Updated November 21st, 2018
- In tourist areas, especially near Times Square, there are many exchange offices usually offering terrible rates, around 10%. Unfortunately, changing money in banks is not a much better deal, around 6% as well.
- So it is wise to use the credit card or withdraw money directly from ATMs, where commissions are usually around 3 or 4% depending on the bank in the country of origin of the traveler (ATMs Americans do not charge commission). Consider opening an account in a bank that does not charge commission for withdrawing money abroad.
- In some shops you can pay by credit card in euros. The price is in dollars and in euros is not the same and usually is worst for the customer to pay in euros.
New York is a very expensive city to stay. There are all kinds of prices about the accommodation, but considering the price/quality rate, it is much better to rent an apartment than to book a hotel, especially for families with children or groups of several friends. The solo traveler who wants to save must book beds in hostels, rooms in apartments or use couchsurfing.
For apartments we recommend Airbnb, for hotels, Booking, and for hostels, Hostelworld. For some more information, check the post best areas to stay in NYC.
Shopping in supermarkets in New York is not cheap, but it is the most economical option unless the traveler intends to go all the way to Queens, where normal priced supermarkets abound. The most common ones in Manhattan are the D’Agostino.
However, eating “unhealthy” food is relatively cheap. Pizza slices from 1 to 4 $ are everywhere, make-your-own-salad places are trendy too, and excellent quality burgers at the same price of fast food ones. Because of multiculturalism, there are all kinds of restaurants. Tap water is free and it is to be served mandatory.
Many attractions in New York are free. Examples include all parks, most of museums (see MOST POPULAR MUSEUMS IN MANHATTAN), Times Square, the emblematic buildings from the outside (Empire State Building, Chrysler Building…) or the High Line.
For non-free attractions you can buy the ticket together with another attraction, with consequent savings in online agencies or official vendors who usually abound in tourist sites. The NYC Pass and NY Pass (they seem the same, but are not) are passes that includes admission the main attractions in New York saving us money. We do not recommend them and argue why in PASSES IN NEW YORK, ARE THEY WORTHY?
For Broadway musicals, bids are shown in panels next to the TKTS office in the Times Square. There is usually quite a long queue and the most of the main ones have no discount, but on the less demanded you can save up to 50%.
As a traveler, I usually don’t spend time at all shopping at any destination I go, but New York is different. You can find a lot of items from trendy brands at lower prices than what the visitor would pay for similar unbranded items in his/her country of origin.
- For clothes, those who have time to spare, the best option is the Century 21, and for those who have less time, Macy’s, although they will have to spend more.
- The cheapest shoes are in the DSW store in Union Square.
- For technology, the Apple stores in New York will remain full of European tourists while the dollar remains below euro and sterling pound, since what in the United States costs $100, in Europe will cost €100 and in the UK £100.
- And for those who want to buy a lot, the Outlets north of New York and the one in New Jersey.