New York on the cheap
Our travel expert answers your questions
I am one of a group of six guys going to New York in October. We are looking for the cheapest accommodation and flights. We would love to be central and are prepared to share an apartment or anything cheap. What’s your advice? — Brandon Booysen
When it comes to flights, your best bet is to find a good travel agent. Direct flights on SAA and Delta will probably be the most expensive, while the best fares will probably be on airlines that travel via Europe or the Middle East. You should also periodically check the various airline websites to see if they have any special offers and sign up to receive e-mail newsletters about specials. Airlines you should consider include Virgin Atlantic, KLM, Lufthansa, Emirates. Qatar and Etihad.
As for accommodation, look at www.airbnb.com. I checked availability for October and found some good deals. One was a two-bedroom Manhattan apartment sleeping six for $200 (about R1800) per night. Located in the Lower East Side, it is close to the Empire State Building and Times Square, and is only a short train ride from Central Park. If you would prefer more space, you can rent a five-bedroom duplex apartment in Brooklyn, only 20 minutes from Manhattan. It is a five-minute walk from the subway and costs $216 per night.
For rental apartments, you can also try www.craiglist.com. You will find plenty of accommodation to rent under “New York vacation rentals”. Prices start at around $100 per night. However, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Read the section on “avoiding scams” on this website so you don’t end up losing your money.
You could also opt for one of the many youth hostels in the city. One of the best choices is the Hostelling International New York Hostel, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The 672-bed hostel, the largest in America, is just a block from Broadway and a main subway line, and only minutes from Central Park. Accommodation starts at $35 for a bunk bed with linen and a private locker in a 12-sleeper dormitory. The hostel has its own coffee shop, convenience store and laundry. Book at www.hinewyork.org or arrive early to get one of the beds they keep available for walk-in guests.
Another good choice is the Broadway Hotel n Hostel on the Upper West Side. It offers great facilities, such as a lounge, a library and a cinema. There is a shuttle service from the airport and it is located two blocks from the subway and one block from the city bus service. Accommodation is from $30 in mixed dorms, private dorm rooms for groups of friends and private twin rooms with bathroom. Book through www.hostelnewyork.com.