Author Topic: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!  (Read 7972 times)

EconDiva

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Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« on: April 02, 2016, 06:37:06 PM »
My mother and I will be meeting my brother in NYC for a trip July 1st-10th.  None of us have ever been before; my brother is flying in from Tokyo and we're sorta celebrating his soon-to-be graduation from college (he's going to school in Japan but we're celebrating here).

Anyways, it'll be the first time the 3 of us have been together in 7 years and I want this to be a nice trip but I don't want to break the bank either.  Unfortunately, neither my mother or brother will give me numbers when I ask for their budget for the trip, so it's making it very painful to plan for.  I will say that I think I can account for my mother to pay for her own meals and activities, and chip in another $200-$300 for accommodations and such.  When I asked my brother what his budget was for accommodations he said "as cheap as possible" and sent me an airbnb link to a studio with one bed and said he'd bring a sleeping bag.  That property was $90/night SO:

If I put in $600, my brother puts in $400 (estimate based on the property he sent me mentioned above), and my mom puts in $200, that puts us in the realm of a place that's ~$133/night *all inclusive*.  I'd like to stick to around this budget as I can give a few hundred more, but that would eat into my spending cash.

Because the trip falls on 4th of July, our choices are very limited already.  I need to find a place quick. My question surrounds where we can stay. I was looking at Jersey City and also found a nice place in Weehawken (I think that's how you spell it)-both of these places are on Airbnb.  My friend from NY said I could do Jersey City but not Weehawken-that it would be too far/inconvenient for a NYC trip.  There are also a few places left in Harlem, but they pretty much all have 1 bed only.  In the Jersey City area I can find places with 2 beds still (although not many are left)-I really don't want my brother to fly all the way here and be in a sleeping bag!

Any suggestions on where to look to stay? 

hyla

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2016, 08:08:38 PM »
For a NYC trip, I would prioritize staying as close as possible to the things you want to do, and trying to be in NYC, even if it meant sharing a tiny place or someone sleeping on the floor.   It sounds like your brother is ok with a sleeping bag, he's the one who suggested it.  One of the super excellent things about New York is you can walk or bike or take the subway anywhere.  That isn't the case if you are staying in New Jersey. 

Also, be aware that many airnbs in NYC are illegal.  For hotels within the city that won't break the bank, you might look at more basic hotels (small rooms, shared bathrooms), hostels, or new hotels running promotional rates to draw in customers.  It's hard to recommend a specific location or neighborhood without knowing what places you want to visit while in New York.

JLee

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2016, 07:35:26 PM »
If you're open to hostels: http://www.hostels.com/new-york/usa

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2016, 07:39:58 PM »
I paid $100 a night for the Cosmpolitian hotel downtown.  It was really nice, though the elevator was terrifying, and the bathroom small.  Right next to a subway station was super convenient. Easy walk to WTC.  The AC unit is only a window unit, but my room had  a fan.

Since Air BNB is illegal, it might fit your budget if you can get a similar rate.

(My room had a king, but there was room to also have at least two people sleep on the floor. I bet they have doubles.)

EconDiva

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2016, 05:41:16 AM »
If you're open to hostels: http://www.hostels.com/new-york/usa

I am but unfortunately my mom said she does not want to stay in one.

EconDiva

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2016, 05:42:29 AM »
I paid $100 a night for the Cosmpolitian hotel downtown.  It was really nice, though the elevator was terrifying, and the bathroom small.  Right next to a subway station was super convenient. Easy walk to WTC.  The AC unit is only a window unit, but my room had  a fan.

Since Air BNB is illegal, it might fit your budget if you can get a similar rate.

(My room had a king, but there was room to also have at least two people sleep on the floor. I bet they have doubles.)

Thanks...I did notice this place is available; it is a little over $200/night though because of the time we're going. I'm still looking at the moment but know I need to decide on somewhere fast.

EconDiva

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2016, 05:44:02 AM »
For a NYC trip, I would prioritize staying as close as possible to the things you want to do, and trying to be in NYC, even if it meant sharing a tiny place or someone sleeping on the floor.   It sounds like your brother is ok with a sleeping bag, he's the one who suggested it.  One of the super excellent things about New York is you can walk or bike or take the subway anywhere.  That isn't the case if you are staying in New Jersey. 

Also, be aware that many airnbs in NYC are illegal.  For hotels within the city that won't break the bank, you might look at more basic hotels (small rooms, shared bathrooms), hostels, or new hotels running promotional rates to draw in customers.  It's hard to recommend a specific location or neighborhood without knowing what places you want to visit while in New York.

Yeah, you make good points. *I* don't even know the places we will be going because my brother and mom haven't said. So I agree staying central would be nice.

EconDiva

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2016, 05:45:01 AM »
I had no clue AirBnB was illegal in NYC!

Why is this? So are the rooms I'm seeing on AirBnB in NY all scams then?

arebelspy

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2016, 06:01:55 AM »
I had no clue AirBnB was illegal in NYC!

Why is this? So are the rooms I'm seeing on AirBnB in NY all scams then?

Maybe not scams, but definitely skirting the local laws.

Perhaps buy some hotel points?  Special deal, today only (opens in about 5 hours, 1pm EST, sells out fast):
http://www.milevalue.com/today-only-24-hotel-rooms-possibly-best-daily-getaway-of-the-year/

Check at www.choicehotels.com to see if they have any rooms for what you're looking for.
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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2016, 06:45:51 AM »
I had no clue AirBnB was illegal in NYC!

Why is this? So are the rooms I'm seeing on AirBnB in NY all scams then?

Local laws don't allow short term rental. 
http://gothamist.com/2015/12/01/airbnb_laws_shmaws.php

It looks like if you rent a room while the owner is still there, that is okay.

Longwaytogo

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2016, 08:25:30 AM »
What about VRBO, I assume those are skirting law too? We are going to NYC in August and have been looking into both AirBnb and Vrbo as more affordable options.

lizzzi

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2016, 08:58:46 AM »
I'd re-think staying in a hostel. Your mom may be picturing 12-bed co-ed dorms with wild parties, etc., etc. My last two hostel stays--New Paltz, NY in a private room with ensuite bath, and Dublin, Ireland, with a three-bed women's dorm with bath ensuite were both fine, and very reasonable. I'm 66 and a half. They're not just for kids.

Jouer

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2016, 09:07:29 AM »
I've rented apartments twice in NYC through AirBnB. No problems either time. One guy in SOHO told us to say we were his cousins and the other, in Harlem, didn't mention it.

I loved staying in Harlem, by the way, but I was in town for an uptown event. It's a long ways to downtown from there - probably closer to stay in Jersey City near the PATH train.

SeanMC

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2016, 09:27:19 AM »
Make sure you combine your transit costs with your lodging costs in your budget.

Each daily trip on the PATH is x6 the ticket cost for your round-trip 3 person group. Same with taking subway vs. being close enough to walk places. It all adds up.

EconDiva

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2016, 11:03:15 AM »
What about VRBO, I assume those are skirting law too? We are going to NYC in August and have been looking into both AirBnb and Vrbo as more affordable options.

That's actually the website I was looking to book off of but I'm assuming if AirBnB is illegal then all of them (Homeaway, etc.) have to be too.

EconDiva

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2016, 11:06:24 AM »
I'd re-think staying in a hostel. Your mom may be picturing 12-bed co-ed dorms with wild parties, etc., etc. My last two hostel stays--New Paltz, NY in a private room with ensuite bath, and Dublin, Ireland, with a three-bed women's dorm with bath ensuite were both fine, and very reasonable. I'm 66 and a half. They're not just for kids.

I'm good with the hostel.  So is my brother.  But she won't buy into the "shared bathroom".  I can look back into the ones with a private bathroom...if any are still left.  But they were close to the price of some other hotels anyway.

I was looking at Broadway Hotel and Hostel, if anyone is familiar with it and has stayed there please let me know!!

EconDiva

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2016, 11:07:38 AM »
I've rented apartments twice in NYC through AirBnB. No problems either time. One guy in SOHO told us to say we were his cousins and the other, in Harlem, didn't mention it.

I loved staying in Harlem, by the way, but I was in town for an uptown event. It's a long ways to downtown from there - probably closer to stay in Jersey City near the PATH train.

Really?  I have found 2 nice places in Jersey City near the PATH and if that's really better then I should snatch it up quickly.  They will be gone soon.

But it seems like people are saying that that's too far....?


EconDiva

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2016, 11:09:34 AM »
Make sure you combine your transit costs with your lodging costs in your budget.

Each daily trip on the PATH is x6 the ticket cost for your round-trip 3 person group. Same with taking subway vs. being close enough to walk places. It all adds up.

I knowwww......I had settled on a place on AirBnB until (1) I read here it's illegal (and 2-the owner hasn't responded in 3 days yet...their place has 4.5 stars, is in the perfect location and has very few negative reviews, etc., but for some reason his response rate is 70% which I've never seen before.)

Jouer

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2016, 11:24:52 AM »
I should mention the thing with Jersey City is that once you are in The City, it'll be a pain to get back so you may not want to go back mid-day or to change for the evening. That's especially painful if you are going to a Broadway show or something. I did it once but I prefer saying right in Manhattan.

AirBnB et al is illegal like driving 70 in a 65 zone is illegal, not like robbing a bank illegal. And AirBnB will have your back if something were to happen - I've never heard of anything happening in my travels.

I think the thing with AirBnB in NYC is people rent out there apartments for when they aren't going to be there. They aren't great at updating their calendar. I've had trouble booking far in advance in NYC (not elsewhere) but no trouble booking within a couple months of visiting.

Dollar Slice

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2016, 11:48:41 AM »
For that price, frankly, you're unlikely to get a central location unless you get very lucky. So you'll have a long trip back and forth to the tourist part of the city whether you end up in Harlem or Brooklyn or Jersey City. Jersey City is basically one stop out of the city on a commuter type train, not the subway - so it will cost a little bit more and it runs a little less often, and the connection to/from the subway is a little bit of a pain. However, it is (as someone mentioned) much closer to downtown/midtown than Harlem so it could be a wash depending on what matters more to you. Convenience may depend on where you're planning to spend a lot of time. If you're going to be in midtown a lot, Harlem is quite convenient. If you want to hang out in Brooklyn and go to Coney Island... Harlem is pretty darn far.

If you do end up in Harlem try to book something close to an express train stop if you have a choice (Yes: A/D/2/3/4/5; No: B/C/1/6 - if you're not sure how to read the map, feel free to ask me!), that will help cut your commute times to stuff in midtown/downtown.

ETA: A friend of mine likes to stay in Queens out on the 7 train, he says it's very cheap... not sure about exact $$ or how long the commute is, but you could look into that maybe.

Longwaytogo

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2016, 01:28:57 PM »

AirBnB et al is illegal like driving 70 in a 65 zone is illegal, not like robbing a bank illegal. And AirBnB will have your back if something were to happen - I've never heard of anything happening in my travels.

Gotcha, kind of what I heard. Thanks

Probably not locking my plans down until May-ish.

Sorry for piggybacking in on your thread OP!

norabird

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2016, 11:52:04 AM »
I would not worry about Airbnb'ing here. Owners are allowed to do it as are those who are still in the apartment while it's rented out.

Jersey City or Brooklyn or Astoria/Queens are all fine options for coming in to the city. Check priceline or hotwire too; my parents have had good luck in the financial district downtown.

Most New Yorkers don't live in central Manhattan and still get around the city fine!

Eurotexan

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2016, 01:53:01 PM »
I lived in Jersey City for a few years and it was pretty easy to get into the city. There is a PATH train that can take you either downtown or midtown, quick and relatively inexpensive.

As for hotels I stayed at the Tuscany in Midtown last year and it was very cheap, about $150 a night, in September. NYC hotel rates vary a lot but might be worth taking a look.

My vote is for Jersey City, ideally you want to be staying near Exchange Place or Grove Street PATH stations; Journal Square might be a little risky, when I lived there a few years ago it was pretty sketchy.

Gerard

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2016, 03:48:47 PM »
ETA: A friend of mine likes to stay in Queens out on the 7 train, he says it's very cheap... not sure about exact $$ or how long the commute is, but you could look into that maybe.

I would second that, based on a couple of recent experiences. Much cheaper airbnb, some pleasant green neighbourhoods, and very good cheap food from faraway lands, if you're into that. Maybe a 20-minute cheap ride on the #7 into Manhattan. Consider getting an MTA weekly pass.

(I would add food suggestions, but somebody who's icked out by sharing a bathroom isn't going to like most of the places I eat in. Except maybe the Arepa Lady restaurant, which is rather pretty.)

EconDiva

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2016, 10:11:47 PM »
I lived in Jersey City for a few years and it was pretty easy to get into the city. There is a PATH train that can take you either downtown or midtown, quick and relatively inexpensive.

As for hotels I stayed at the Tuscany in Midtown last year and it was very cheap, about $150 a night, in September. NYC hotel rates vary a lot but might be worth taking a look.

My vote is for Jersey City, ideally you want to be staying near Exchange Place or Grove Street PATH stations; Journal Square might be a little risky, when I lived there a few years ago it was pretty sketchy.

The one place I had narrowed it down to today was by the Journal Path station... :/

norabird

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2016, 09:10:40 AM »
Don't worry, that area will be fine! Remember, you're only here for a short time. Lots of people live there, and everything will be okay :)

EconDiva

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2016, 01:21:56 PM »
Regarding AirBnB:

I contacted a person I was interested in renting from and asked about how the payment is handled.  Their response: "Regarding payment is all due at arrival, and it will be handled by AIRBNB, you should be seeing the total cost in your reservation request."

But on the AirBnB website it states: "Your payment information is collected when you submit a reservation request. Once the host accepts your request, or if you book a reservation with Instant Book, your payment method will be charged for the entire amount at that time. "

I already submitted a reservation request and the person already "pre-accepted" the request.  When I click on "Book" it asks for my payment information.  So I'd think I would get charged now, not later.....

norabird

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2016, 01:30:23 PM »
Yes, what lhamo said. You pay when you reserve, the owner gets paid on arrival, in my understanding.

EconDiva

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Re: Frugal trip to NYC? Need accommodations fast!
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2016, 01:39:56 PM »
^^^Ok...now 'that' makes sense.  The way the owner wrote it did not seem to coincide with AirBnB's policy. 

Thanks...wow, you guys are FAST!

The place I'm eyeing would be about ~1243 total, all in which amounts to $138 a night.  It's a few blocks from Journal PATH station in Jersey City, but it's new with 2 queen beds and a stove so it seems like a good fit.  I just want to ensure the person is legit; not sure why I'm so nervous about booking.