Budget Travel

A Budget Weekend in New York City

New York City is a notoriously expensive city, both to live in and to explore as a tourist. But it doesn’t have to be! Although you can’t outright change the prices of things, you can take Busbud’s research and enjoy the perfect weekend getaway that will help you visit the city that never sleeps without compromising your wallet for the next few weeks.

NYC is a super touristy city for a reason; it has everything you could ask for: great food, great attractions, great nightlife. Do we need to say more? With connections to all major cities around the country as well as smaller locations, buses run often and are incredibly budget friendly. Bus travel is the way to go; it’s not expensive and you arrive the in heart of the city at Port Authority Terminal, eliminating cab fare and traffic. Cha-Ching!

Photo by Brandon Holmes on Unsplash


If you’re under or about a 5-hour bus ride away, you’re looking at an average of 81$ USD for a bus roundtrip making that weekend pretty affordable for transportation.

Here’s a cost breakdown in USD for a two-person weekend trip:


Bus Roundtrip (arriving Friday night, departing Sunday evening) *:


Sleeping in NYC can be really pricey, but here are two budget-friendly options.

We’ve given two options, one closer to the city center  and one a bit further away, depending on your preferences.

Two-night stay in NYC**:

  • $146 per person includes two nights a private room in a hostel with a shared bathroom, Wi-Fi, free cancellation and is located in the city center.
  • $90 per person includes two nights in a hotel with a private room and bathroom, Wi-Fi, free cancellation and located 4km outside NYC in Jersey City.
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash


There’s so much to do in NYC, so where do you start? You’ve got two pretty great choices below:

You can go with the free option/“pay-what-you-wish” to visit a couple of museums, but it’ll cost you money to visit the city’s most popular attractions (Top of the Rock, Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial Museum, and so on). If you really want to save money and spend as little as possible, enjoy the beautiful outdoors of NYC and visit these free museums.

If you want to visit the popular attractions but you want to save money and time you should consider getting a New York Pass. With this two day pass you get access to 100+ attractions including the ones mentioned above and some other cool ones like: Hop off Hop on NYC Bus, Top of Rock Observatory, Central Park Walking tour, etc. For a full list of what’s included click here.

For $189 USD per person you get access to all of these attractions for 48 hours visit as many attractions as you want while your pass is valid – total value of included attractions exceeds $2,000. The New York Pass allows you to skip the long line-ups so you can spend more time sightseeing and less time waiting New York’s busy crowds. If you’re looking to hit all the major attractions in New York, then using the New York Pass is a no-brainer.

Instead of paying for individual tickets at each attraction (which can get very expensive), the best way to save on New York’s paid attractions was to use the New York Pass. It’s super convenient and takes the stress out of sightseeing while maximizing your time in NYC.

Price of visiting as many attractions as possible in two days: $189 per person.


For breakfast, stop by a local deli for a quick breakfast or grab a bagel at one of the many food stands on the street. Cost for two breakfasts: $10 per person

Our favourite: Johny’s Luncheonnette

For lunch, have a slice of pizza like a local or head to one of the popular food trucks. If you’re not sure which one try, just look for one with a long line-up! Cost for two lunches: $20 per person

Our favourite: Korilla BBQ

Happy hour is popular in New York City and offered seven days a week at some restaurants. It can be found throughout Manhattan and is not only great for drink specials but also includes deals on food. It usually starts at around 4:00pm and goes until 8:00pm. If you’re not sure where to go, you can check for specials and times online or most restaurants advertise with signs outside. New York restaurants can be expensive and dining during happy hour can be a great way to save money. Cost for two dinners: $45 per person

Our favourite: The Heights Bar and Grill


Photo by Roman Arkhipov on Unsplash


When it’s all said and done, you’re just really interested in the final price you’ll brag to your friends about right? Well here is the final breakdown per person for your weekend in New York City, in USD:

  • Transportation: $81
  • Accommodation: $90
  • Attractions: $189
  • Food: $75

Total per person in USD: $435


*Average round trip from Washington to NYC per person taken from www.busbud.com on May 14th 2018
**Accommodations with reviews over 7.0/10 and a good location score taken from www.booking.com on May 14th 2018