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new York - too expensive?

(13 Posts)
Sprogstersmum Thu 05-Jan-17 17:04:41

We are planning a 3 week trip this summer to New York and Washington - flight and hotel costs are within our budget but keep hearing horror stories about the cost of everything especially food and drink when you're there.. There's four of us going, me, Dh and 2 dcs, 8 & 12. Anyone else been recently and how did you find it?

ineedamoreadultieradult Thu 05-Jan-17 17:09:39

We found the food ok but didn't go to anywhere posh. The portions are huge so we found we didn't really need much at breakfast or lunch and then had a big dinner. We didn't find any bargains in the shops so didn't really buy anything. Central Park Zoo I'd really cheap compared to Zoos here.

TheMysteriousJackelope Thu 05-Jan-17 17:17:43

A relative went to New York at Christmas and was paying around $15 - $20 for a cocktail and commented on how expensive it was to eat out.

8 and 12 years old would still qualify for the children's menu in most restaurants. Unfortunately those menus tend to be limited and the portions are quite small. You can also cut costs by sharing plates of food (you may have to pay a sharing charge) as portions in restaurants are huge, and look for deals like 'Earlybird' and Happy Hours when restaurants try to encourage people to eat and drink during the late afternoon/very early evening.

Staying in a 'suite' type hotel where you get two rooms with a small kitchen and sitting area between them is also a good way of cutting the cost of eating and drinking out. Some also provide breakfast and evening meals (only one item on the menu though) and a glass of wine or beer as part of the room charge. Marriott have several options for this.

WhatHaveIFound Thu 05-Jan-17 17:24:31

We found food quite expensive last October and didn't eat anywhere posh. DH and i only had one glass of wine in all the time we were there (4 nights).

DC were 14 & 11 but neither are big eaters so sometimes we'd just order a starter or a side for one of them. No one charged us a sharing rate. We also snacked on supermarket food.

A trip to the cinema (Imax screening) with popcorn cost us $90!

irregularegular Thu 05-Jan-17 17:28:01

New York is very expensive, though probably not much more so than London. We went in May and given exchange rates it will have got worse since then. But I imagine that if you travel outside New York City itself it would be very different. In most of the US there is a much better choice of inexpensive food than in the UK, and supermarkets often do good salad bars etc for lunch if you are driving around.

spinduffy Fri 06-Jan-17 07:03:55

We where in ny and DC before Xmas. It's very expensive for eating and drinking due to the exchange rate. That said there are cheaper options and sandwich bars/ fast food places (eg shake shack) worked out cheaper as tipping not necessary. We found that what ever the cost of a meal was in dollars, that is what it works out at in pounds by the time you add tax, tip and crappy conversion.

We still had a great time and there are lots of free things to see and do. Washington was significantly cheaper for accommodation and all sites were free!

2014newme Sat 07-Jan-17 12:09:02

I found it London prices.
Lots of free things to do eg central park andcheap things eg statue of liberty which is a national park so inexpensive

TSSDNCOP Sat 07-Jan-17 13:29:50

Hello OP - we did the same trip at October Half Term, getting the train from NY to DC was fab, and are frequent travellers to NY.

It was a LOT more expensive this time around due to the impact of the exchange rate, which was $1.2 at the time. Unusually for us we didn't spend on anything that wasn't directly holiday so no trips to Bloomingdales sad

Eating in diners is a good way to go for a hearty breakfast - especially if your DC like eggs. There are also Pret/Starbucks everywhere to grab a sandwich and you can always get a hot dog for a $2 anywhere. You can get cold water in any of the zillion drugstores. Planet Hollywood on Time Square is fun and not eye-watering, and there are a million Italian Pizza places that aren't stupid prices. Booze is always pricy in the US IMO unless you are a beer drinker, and not a good measure of prices generally.

NYC has plenty to do that is low-cost - and make sure you read your tickets properly so you see what's included e.g. annoyingly we missed the small print that said the tickets to Liberty and Ellis were also usable on the Big Bus tours. The Highline walk is great. The Natural History Museum and Central Park are ace. We take DS's micro-scooter in the suitcase for central park.

DC is Nirvana for free stuff. The Smithsonian Air & Space is truly fantastic - the tours are run by retiree pilots and they really know their stuff - you can also get bus tours but Please Please do the Big Bus and not the City, it is my life's mission to ensure none gets shafted like we did by those arseholes. If you do get a tour go out to Arlington cemetery - allow 2 hours there - it is very moving. There is also a hanger out by the airport which is pat of Smithsonian air and space that has the Shuttle and the Elona Gray (sp).

Breward Sun 08-Jan-17 18:48:03

We found NYC very expensive. We stayed in a hotel that did an 'all you can eat breakfast' so only needed an evening meal.

Washington DC is basically free for sightseeing - so DO NOT go to the zoo or museums in NYC.

Most of the museums in Washington are owned by the Smithsonian trust so the Natural History, Space, Science museums are free and the zoo is free too. The Holocaust museum , printing press museum (watch how money is made!) and even climbing the Washington Monument is free. Visiting The White House, Capitol building and The Pentagon is free.

We stayed in a hotel (the Embassy Suites) with a huge breakfast then every evening between 5.30 and 7.30 there would be a manager's reception which was basically free drinks and nibbles (nachos, hummus, carrot/cucumber sticks, nuts, etc). After that all our children wanted was a slice of pizza from Dominoes! The most money we spent was $30 canoeing down the Patomac river and $7.50 x 4 on baseball tickets.

I would certainly recommend Washington DC with NYC. (It takes 3 hours on the coach ... we went by Megabus for $3 each!!).
Always fly in/out of NYC as flights are so much cheaper.

Breward Sun 08-Jan-17 18:51:55

The 'Free Tours by foot' of Washington DC are great too. We were recommended to go to Arlington Cemetery which we did with Free tours on foot. We also did their evening monument tour too.

Rascallsall Sun 08-Jan-17 19:19:35

Yes Free Tours on Foot in New York too. Book early as they do fill up. You are expected to tip though ( that is how the guides make their money ) so factor that in.

JigglyTuff Sun 08-Jan-17 19:29:15

We went in October and it was shockingly expensive compared to previous trips - far in excess of London. Children's lunch was $12 (+tip and tax) for a sandwich and cookies!

Most days we ended up buying sandwiches and drinks from one of the hundreds of delis/corner shops that are everywhere in NYC and eating them in parks.

Finding a hotel with an all you can eat buffet brreakfast is also a good idea - we stayed in the Holiday Inn midtown and they positively encouraged you to take food away (and there's a fridge in the rooms).

There's lots of free stuff to do while you're there and travel is cheap - it's just eating out that's expensive unless you stick to eg McDonalds/Starbuck/Pret.

Breward Mon 09-Jan-17 17:36:57

Yes- do tip on the free tours. You pay what you think the tour was worth, so if it was fab we gave a larger tip.

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