Big Apple, Small Budget: Planning An Affordable Trip To New York

New York, New York. Who hasn’t dreamed of exploring the streets of Manhattan and soaking up one of the greatest cities in the world? While you might think that dream will stay a dream because of the cost involved, the truth is that it’s now cheaper than ever to visit New York for a short break.

New York

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Interested in discovering the dazzling lights of the Big Apple? Take a look at this useful guide for planning a trip to New York on a budget.

Get clever with flights

If you play your cards right, you could fly to New York for less than £300 return – that’s crazy compared to what a transatlantic flight would have cost you years ago! Using Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights, you could plan your trip around the cheapest flight times and have a blast.

Stay on the outskirts

Like most major cities, it’s cheaper to stay in hotels outside of Manhattan than within it. You could stay at the Melville Marriott Long Island and take the short trip into the city to explore. New York is the city that never sleeps after all, so if you like your rest – a stay on the outskirts might be just what you need to recover after a day of sightseeing.

Enjoy top attractions for less

You’re sure to have a long list of things that you want to see in New York, although they can cost a lot of money when you add everything up. Fortunately, there are some great ways to save money on top New York attractions, which will make it easier to fit everything in on your budget. Keep an eye out for theatre deals and last-minute ticket options for sports events – there are some amazing deals to be found if you can be flexible with your time.

Eat out for less

Just as you would at home, you can find some incredible eating out bargains for top restaurants in New York City. Websites such as Groupon have some fantastic promotions if you know what you’re looking for, while it doesn’t hurt to search online for the best deals. Meanwhile, if you want to enjoy some of New York’s most upmarket restaurants, why not book a table for brunch or breakfast? As two of the cheapest meals of the day, you can enjoy some of New York’s finest dining for much less than an evening meal.

 

New York is an incredible city to visit, with so many exciting things to take in. It’s easy to plan a trip on a budget, and with the money leftover, you could consider planning a multi-destination trip to another city like Washington DC or Las Vegas. Domestic flights are affordable in America, and with a selection of airports, New York is the perfect destination to begin your trip. A trip to New York will be a memorable experience, so plan your trip wisely to ensure you get to take it all in.

*This is a collaborative post

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Brooklyn Street Art

I was planning on writing about my 2018 bullet journal spread today but I’ve actually been in bed with the flu all of this year so far! I haven’t even opened my bullet journal let alone have anything to blog about it. So today I thought I’d show you the street art I found in Brooklyn on my honeymoon last September. I already blogged about New York and Brooklyn but I took so many Brooklyn street art photos that I couldn’t include them. So here’s a dedicated post:

Brooklyn Street Art

These were all taken on Topher and my ridiculous walk from the Brooklyn Bridge to Williamsburg. Top tip – don’t walk from Brooklyn Bridge to Williamsburg. Three and a half miles isn’t too bad but when the sun is blazing and you’re desperate for the bathroom it is not fun. It’s better to walk back across the bridge to Manhattan and take the subway as there is no direct subway from Dumbo to Williamsburg.

Anyway lesson learned and we found some fun street art along the way!

Brooklyn street art - robots

Brooklyn street art - the kiss

Brooklyn street art - sweet n low

Brooklyn street art - wives

This one below was on the edge of a big development site and also on one of the long ass roads we had to walk along. So it made the walk a little more interesting.

Brooklyn street art - building site

Brooklyn street art - crane

Brooklyn street art - monochrome

Brooklyn street art - possiden

These next two are just sandwich boards but I had to include them as they made me smile!

Brooklyn street art - horse

Brooklyn street art - jaws

This is my second favourite piece we found – it just makes me laugh, pure and simple. And I like cats.

Brooklyn street art - ghandi

This was actually a banner in a market but I really liked because Prince.

Brooklyn street art - prince

Brooklyn street art - lady

Brooklyn street art - skeleton

I only noticed this one because I was looking up to the sky and praying for the sun not to burn me. It gave me the pep talk I needed to keep going.

Brooklyn street art - you go girl

Brooklyn street art - ali

Brooklyn street art -restaurant

How cool are all the hidden faces?

Brooklyn street art - magical

This one with Louis Armstrong was by far my favourite but some hipsters were having a yard sale in front of it so I couldn’t get a better picture – boo.

Brooklyn street art - louis

This last one was actually in Manhattan but I had to include it as it was cool.

Brooklyn street art -manhattan

I’ve also taken photos of Manchester and Nottingham Street art.

Where’s the best place you’ve visited for Street Art?

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New York City Honeymoon Travel Diary

Time for the barrage of honeymoon posts. Totally not sorry. First stop, New York

New York City baby! As mentioned before, I’ll be doing separate posts just for the food because there was a lot of it and it was hard enough choosing photos for this post. Sorry for the subsequent photo bomb.

So New York was at both the beginning and end of our trip. We did 2 days and an evening at the beginning, followed by 2 and a half days at the end.

Day 1 (kinda)

Our flight arrived in JFK around 4.30pm local time so after immigration we hopped on the subway to Manhattan to our first hotel. Why not a taxi? It’s $50 which compared to around $16.50 for two of us to use the Airtrain and the subway seemed like a no brainer. We weren’t in a massive rush and had hand luggage only so it wasn’t a problem. I’d watched a Youtube video on how to use the subway so it was pretty easy.

After checking into our hotel in Midtown on 6th avenue and freshening up we headed over to the Empire State Building to tick off our first landmark.

New York - empire state

The views were absolutely incredible. It was my third time heading up in my life (Topher’s first) but it was my very first time going at night and I loved it.

New York - empire state building view

Then we were off to a late dinner, passing the Flatiron building along the way.

New York - Flatiron building

Bellies full we headed back to the hotel and collapsed.

Day 1 (the real day 1)

Up bright and early (I love east to west jet lag) we hopped on the subway downtown to see the Statue of Liberty. A first for the both of us. If you’re not interested in actually going to the island I fully recommend getting the Staten Island Ferry as it goes right past and it’s free. We wanted to go inside so we purchased tickets online about a month and a half earlier.

Unfortunately we didn’t get them in advance enough to get access to the crown but I just wanted to go inside so we got Pedestal tickets which also gives you access to Ellis Island and the Immigration Museum. If you’re desperate to get as far up as you can, book as soon as you can as they only let a few hundred people up there a day.

New York - state of liberty

We wandered all around the island and the mini museum inside the pedestal before getting the ferry over Ellis Island. This was something I was really looking forward to as it’s awesome to think of the amount of immigrants who went through this building so they could get a new life.

New York - ellis island

Back in Manhattan we had lunch then walked to see Wall Street before getting the subway to our next destination.

DSC_3953

Washington Square Arch! It’s so cool being able to see landmarks that you’ve only seen in the films before.

New York - washington square arch

New York - east village

Later in the afternoon we arrived on 6th avenue to go to Rockefeller Center and go to the Top of the Rock.

New York - Radio City

It’s tall!

New York - rockerfeller centre

I found the Jordanian flag!

DSC_3980

Though I loved the view from the Empire State Building, it did fall slightly short of the view from the Top of the Rock. Mainly because the Empire State itself could be part of the view. I’m glad we chose to see one during the day and one at night. It was pretty gloomy that day and the ticket office tried to advise us not to go as it was raining but we just said “Don’t worry, we’re British.” Sure, if you wanted to see for miles it was too gloomy for that, but we saw everything we wanted to see, including the Statue of Liberty.

New York - top of the rock

New York - central park from above

After dinner we decided to head to the iconic Times Square. It was busy and chucking it down with rain. We got our selfies then ducked into the Disney Store for shelter.

New York - times square

Magical points to who can say which film this character is from!

New York - disney store

Day 1 over, time for bed.

Day 2

We started the day at the Museum of American Natural History where we spent the morning taking selfies with dinosaur bones before heading to the East Village for lunch. Topher spotted some awesome street art (good Instagram husband, good) which I had to get a pic of.

New York - mickey street art

Then in the afternoon it was time for our helicopter tour! I was really excited about this and Topher was super nervous about it. Funny considering he was the one who suggested it.

New York - helicopter

New York - topher and diane

It was a bit scary when we first left the helipad but the views were amazing and even Topher had a great time. We shared our helicopter with another British family.

New York - helicopter tour

New York - helicopter view

Then the evening we went to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway which was really great. Since we’ve seen it in London too it was really interesting to see the difference. This version had a lot more jokes and the acting was a tad over the top at times but I had a blast. Topher and I were singing Masquerade to each other for days after! Shame, shame, shame.

Then we were off to San Francisco the following morning. When we returned to New York late on day 12 of our trip, we checked into our hotel in Chelsea.

Day 3 (technically day 13 of the trip)

We started the day with breakfast out, followed by a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge – another dream achieved!

New York - diane on brooklyn bridge

New York - brooklyn bridge

DUMBO

New York - dumbo

Unfortunately due to the slight gloom, you could only make out the Empire State Building with your naked eye. Even in editing I couldn’t get the thing to appear. Oh well, we saw it and that’s all that matters.

So this is the part of the trip where I dropped the ball a little. I planned so much but I didn’t really plan on how to get to Williamsburg where we were wanting to have lunch from DUMBO. All I knew was that it was about an hour and 15 minute walk from where we were and there was no direct subway there.

So off we went. We’d already walked across Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge and according to the map, this looked about the same distance. Well, it wasn’t! It was two roads and they went on forever! We toyed with renting the city bikes but they cost a lot so we decided to soldier on. This is when it got really hot and there was nothing but residential apartment blocks around. Nothing pretty to look at and no where for a bathroom break. Torture. This is my dissatisfied face.

New York - annoyed in brooklyn

We laughed about it though and when we eventually reached Williamsburg it was great. I think I’ll eventually have to do a separate post about all the street art we found. Plus the view of Manhattan was really pretty.

New York - manhattan from brooklyn

Afterwards we headed back to our hotel to freshen up (seriously needed!) before going out for dinner.

Day 4/14

We started the day walking the High Line in Chelsea which was really cool.

New York - the high line

New York - view from the high line

I loved that you can still see the original train tracks.

New York - original railway tracks

We then had a wander around Chelsea Market (I bought a new bullet journal!) before having lunch.

New York - chelsea market

It was then a trek up 5th ave to see Grand Central Terminal and eventually Central Park. We actually got diverted on the way to Central Park as it turned out Trump was in town for the UN meeting and all the streets around his tower were cordoned off. I think Topher said it best, “And I thought he couldn’t annoy me any more!”

New York - grand central terminal

New York - central park

For dinner we hopped on the subway back to the East Village before retiring early for some much needed rest.

Day 5/15

This was the last day and also the day we gave up. Topher’s feet in particular gave up so I had to adapt our plans. This was a challenge as we had to check out of our hotel that morning and couldn’t simply sleep in. We needed somewhere we could hang out for a considerable amount of time. So I racked my brains and came up with the New York Public Library.

New York - public library

The reading room was gorgeous and perfect for what we needed. Topher sat and watched videos on his phone while I set up my bullet journal. Happy as a clam!

New York - reading room

New York - bullet journal

After that we grabbed some food before picking up our stored bags at the hotel and getting the subway back to JFK for our flight at 9.30pm.

We had an amazing time and no doubt we’ll go back one day. I heart New York!

I’ll be posting my food adventures on Wednesday.

Have you ever been to New York? How did you find it?

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Check out what we ate in New York!

See the next instalment of our trip where we visited San Francisco 

And what we ate there. 

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Honeymoon Plans Part 1 – New York City

This is the first in a three part series of the places we will be visiting on our honeymoon next year and they’re just going to be our initial plans. Kind of a mood board if you will. So lets start with New York City!

So though I’ve been to New York twice already in my life, I have no where near finished with it. I’ve barely scratched the surface of it. The first time I visited was 2005ish with my family where we stayed in Jersey and my dad insisted on renting a car. Yes, a car. Needless to say I didn’t really see much of the city. All I remember is going up the Empire State Building, Central Park and Times Square. The second time was in 2009 and it was with university on a short research trip. We stayed at the Pod hotel in Manhattan and walked everywhere. Though we were doing research I still saw so much more of the city then I did last time. But of course, I want to go back to see even more. Topher has never visited so we’ve decided to begin there.

nycactivities

First of all, what’s a trip to the city without the usual suspects of the Empire State Building and Time’s Square. I’ve got to remember that Topher hasn’t been before so those are a must. That and the Statue of Liberty which surprisingly after two visits I still haven’t seen! There’s going to be lots of walking involved and that will definitely include walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and The High Line which I’ve only heard good things about.

Other musts include a jaunt over to Jersey for a trip to Carlos Bakery because Cake Boss! And I want to visit at least one type of market while we’re over there so I was looking at the Brooklyn Smorgasburg market for the foodies that we are. Other than that, I haven’t got many other activities planned in yet apart from walking around neighbourhoods.

nycfood

And what is a Diane and Topher holiday without a heavy emphasis on food? That’s probably why I haven’t got many plans set in yet. Because of all the food. Currently we’ll be seeing sights and walking from food place to food place. Above are the few places I have found so far that I want us to visit. No breakfast places as of yet. I hear Sarabeth’s is good but it looks a little pricey for us. The macaron parlour is on the list purely for an experimental taste of a certain Cheeto flavoured macaron. Yes you heard me right?

As for hotels, we’ll be having two as we’ll effectively be visiting NYC twice – at the beginning and at the end of the trip. First, the Pod hotel as I had such a good time there last time and the location was great. Only this time, we’ll be getting an ensuite! And for the second, we’re going to pretend to be hipsters and stay at The Ace Hotel as I saw it on another blog some time in the last couple of years.

So that’s all I’ve got so far. Feel free to hit me with anywhere either you’ve been yourself or have heard great things about. Food, activities and anything else weird and wonderful! Tell me them all!

Have you ever been to New York City?

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