the airport to downtown New York and back. Moreover, even if you are staying in the heart of Manhattan and as close as possible to the Big Apple's major attractions, you will inevitably need to use public transport fairly regularly to get around New York during your stay. As such, it's important to set aside a portion of your budget for these various trips 🙂
For a round trip from the airport to Manhattan, you'll need to spend a minimum of £18 per person for a trip on the AirTrain and New York underground. Other options are available, but prices rise quickly:
- With the Shuttle, you'll need to spend more like £35 per person for the round trip in question.
- By taxi or private vehicle such as a limousine, expect to pay a minimum of £70, or even more depending on the vehicle you chose.
For your travels in the city itself, the budget will depend on the vehicles used for your travels:
- The unlimited MetroCard will cost you $33 per person per week.
- If you prefer to travel by taxi, the price will of course vary depending on the distance travelled. Generally, an average trip in Manhattan will cost you about $15.
For a one-week trip for two, we can therefore estimate that the budget to be spent on transport in New York will be between £98 (for 2 MetroCards and 2 AirTrain transfers) and more than £355 (if you plan to use a private vehicle for transfers and several taxi rides per day). For this type of trip, you will be quite comfortable with an average transportation budget of £135 to £180 🚕
Shopping and extras
This last part of the global budget is optional. If you are on a really tight budget, forget about shopping and only allow a few dozen dollars to bring back souvenirs from New York, and to treat yourself in a pastry shop or in a café 🙂 But you will probably want to budget a little more, so as to buy a t-shirt or a cap, or to treat yourself a little more.
For a one-week stay in New York, you'll need to budget at least £55 for a few extras, but the average budget is closer to £265. Of course, if you are planning to raid the department stores, shopping centres and Outlets in New York, you must get ready to put your bank card on the line and plan for a much larger budget!
Price of a trip to New York: Summary table
Now that we have estimated most of the expenses for a trip to New York, here is a summary table of budget estimates for a one-week trip to New York for two people:
That's it for this article on the price of a trip to New York. I hope it was useful and that thanks to this, you are now able to better organise and plan your trip to New York 😀 If you want to prepare as much as possible, don't hesitate to also check out my article on the transfer from JFK to Manhattan! 😊