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carolemg Jul 10th, 2009 02:43 AM

Spending money for NYC?
Hi everyone,

Myself and my bf are heading to New York in December - we will be there for 7 days and intend to do as see as much as we possibly can including going to a show and basketball / ice hockey games. I'd like to do some shopping but won't go overboard and was thinking about £700 (approx. $110n0 depending on the exchange rate in December) for spending money - does this sound about right or will I need more? Food-wise we will probably stick to the cheaper middle of the road style restaurants and a buffet breakast is already covered in our hotel so that will keep us going to lunchtime. I doubt we'll spend much on drinks - at the very most it will be a glass or 2 of wine or beer with dinner.

Thanks v much in advance :-)


J62 Jul 10th, 2009 03:20 AM

$1100/7 is about $150/day for 2 of you.

You can spend a little or quite a lot in NYC. The price of show tickets can range widely - from <$50 to more than $150 per ticket. Ditto for hockey game, if you can get tickets.

You can do lunch on the cheap - a sandwich from a deli for $5-10 each. Count on $10-15 if you sit down at a restaurant anywhere. Dinner can have a huge range. Don't expect to spend less than $25-30 per person, although you can definitely find cheaper options. A glass of wine will cost you $5 on the very low end, to $7 or 8. So 4 glasses of wine will be $20-30/day. A dinner at a nicer restaurant will set you back a lot more. It's not uncommon to spend $40-$50 or more per person for dinner in NYC, although not every night.

Add Transportation. Subway rides are now $2.25 per ride. If you're going to use bus/subway a lot a multi day pass may be a good idea. Taxis are very handy especially after you've walked one way far from your hotel & don't want to take subway/bus back , $10 - $15 will get you lots of places.

Add museums, or other paid sights, souvenirs or other shopping.

If you are careful/frugal you can probably get by on $1100 for the week. I would plan buffer so I didn't have to cut things out just because I didn't plan enough money. It's be a shame to travel all the way to NYC and not enjoy something you wanted to do.

carolemg Jul 10th, 2009 04:09 AM

Ah sorry I should have clarified - $1150 would be per person. My boyfriend would prob take more actually lol. We're heading to Eleuthera in the bahamas for a week afterwards so trying to plan my cash in advance.

Thanks for all the itemisation, thats the kind of info I needed J62 :-)

Aduchamp1 Jul 10th, 2009 04:55 AM

To save money, try whenever possible not to eat in midtown or the theatre district.

There are three professioanl hockey clubs in the NY area, The New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and the New Jersey Devils. (It is a local joke the Islnders are barely a professional team.) Islander games are hard to reach without a car, the Rangers play at Madison Square Garden (7th Ave and 32nd Street) and the Devils play right over the river whioh can be reached by public transport.

Here is the Rangers website. I do not think the 2009-2010 season schedule has been issued yet. Most Ranger tickets are sold to season's subscribers, but there are other seats avaialable:

doug_stallings Jul 10th, 2009 05:15 AM

Professional basketball games are particularly expensive; hockey games less so. But this sounds like a reasonable budget for this trip. I'd have no worries.

carolemg Jul 10th, 2009 05:18 AM

Great tips Aduchamp1! Thank you :-D

We're staying in W57th but would be nice to eat in chinatown & little Italy for example which im guessing would be a lot cheaper than midtown.

Lol yeah we will be going to see the rangers - my bf is very keen to go as he supports Glasgow Rangers soccer team (I support the rivals Glasgow Celtic!)I think he's keeping an eye on the website for schedule/tickets announcements.

carolemg Jul 10th, 2009 05:19 AM

Thanks Doug! :-)

jroth Jul 10th, 2009 05:26 AM

Chinatown is a good choice for some interesting eating and at reasonable prices. But I would discourage you from a visit to Little Italy for dining - it no longer is what it was quite a few years ago - now just a place for tourists with quite mediocre restaurants - overpriced for what they serve. Lots of great Italian restaurants all over town and some great and very reasonably priced ones in the East Village which would be a much better choice for dining.

carolemg Jul 10th, 2009 05:30 AM

Great to know Jroth, thank you!

nytraveler Jul 10th, 2009 08:34 AM

I hope you're not planning to bring all that in cash. Not at all a good idea. You should plan on charging as much as you can on your credit cards and then pulling walking around money from ATMS (found in every bank, drugstore, market, etc). This will get you the best rate of exchange and prevent your having to carry a lot of cash.

For budget dining get out of midtown and eat in the residentia areas (uper west side, village, lower east side) which have a lot ore inexpensive places of every posible ethicity. Also- get show and sports tickets in advance for bet choice of seats at your price point.

Erica_D Jul 10th, 2009 08:54 AM

You're set on that budget for dining/drinking. For restaurant recommendations from Fodor's editors and writers, check here:

On that Fodor's Choice list, some of the cheapies are also my favorite spots in the city -- the Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall Nha Trang, the hidden-behind-a-hotel-curtain Burger Joint in Midtown, the barnyard-American resto Back Forty in the E. Village. Plenty of delicious, and fun, spots to eat all over the city. Enjoy!

BigRuss Jul 10th, 2009 10:48 AM

Actually, the Knicks (NBA) cost less per game than the Rangers (NHL). This makes sense -- NHL teams rely upon their ticket sales as the main revenue source, NBA teams have large revenues from TV deals.

I wouldn't change a shilling of British money (cash) to US money in the US because exchange rates at banks in the US are absolutely horrid. Obtain all the cash you need from the ATMs. I'd look for large bank ATMs like Chase and not use the ones in drugstores or supermarkets because all the ATMs in the US are likely to charge you per transaction and the large banks should have lower transaction fees.

Aduchamp1 Jul 10th, 2009 10:59 AM

As you probably know there is a professioanl basketball team called the Boston Celtics.

There are two professional basketball teams in the area, the NY Knicks short for Knickerbockers and the New Jersey Nets. Both stink. The Knicks play in Madison Square Garden same as the Rangers and the Nets play at the Izod center.

travelbuff Jul 10th, 2009 11:48 AM

Carolemg, Where are you staying on Eleuthera? Le me know if you have any questions about the Bahamas I may be able to help.

In New York, December will be cold, so bring warm clothing to layer up, since you will be walk around alot, and the city can be cold and a bit dreary in December.

I'd suggest getting a book or two about New York so you can find all the things you want to see so you can maximize your time.

Have a fun time while you are here.

Gwendolynn Jul 10th, 2009 02:00 PM

It can be cold in Dec..... or not. I remember one recent Dec. when the grass was still green!
So layers are essential. I hope Dec. won't be as dreary as this June when it rained every day. At least in Dec. the Xmas lights, etc. will be in full bloom and the city looks lovely at nite.

nytraveler Jul 10th, 2009 04:57 PM

Actually with ATMS you often do better in drug stores. The one in my Duane Read is just 99 cents for a withdrawal - while the ones in banks often charge $3 if you're not a customer. Just check around for rates - and naturally don;y draw only a few dollars at a tim e- but enough for several days.

carolemg Jul 11th, 2009 01:20 AM

Thank you so so so much everyone. Brilliant advice, info & tips :-)

I wasnt sure what to do about taking money with me, my bank is shocking at the moment for blocking ure debit card (in the name of fraud protection) as soon as u withdraw cash out of the country regardless of whether u inform them beforehand or not... you then have to call back to the uk (costing a fortune) to get them to unblock it. I'm going to look into some kind of prepaid travellers cheque alternative card that u load up before going and use as a debit/credit card.

Thanks for that link Erica_D will have a look now!

I got a really good globetrotters guidebook to NYC this week which I have been reading up on... we've just booked the hotel (Salisbury on W57th - got a really fantastic deal) so I'm very excited, always wanted to see NYC, it will be even more special with the christmas atmosphere :-) Cant wait!

Travelbuff - we're staying at 'Windchat' at North Palmetto Point, Governors Harbour, it looks really lovely and will be hopefully be nice and warm in Eleuthera then after a chilly week in Manhattan! Any info u could give would be great thanks as we've never been before. I go from being really excited about thinking about that to remembering about New Yok and vice versa LOL it is a bit of an extravagant hol but its all came in well under budget thanks to booking flights well in advance, shopping around and being on the right site at the right time.

smetz Jul 11th, 2009 04:25 AM

For show tickets, you can check a couple of web sites ahead of time, including, and to get discounted tickets. As an alternative, if you aren't already aware, TKTS has two same day booths in Manhattan, one in Times Square, and one at 100 Water Street in the financial district near South Street Seaport. Actually at the downtown location you can get same day tickets for the evening, and next day tickets for matinees. They are usually 50% off. If you go to the TKTS website at, you can see what shows have been available at the booths during the weeks before your visit.

In New York you really can eat well pretty inexpensively, especially at ethnic restaurants which are there in abundance. If you're walking around in December, you'll probably be cold, and one thing my wife and I really enjoy at lunch is a chinese style noodle soup, which is available all over chinatown, as well as noodle shops throughout the city. Many people also like the food carts for lunch as well, which are super cheap. What really runs up the tab in NYC are drinks, so if you don't drink much that will really help.

ellenem Jul 11th, 2009 05:45 AM

"I'm going to look into some kind of prepaid travellers cheque alternative card that u load up before going and use as a debit/credit card."

Bad idea--you'll usually spend more loading the card and get a bad rate using it.

If you're having trouble with your bank, why not open a travel account at a bank that will offer you better services for your trip to NYC? I know HSBC is in the UK and NYC. My HSBC debit card never has any trouble when I travel to a foreign country.

carolemg Jul 11th, 2009 06:20 AM

Ah.... Ive had a look and quite like the caxton fx prepaid card? No charges at all and the rate is (very good) fixed. Can't see any downsides??

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