By Rachael Sena
Featured photo from Wikimedia Commons
New York City is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the continental U.S., and it also tends to be one of the most expensive cities. For those who are not Donald Trump and need to travel on a budget, here are a few tips to cut down on housing costs.
Join CouchSurfing.org for free and look into the hundreds of housing options in New York. CouchSurfing.org is a site where travelers can locate hosts to stay with in the destination they are traveling to. There is no charge to stay with a host, but it is acceptable to offer a gift to the host for his or her generosity.
It may be a little scary relying on the kindness of others, but CouchSurfing.org keeps an accurate profile of everyone who is using the site. Other users share information about their experiences to keep the profiles updated. Reviews of each host are also available to ensure you are choosing the right place to stay. The site also verifies every name registered as a host to confirm that such a person exists. Before traveling, you are encouraged to contact the host and establish a relationship so things won’t be so awkward when you arrive.
IStopOver.com is an online listing of apartments and houses that are for rent in major cities all over the world. The site is free to use, and the only money paid is to rent out a space. When renting a space, you aren’t committed to a specific lease term. You can rent for a period of time that suits your travel schedule. As of today, there are approximately 500 results for apartments and houses for rent in the New York area.
Like CouchSurfing.org, IStopOver.com gives you a chance to read reviews and see photos of a space before booking it. But with IStopOver.com, it is most likely that you will be renting out a private space. Meaning that you will not be staying in the space while the individual who is renting it out is home, but you will still be able to get acquainted through the site.
Airbnb.com is a cross between CouchSurfing.org and IStopOver.com. With Airbnb.com, you will have the privilege of a private room while staying with New York locals. Hosts are great resources for transportation and entertainment tips. Sometimes, they will be able to give you a tour of the city.
Thousands of listings came up for the New York area. The services and securities of Airbnb.com run similar to the other housing sites in this article. However, each site offers a different type of stay. Airbnb.com offers a more bed and breakfast type of accommodation with a modern twist. Instead of old, antique inns, you’ll be staying in modern New York apartments.
If renting out an apartment is not within your budget, then check out Hostelbookers to view listings of the cheapest hostels in New York. Hostelbookers.com features a full review and rating of each listed hostel. Users will feel safe and secure booking a hostel on this site because multiple photos are provided for each listing, and the site verifies that each hostel is accurately reviewed and priced.
Hostelbookers is free to use and the site doesn’t charge a booking fee if you reserve a hostel. Currently, there are 13 listings for hostels in New York. Over half of the listings received a rating of 70 percent or above.
If renting out extra spaces and staying with locals is not your cup of tea, then check out Hotels.com for deals on a more traditional housing option. Hundreds of hotel listings pop up for the New York area. The interactive side bar on the left allows you to narrow your search results based on several different qualities, such as price, rating and amenities.
Hotels.com offers 20 to 30 percent off of select hotels when you stay three or more nights. Select the red “Hotel Deals” tab in the top right to search for New York hotel savings. Hotels.com specializes in package deals as well. If you need to book a flight to New York, check out this site to see if there are any discounts for booking the hotel and flight together. The blue “Packages & Flights” tab in the top right can help you locate a bundle deal.
A slave to her education, Rachael is in her third year at the University of South Florida to earn a Bachelor’s of Art degree in magazine journalism. In her future, she envisions herself editing a fashion/photography/travel magazine (if such a thing exists). Her feisty attitude and short temper can be traced back to her Italian heritage. She knows a little Italian but plans to learn more while vacationing there someday. She is most at peace when writing, spending time with the boyfriend and watching movies about chicks that kick ass.