5 Ways to Find Cheap Lodging in New York City

Ahhh New York, the city that never sleeps. And the city that never gives a discount.

You probably think that a vacation to New York City is simply out of your price range, namely due to the cost of lodging. I don’t really blame you, if you haven’t been before and don’t know where to look trying to find a place to stay in New York can be really daunting and time consuming.

But hey we aren’t going to let a little bit of daunting get in the way of our vacation dreams, are we?

Did you know there were so many hostels in New York City? photo – hostelworld.com

Come on, New York is a great place to go on vacation, there is literally something to see for everyone from singles, to bachelor parties, to families to retirees, it’s got it all.

And, New York is a place that you can visit anytime of year, it’s buzzing and vibrant during the summer, filled with drinks of roofdecks and a bit like a fairytale wonderland in the winter, a touch of snow, the big tree at 30 rock, ice skating and hot coco in Central Park, can you picture it?

Which is exactly why you should not let a little bit of uncertainty get in the way of planning.

So, to make things easier I’m going to give you a leg up on the competition here. I lived in Manhattan for two years, and still have friends in the area, so although I do love my Boston, I swing by NYC from time to time (ideally not during baseball season).

Here are a couple of ways to save a bit of bank on lodging for your upcoming trip to NYC:

CRAIGSLIST

Whoooo, not what you’re thinking there, people, minds out of the gutter. Craigslist is a great way to

Times Square, New York Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chadwho1ders/

find short term rentals and sublets. If you don’t want to spring for a hotel room, try searching here. Many people in NYC take off for the summer so they are looking to make up at least a portion of their rent while away, so you could end up getting a pretty sweet deal. Also, try hitting one of the boroughs, staying in Brooklyn means you are only a short train ride away from Manhattan, but it’s still a pretty cool area on it’s own.

HOSTELS

You might think that the only places there are hostels are in Europe. Totally not true at all. If you’ve done a bit of backpacking then you know that hostels are an amazing way to see a destination without spending a ton of money. Plus, hostels have a lot of hidden benefits. You can stay in a great hot spot location for a fraction of the price, if you want to be in Chelsea, the Upper West Side or Times Square, then a hotel will cost you an arm and a leg. But pop in a search for New York hostels and you’ll come up with great deals in some of the most trendy locations. Plus they are perfect for meeting people and making friends to hang out with, awesome if you are on a solo travel trip and would like a group to grab dinner and a drink with.

AIR BnB

Another semi new player on the scene is the site AirBnB. Essentially, it’s like a higher class Craigslist. You search for the area you want to stay, let’s say the Upper West Side, and it will then give you a list with pictures and reviews by others, of places to stay. Sometimes they are a single room in an apartment, other times you might be able to snag an entire apartment or house. The prices are listed right up front, and you can make the deal right there on your credit card. One of the benefits of this site is that you can use it for short term stays, if you’re only around for a night or two, no problem. All in all, it’s a pretty simple, and increasingly popular, way to go.

COUCH SURFING

Another popular option for those adventurous souls, it might be better suited for solo or small travel groups, but I know a huge amount of people who have couch surfed, loved it, and then became besties with their former hosts. It’s a pretty cool concept, and what is helpful about it is the fact that, in most cases, you are going to have a built in host who can show you around the city, give you tips or cook you dinner. Hop on the website to check it out and like Air BnB you’ll be able to see the friends and reviews of each host on the site.

STAY UP

Can you handle the world of NYC, grasshopper? It is in fact quite possible to forgo lodging for a night altogether and just stay up all night. One of the best things about New York is that it literally never closes, you can order knishes at 4 am from the Deli without much searching. Also, you’ll be in prime people watching zone. If you are worried about New York being ‘dangerous,’ don’t be. I can honestly say in the 2 years living there I never once felt uncomfortable walking around at night, either alone or in a group, there are always people around, especially in places like Times Square.

Once you get back from your trip, let me know where you stayed. Or, if you have any recommendations, tips and tricks of your own, leave them in the comments and let me know!

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  • These are all great suggestions! NYC is expensive and finding a cheap room would be difficult if you didn’t know where to search. My personal preference would be to stay in a hostel.