The USA has always been on my bucket list and I have finally sorted out a trip, starting with 3 days in New York, followed by 2 weeks hiking in Arizona. Fear not if you fancy a trip across the pond, because America on the cheap certainly seems possible. When Bill and I sat down to discuss where to go next, America seemed like the obvious choice. We had already sampled the delights of Morocco and The Netherlands together so we fancied somewhere further afield. Bill is a seasoned traveller to New York, where he visits his friend Chris, so we decided it's
a perfect place to start. If I'm honest, seeing the words "New York" (specifically Manhattan) and budget in the same sentence aren't something I'd expect to see. Manhattan prices are pretty steep, even for hostel accommodation. So, we are staying in Queens, a cultural hot spot in New York, not too far from Manhattan. We have been lucky enough to be invited to stay with Bill's wonderful friend Chris, but if an option like this isn't available to you, I'd really recommend looking at accommodation away from Manhattan. Not only is the subway system in America extensive, it is also relatively cheap, it only takes around half an hour to get from Queens to Manhattan, and don't forget that a subway trip in New York City is, by the sounds of things, a fascinating experience in itself too! For me, arriving in a new country with little money is both exhilarating and terrifying. Take Morocco for example, by the end of day 3 we had almost run out of money, and it was at this point that we began to walk to new places, eat street food from little stalls that we wouldn't have noticed otherwise, and found little restaurants off the beaten track offering cheaper meals than the big touristy areas. I hope that New York is the same! New York does not just necessarily mean downtown Manhattan, Times Square and the usual tourist hotspots. An apartment in Brooklyn will set you back a similar price to a hostel in Manhattan, and you get to see two different districts of New York this way.
To avoid big taxi rates and sore feet from walking, we are taking Penny boards with us (similar to skateboards, but smaller and much easier to use!) We are specifically taking them for Central Park, which is an absolute must for us. The penny boards make it much more efficient to get around, meaning we have more time to explore different places as we only have three days in New York. Conveniently, they also fit nicely into our suitcases.
In terms of food, it looks as though good old street food is the way to go. Corn dogs/Chili Dogs/Hot Dogs aren't nearly as expensive as some restaurants (though we have been told that Parker and Quinn is an absolute must, so this is on our list)
In terms of "the sights" this is where we have really had to cut back. We are not doing the Statue of Liberty trip or the Empire State building, (Bill's already done them, and I'm more than happy to just be lucky enough to see them) We are however, planning a cheeky walk in - walk out of the Plaza Hotel, in homage to Crocodile Dundee, but thankfully this won't cost us anything (as long as we don't get caught)
If you're planning to do New York on a budget, you have to be prepared to not do everything on one trip. In a few years I am certain that we will do New York big time, perhaps for New Year, but for now, this is the plan to make the first part of our America trip epic but easy on the pocket.
(Thanks for lending me the NY pictures, Bill)