8 Common Mistakes in New York Travel

  • 01 of 08

    Insisting on a Manhattan Chain Hotel

    Times square from above
    ••• Ryan D. Budhu/Moment/Getty Images

    Finding discounts on a chain hotel room in the heart of Manhattan certainly is possible. If you find such a deal and the location fits conveniently into your itinerary, book it.

    As a general rule, however, so-called name-brand hotels in Manhattan will cost $300-$600/night, and sometimes far more than that. Fortunately, there are several alternatives.

    Small budget hotels abound in desirable areas such as the Upper East Side. Sometimes they are converted apartment houses with quirks, but they offer location at a price that's less than half the going room rate for chain hotels. Budget hotels with amenities and boutique hotels are other alternatives that could save money.

    A third option is to find a hotel stay in New Jersey. The Meadowlands and Newark Airport areas offer a large selection of hotels at rates far below what their Manhattan counterparts will charge.

    Click "next" and find yet another way to save on New York accommodation costs.

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Ignoring the "Off-Season"

    ••• Chris Hondros/Getty Images

    Make no mistake: hotel rates in Manhattan do not operate on a seasonal system as they do in resort areas. But you can find bargains tied to the calendar.

    January is among the slowest months of the year for New York hotel owners. In recent years, a group of hotels has participated in something called Hotel Week. It's a somewhat confusing name, because frequently the period extends more than two weeks in early-to-mid January. There is a fixed price room rate structure of $100, $200 or $250 for a one-night stay. It's easy to pay more than twice these amounts for the featured rooms at other times of the year.

    Some of the hotels offer free continental breakfasts. You simply mention "Hotel Week" at the time of your booking.

    This principle works with other travel expenses, too. You can find better airfares to New York by avoiding peak travel periods.

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Skipping the Subway

    ••• Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    Decades ago, tourists were advised to skip the subway. It was dirty and dangerous.

    Fortunately, those days are behind us. While there are some areas you'll want to avoid during certain times of day, as a general rule you can ride the subway without fearing for your safety.

    Learning New York subway routes is fairly easy, and the system is so extensive that it reaches most commonly visited areas. Day passes have been discontinued, but single rides are only $2.50. Whether that ride takes you a few blocks or clear across the island, it's far cheaper than a taxi.

    Speaking of cheap: the famous Staten Island Ferry is well connected to the subway system and charges no fares.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Paying Huge Parking Fees

    ••• Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    If you must buck conventional wisdom and operate a car in Manhattan, expect to pay some of the most expensive fees in North America when it comes time to find a parking space.

    The costs of maintaining parking facilities on this expensive real estate are not insignificant. Naturally, those costs are passed along to the consumer.

    If you arrived in the area in a rental car, consider park-and-ride options for New Jersey and New York that could lower your parking costs. If you stay in a New Jersey hotel, there is a good chance your parking will be free or substantially less money than the fee at a Manhattan hotel.

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  • 05 of 08

    Paying Top Dollar for Broadway Tickets

    ••• Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    TKTS markets unsold Broadway theater tickets at the last minute for deeply discounted prices. This is well-known among both veteran and novice theater-goers, as the picture above shows.

    But some who are in town for just a few days face a no-win choice: waste valuable time in one of these lines, or pay too much for a theater ticket.

    You'll be happy to learn that such a choice is not always necessary. Do an online search for tickets to the show(s) you want to see. Many times, that search will reveal prices that are affordable if not rock-bottom. It's still possible to attend a Broadway show for less than $50/person.

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  • 06 of 08

    Mismanaging Food Costs

    ••• Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    The burger pictured here won some awards. It was billed as the "Best Burger in New York." It came with a price to match: about $22.

    Even budget travelers should splurge at least once during a trip. Go home and tell everyone you had the top burger in the Big Apple.

    But be wary of the fact that it's easy to spend this kind of money for every meal. Do some planning that allows for inexpensive meals, too. New York has some great hot dog stands! It also serves healthier food in greater varieties than you'll see most anywhere else.

    Another tip: Restaurant Week allows diners to sample some of the city's top cuisine at fixed-rate prices (much like the aforementioned Hotel Week). If you visit during this time of year, be sure to select your restaurants early and make reservations. The most popular places fill up quickly.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Focusing on Attractions instead of Neighborhoods

    ••• Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    Many first-time tourists rush around New York, checking off major attractions. They speed from Ellis Island to the Empire State Building to Central Park, barely noticing the character of the areas they're visiting.

    That's a shame.

    New York is a patchwork of neighborhoods. Each is rich in character and offers a unique blend of attractions and ambiance.

    Make it a goal to spend part of a day exploring a single neighborhood. Take a walking tour. Visit a well-known eatery. Check out a bookstore or quirky exhibit.

    These half-days can provide a budget respite from high admission fees. More importantly, they provide perspective as you experience one of the world's greatest cities.

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Failing to Allow for Airport Congestion

    ••• Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    This is standard advice in any large city with a hub airport: allow plenty of time to deal with long security lines and crowded, cavernous terminals.

    In the New York area, there are three such airports. Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and JFK are all heavily congested. On-time ratings can be disappointing. Expect delays at every turn.

    Failing to account for this can mean missed flights, change fees and other expensive problems. All of that is easily avoided.

    Common mistakes for other popular travel destinations