For years, finding the best cheap New York City hotel room meant navigating a minefield of bedbugs, muggers or a very long train rides.
Business and leisure travelers want none of the above. They expect clean, safe accommodations in the heart of the city.
Those three requirements still can mean average prices of more than $300 USD/night in many Manhattan establishments. Added onto the room rates is a hefty 14.25% sales tax or the price of parking your car, which can exceed $60/night.
Prices get even higher in summer or during the December holiday season.
This is some of the most expensive real estate on earth, and taxes are high by most standards.
That said, New York is also making strides to be more visitor-friendly. Part of that metamorphosis is affordable lodging.
Put another way: there are plenty of value-rich hotel opportunities, but you must be willing to look for them.
New York on a $50/night?
Central Park Hostel offers a place to sleep for $29 (dormitory bed) to private rooms from $89-$109/night, inclusive of tax.
Still too much? Scroll through Ny.com's excellent list of budget offerings. Look past the "average rates" and there are listings in the $20-$50 USD/night range. They include safe low-cost options like the YMCA.
More Expensive, but Below the Going Rate
Murray Hill Inn promises European-style accommodation in the heart of Manhattan. Rates in the off-season are as low as $89 USD/night for a single.
You'll pay a bit more if you want a private bathroom.
The Evelyn Hotel (formerly the Gershwin) in the Flatiron district offers rates of $140/night for a superior queen room. For the location, that's well below the average rate.
Apple Core Hotels offers five Manhattan properties beginning at $120 USD/night.
Children under 13 stay free with their parents. Apple Core is worth a long look because of the central locations offered.
For example, Comfort Inn Midtown is near Times Square, the theater district and Rockefeller Center. Having a headquarters in the center of what you want to see is a better bargain than a room an hour away that's 30% cheaper. You'll save time, and time is money on vacation, too.
A good data base for shopping is nycgo.com. You can search by neighborhood. Hipmunk.com is also an excellent search resource.
How about a home-stay or home swap? Plenty of New Yorkers are in search of accommodations elsewhere, and might be willing to host you. Check the search engine at HomeAway.com. Click on "Travel Deals." A recent search here turned up 30 New York properties. Many won't fit your location requirements, so shop carefully. Some homeowners had specific destinations in mind for exchanges, but many were open to offers. Another resource for Top Cheap Hotels in NYC can be found on About.com's New York Travel site. Here you'll find links to hotels, room rates and even subway directions for each property.
More information: Find sightseeing and entertainment deals in New York.