3 Affordable Days In New York City Full Travel Guide

3 Affordable Days In New York City: Full Travel Guide


New York City is a place I’ve wanted to visit again ever since my husband Gozie and I moved back to the East Coast. However, when I was initially thinking of traveling to the city, the pandemic was not kind, and New York City shut down. So when NYC opened back up and things felt safe again, I started planning three affordable days in New York City, and I am sharing the itinerary with you today!

Tasrt New York City Food Tour

Whether you plan to fly, take a road trip, or arrive in the city by train, as I did, you will be able to see NYC in three days and soothe your hunger for travel on a local level. In this post, I will also be sharing related videos to help guide you as you plan. I documented my whole experience and am happy to share everything with you.

Although I am not a native of NYC, I know the city to be strong and exceptionally resilient. It has been hit hard during the pandemic, especially early on, but it was hard to tell when we visited. Most shops and restaurants were open, and excursions were available for booking. And it looked like the city was slowly returning to normal.

Traveling during this time is different because there are a few more rules and guidelines you must abide by for each section of your trip (transportation, restaurants, excursions, and hotel). However, I think NYC has a good hold on overall safety, which is excellent because the city is becoming increasingly crowded despite the current state of life. Having new regulations for your trip may seem like an obstacle, but they are put in place to keep you, other travelers, and residents safe, which is the most important thing.

This guide will surely give you everything you will need to plan your next trip to NYC.

Table of Contents

    Why should you take a train to New York City?

    When planning my trip, I looked into the idea of taking a plane to the city, but I wanted to make this trip as affordable as possible. Flight prices were around $200 per person, which I did not want to pay. I also had to be mindful that the base price for a flight per person adds up. You then have to include the cost of transportation from the airport to the hotel, which is also pretty expensive.

    I fell in love with train rides during my time living in Morocco. We could visit many Moroccan cities by train, and the rides were usually affordable. So, riding the train in the United States came to mind when I planned this NYC trip. I could book two Amtrak tickets for under $200, which I was willing to pay. I will say that to get a good “deal” when booking your train tickets, be flexible because, for specific dates, train tickets to NYC or anywhere in the United States can be costly. So plan early and check ticket prices often.

    Taking the train during this time is an excellent option to find a ticket that fits your budget. I found the train ride I was on the most relaxing mode of transportation I had been on for a long time. However, I have to add that the type of tickets we purchased put us in public coach cars. So if you are traveling with people you know, I think the experience can feel more comfortable than sitting next to a stranger.

    3 Affordable Days In New York City Full Travel Guide

    The views from the train were beautiful as well. It was a treat to see so much scenery as we rode by. It was also great to stop in several different cities and envision my next train ride to one of the destinations we went through for a future trip.

    I also think traveling by train during this time will hopefully help eliminate the number of plane horror stories we’ve all heard about lately. Amtrak is organized, communicates well, and has its stuff together compared to airline companies. I felt like my train trip was much less fuss than the many plane rides I’ve taken this year.

    When is the best time to visit NYC?

    This year, the best time to visit the area is September to early November. Kids are back in school, and it looks like work schedules are resuming as usual, which means fewer people will be in the city.

    3 Affordable Days In New York City Full Travel Guide

    When we visited, it was the height of summer, but surprisingly, the weather was nice. Unfortunately, it rained during the trip but did not deter us from exploring.


    I recommend you book your accommodations as soon as you can. The city sees tons of visitors daily looking for a place to stay.

    While planning a trip, I browse through discount websites like booking.com. If I find a good deal, I will double-check with the hotel or tourist website first to see if the price is the same or less on the company’s website. I like to book directly if the price is the same or lower, but I will book on the discount website if there is a better price. It’s all about timing and patience.

    Depending on where you plan to spend the most time, I recommend you book your accommodations near most of the activities you want to do. For example, I knew we would be walking and taking the subway for most of our excursions, so booking a hotel near subway stops was vital!

    3 Affordable Days In New York City Full Travel Guide

    The best advice I can give for your trip is to be flexible. I only had three events/excursions booked in advance. Everything else was tentatively planned, which allowed us a ton of freedom.


    As we got off the train at Penn Station, NY, we walked 10 minutes to our hotel. We arrived in the city at about 11 am, and our check-in was not until 3 pm. So we dropped our bags off with the concierge, changed our shoes, and headed back outside to explore Times Square and find a place to get a meal (since it was a veggie day).

    There are many places to stay in NYC, and the price ranges vary. To keep things affordable but not cheap, I chose the La Quinta by Wyndham Times Square for our stay.

    As mentioned, flexibility is key! On our itinerary, I researched a few restaurants serving veggie food so Gozie could look at the list and decide what he was craving on a whim. If you have specific dietary concerns, you should look up restaurants and options that best serve your needs. Finding the best restaurant options is hard when you are out and about and hungry.

    We ended up at Taïm, a Mediterranean-style restaurant with meat, veggie, and vegan options. We also went to Bite next door because they had seating, and we wanted a table outside. So, we purchased a rosewater lemonade, got a table, and enjoyed our first meal in NYC.

    The food we ordered was excellent and hit the spot after being on the train for about 3 hours and walking quite a ways to this area. I tried the falafel pita sandwich, and Gozie got the Beyond Meat kabab bowl. We both gave the restaurant 4.5 points out of 5, which is good! I recommend you check it out, too!

    3 Affordable Days In New York City Full Travel Guide

    If you aren’t in the mood for Mediterranean food, check out ByChloe for vegan burgers or JAJAJA for Mexican food. We did not have time to try both options on my list. So if you check them out, let me know what you think!

    After lunch, we made the one-hour, forty-block trek to Hudson Yards for a Landmarks Cruise. The thing about the cruise was that once we got on the boat, it was pretty crowded. Granted, not all seats were full, but it did feel pretty packed considering the circumstances.

    3 Affordable Days In New York City Full Travel Guide

    Despite being crowded, we had a great time. The cruise allowed us to see many landmarks quickly without having to visit each place individually, which helped us save money and time. If we return to New York City, we will choose a landmark to visit in more depth now that we know where everything is.


    We love taking time to relax in our hotel together when we travel. So we did not get out into the city until about 11 am.

    Our second day in NYC was perfect for figuring out how to ride the subway. It was a struggle at first because we couldn’t figure out our route. We got on the wrong train and almost rode to Brooklyn, which was not the plan for this trip.

    3 Affordable Days In New York City Full Travel Guide

    Once we got ourselves together, we made our way to Harlem. We began our walking tour at the Schomburg Center on 135th Street. It was my first time doing something like this, and I can honestly say self-guided walking tours are my new favorite tourist activity. The one I purchased through Free Tours By Foot was wonderfully affordable. I loved getting the tour in advance, reading the instructions, and planning my day based on how everything was structured.

    3 Affordable Days In New York City Full Travel Guide

    Of course, we had to stop for lunch, and we did so at Red Rooster Harlem. My twelve-year-old nephew recommended this restaurant to me. He has a good, slightly elevated taste in food and restaurants. Red Rooster was excellent and worth the price we paid for our meals, which were a bit pricey. But because we budgeted pretty well for other parts of the trip, we felt it was okay to splurge on a delicious meal.

    The last stop in Harlem was celebrating Senegalese culture and food in New York City. Gozie and I enjoyed the event, and it was a nice last thing to do to round off our time in Harlem.


    We started our day with a scheduled food tour with Foods of NY, which I was excited about. I enjoy participating in food tours, not just for the food but for the overall experience of learning about a neighborhood or city’s culture, history, and people.

    This particular tour was in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. It was great to try some of the neighborhood’s best dishes with Foods of NY on their Heart & Soul of Greenwich Village tour. During this event, we tried a fancy version of NY-style pizza. It was from a pizzeria called Artichoke, and the dish was unique. It was double dough layered with a creamy white sauce and tons of cheese. I enjoyed the crust’s texture because it was flaky and very buttery. Yum!

    Of course, the nod to Indian food was a nice treat for Gozie and me. It had been a while since we had Indian cuisine in Hyderabad, India. The unda bjuri roll and mango lassi were fantastic and made us feel like we were back in India for a time!

    3 Affordable Days In New York City Full Travel Guide

    We tried so many other beautiful dishes on the tour that I shared in the food tour video. I highly recommend you check out Foods of NY when visiting New York City. The professionalism and organization of the entire company were excellent, and I am happy they allowed me to share with you!

    I know travel is very uncertain right now, but I hope this guide will give you some ideas of things you can do if you decide to make your way to New York City!

    Take care, and enjoy planning your New York Trip!

    Pin these images!


    This post was not sponsored. However, the food tour was kindly gifted to me by Foods of NY.

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