NYC for the Budget Savvy Traveler + Giveaway

Want to visit NYC without having to spend a small fortune to do so? NYC is definitely doable for the budget conscious traveler! From places to stay, things to do, places to eat, and even places to grab a drink with locals I’ve got you covered.

You’ve booked your plane, bus, or train ticket and now you need a place to lay your head at the end of each day. Check out Hostelling International – New York City. It is a hostel located in a beautiful, historic building in one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city – the Upper West Side and can be your one stop shop for seeing NYC. Just one block away from the 1 Train and 2 blocks away from Central Park you’re in the perfect location to unwind and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.


This is great choice, especially if you are traveling solo because you have the opportunity to mix and mingle with fellow travelers and make new friends. The staff sets up free group tours to see the city, free nightly outings to happy hours, free pub-crawls with cheap drinks, free nights to hit the club scene with fellow travelers, and free events at the hostel. Free comedy was offered on one of the nights I stayed there, and they brought in some pretty decent comedians that had everyone laughing. When you need a break from the concrete jungle you can relax in one of the many lounge areas, watch a movie in the theater, or enjoy the day on the patio. Of course if you’d rather explore the city on your own there’s alway someone at the front desk ready to assist you in any way.


During my stay, I met travelers from all over the world. There were people visiting from Brazil, China, Germany, France, and Canada. One of my roommates was from Hamberg, Germany and was treating himself to a 2-week trip to NYC after graduating from college, and 2 of my other roommates were visiting from Paris, France. They’d already made stops in Los Angeles, Vegas, driven Route 1, and NYC was their final destination before returning home.

HI- NYC accommodates guests in one of three ways; a coed 8 bed dorm room, female 8 bed dorm room, female 10-12 bed dorm room, coed 12 bed dorm room all at $59 per night. When I stayed at the hostel I was in a coed 8 bed dorm room. I had some great roommates – everyone was respectful of each other and observed quiet hours in the room after 11pm. Bathrooms and showers are located in the hall and were kept cleaned by staff through out the day. I may have stolen a selfie or two before heading out for the day.

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Now, you have a place to stay, what are you going to do while you’re here?

Museums –  Three of the most popular , the MET, the Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of the City of New York, have an admission fee that is a suggested donation, so you can pay whatever you like and is in your budget. The Museum of Modern Art(MOMA), the Rubin Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum have free nights every month where you can visit the museum after-hours while you have a cocktail or two and listen to live music.

Parks – Bryant Park has events throughout the week if you enjoy listening to music, poetry, and book talks. Its also a great to take a break if you’ve been walking around Times Square or checking out the New York Library. Central Park offers boating, cycling, or your can explore on foot – be sure to stop and visit the castle, and if you’re in town for International Pillow Fight Day join the battle with other New Yorkers at Washington Square Park. I did it two years ago and had a blast.

Shopping– Soho, the Garment District, the Brooklyn Flea Market, and the Upper West Side are some of my favorite places to shop. You can always find great deals without having to spend a lot of money.

Dining – Food trucks are all over the city and are a great way to grab a bite to eat while you are on the go. Happy Hour (usually from 4-7pm) of course is a great time to eat, have a few drinks, and chats with locals

Seasonal Events – Ice Skating in Bryant Park is free you just have to pay to rent ice skates which usually run about $14. Street Fairs and festivals are great places to shop, eat, and spend a few hours browsing. Governors Island is free to visit and is open every weekend from Memorial day to Labor Day.

Check out these great bars and restaurants if you need any ideas:

  • Blossom (Columbus Ave between 83rd and 82nd St.)
  • Flor De Mayo (Broadway at 101st St.)
  • Blockheads (Amsterdam Ave at 107th St)
  • Five Napkins Burger (Broadway at 84th St.)
  • Amsterdam Tavern (Amsterdam Ave at 106th St.)
  • Village Pourhouse (Amsterdam Ave between 108th and 109th St.)

To help you see the sites during your visit I’m giving away a gift certificate good for 2 tickets on any regular New York Water Taxi or Circle Line Downtown Cruise! To enter you must do the following and leave a comment:

Like A Girl Travels on Facebook

Like Hostelling International USA on Facebook

Follow A Girl Travels on Twitter and tweet “Enter to Win 2 #Free NYC Water Taxi passes from @agirltravels”

The deadline to enter is 11:59pm September 30, 2013. Good Luck!

If you need any additional recommendations on things to do during your visit to NYC just send me an email or message me below!

Wishing you safe and happy travels! -xo AGT

The Hostel Experience

Traveling and looking for a place to rest your head for a few hours so that you can get up and begin another day of adventure? Prefer to spend most of your travel money on tours, museums, food, drinks, and hanging out with locals and fellow travelers? Staying at a hostel during your travels may be just the right fit for you.

What is a Hostel?

 They typically offer dormitory-style rooms with separate quarters for men and women, and some hostels also have private family and couples rooms. Many budget conscious travelers used them as a place to lay their head at the end of the day and to meet fellow travelers. I stayed at a hostel many year ago when I was in high school in Germany. Our Model United Nations Team attended Model UN in Amsterdam as China and we stayed in a hostel for the week with all the girls  in one room and the males in another. We actually had a sauna in our hostel near our room which was awesome because it was cold and snowy at the time of our trip, so we took advantage of that.

What’s Provided:

  • Blanket
  • Pillow
  • linens
  • fully equipped self-service kitchens or cafeterias
  • dining areas
  • secure storage spaces
  • common rooms for relaxing and socializing with fellow travelers

What You Should Bring: 

  • A Lock for your locker
  • Shower Shoes
  • A Hand Towel
  • Ear Plugs
  • A Small flash light

I’ll be heading to Europe in next month visiting Germany, Paris, and Rome  for 2 short weeks. For me this trip is going to be about meet new people, exploring during the day and checking out the local scene at night, so I’d rather checkout a hostel instead shelling out the extra money for a swanky hotel that I’ll only sleep in for a few hours. After doing some research I chose the Hostelling International Brand (HI), and for the next 2 weeks I’ll be visiting hostels, one in NYC and one in Boston to get the hosteling experience because I’m sure it’s changed a bit since the last time I stayed at a hostel.

Hostelling International has 3 networks of hostels USA, Canada, and International, but their quality assurance is standard across the board.  A HI membership is required of all guests, but guests without a membership have the option of either purchasing a full annual membership, or a temporary membership for the duration of their stay. Membership kits include a membership guide, membership card, U.S. hostelling map, eKit communication booklet and discounts.

The types and prices of each membership

  • YOUTH – FREE (for those under 18 years of age)
  • ADULT – $28.00 ANNUALLY (18-54 years of age)
  • SENIOR – $18.00 ANNUALLY (55+ years of age)
  • LIFE – $250 (one-time fee & open to all ages)

Member Benefits

  • Access to more than 4,000 hostels in over 80 countries worldwide.
  • Access to nearly 60 hostel locations in the United States.
  • Savings up to 70% on international phone calls, free e-mail access, voicemail and travel information through eKit.
  • HI-USA members now get basic international travel insurance coverage and discounts on optional upgrades
  • Discounted currency exchange.

Have you ever stayed at a hostel before during your travels? What did you think? Would you do it again? Check in with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to see and hear about my hostel experiences.

Wishing You Happy and Safe Travels! – xo AGT