How much money for vacation?

Hey guys! I’m considering taking a short (maybe 3 days (2 nights) since i only get 1 week off) vacation this fall either to NYC (most likely) or Portland Maine. How much money (not counting airfare?) should I bring? If I go to NYC, I wanna stay in a decent hotel, eat out, visit various places, etc. What would yalll recommend? Maybe 600?

Since the OP is looking for advice, this is best suited to IMHO.

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Ok, sorry about that. Still not 100% sure where to post here. :slight_smile:

The two destinations are going to have wildly different budgets.

For NYC with a decent hotel and a couple of decent meals and the rest on the run I’d say closer to $1000. Hotel for 2 nights is going to be in the $3-400 range at the low end and then you’ve got food, transportation and entry fees to wherever you’re going.

I’m not a great budget traveler though. I prefer to save up and forget all the rules on vacation :slight_smile:

Neither Portland, Maine nor New York City is a third world country–thus you can put the vast bulk of the expenses on a credit card. I wouldn’t think it would be safe to carrying around $1,000 or so cash.

I live in NYC so I have not stayed in a hotel here, however I’m guessing that a fancy hotel in Midtown for example would run around $300 a night which would quickly eat up your $600. You can probably save money by staying in a different part of the city or across the river in NJ which has lots of public transportation options for getting back into NYC.

Eating out here can get expensive, although you can check Yelp and filter your search by price range. Websites like and have ideas on what to do and I believe it’s sorted by price range or you can use that as a filter. There are also plenty of free things to do in NYC. Many museum admissions are “suggested price only” so don’t feel obliged to pay the full amount if you go to one of those museums. Parks are free obviously. This is a good resource for cheap events around this city as well

I would also not rule out a youth hostel depending on your age and circumstances. I understand that you want something nice, but before I moved here I stayed in a youth hostel on the Upper West Side twice while visiting and I had a private room. No private bathroom, but it definitely was not gross and I didn’t have any problems with bathroom hoggers.

Unfortunately I know nothing about Portland, Maine but I suspect the prices for that would be wildly different from NYC.

ETA: I just realized what I said was a little contradictory (not staying in a hotel vs. staying in a youth hostel- I was being very literal as a youth hostel is technically not a hotel). I also totally forgot that I have stayed in a hotel here on a class trip in high school but I have no idea how much it cost and we probably got a group discount. Our teachers advised us to bring $100-$200 in traveler’s checks for expenses.

I’m also assuming the OP is not going to be literally carrying around cash, but a debit card.

Transportation within NYC is pretty cheap. You can walk most places or take the subway. Cabs will cost you a bit more. I don’t think tourist attractions are that expensive either. But a cursory look at TripAdvisor lists hotels at $250-$400 a night and nice dinner will set you back around $150 (for two with wine).

It all depends on what you want to do.

If the OP is on a budget there are plenty of reasonably priced restaurants that would be far less than $150 for two including wine (one glass each do you mean or an entire bottle?).

There is no reason to pay more than $200 for a Midtown hotel room in NYC. There are thousands of empty rooms every night - use priceline and ask for a 4* hotel for $175. You’ll get one.

Maybe $175 is too high - Someone got a room at the Times Square Westin for last night (a saturday!) for $100.

A few years ago I went to the Westminster Dog Show (not as a participant) in NYC and the cheapest room I could find was about $160 per night, in a very shabby older hotel in the Garment District. Perhaps rates go up when there’s a Big Event in town, though. I didn’t care because I was there to attend the event, not spend time in my hotel room.

In other visits to NYC, I found that eating out was incredibly cheap because there’s such a huge variety of restaurants, if you’re OK with less-fancy-but-interesting and varied ethnic restaurants. My brother lived there for a couple of years so I’ve visited on the cheap. We went to some fun off-Broadway matinees, including a cheap afternoon Blue Man Group performance, walked a LOT (NYC is a fabulous walking city), visited MOMA and the library and some other museums and galleries for very little money. We walked, or took the subway everywhere.

Actually I think that the most I ever spent anywhere there in a single visit was The Strand bookstore. :smiley:

I’d think that besides lodging, $100 per day would be more than plenty to have a really good time. But of course that depends on your tastes and expectations.

I’ve decided on NYC.
Heres my (ideal) plan: Leave DFW in the morning and get to NYC that afternoon (either JFK or LaGuardia), go to my hotel and then go somewhere for eat dinner. Spend the next day sight-seeing and leave the following afternoon.

Places I want to visit in order of most important:
Empire State (visit the balcony)
WTC memorial
Central Park
Rockefeller Center
Grand Central Station (maybe…)
Statue of Liberty
(also open for suggestions on places to visit)

I PLAN to visit each during my stay (maybe going to Empire State at night so I can see the city lights)

So now I need to find a good hotel (somewhere close to some of these places), nice restaurants and some shopping places (not really planning to spend a lot maybe 100-200 or so). Do most hotels provide free breakfast there?

This trip will be for one person. I am single and plan to stay that way (escorts are a lot cheaper than girlfriends lol)

So where should I get a hotel? How much do I need for transportation (im guessing most of these places are connected with public transportation?), food (decent restaurants), admission fees to various sites, etc?

It depends. Do you want to go stand in Rockefeller Plaza for 5 minutes and leave or do you want to tour NBC studios, Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall? Do you want to just see the Statue of Liberty, go inside the statue or do the whole Ellis Island thing? What you want to do and where you want to go affects the cost.

If you want to cram in as much as possible, I would suggest getting a pass from a place like because you won’t have to wait in a lot of lines (fast track access). The admission price is included in the cost of the pass. I would skip the “use our bus” part because walking and the subway are probably a lot faster than standing around waiting for their buses.

I haven’t been to NYC in decades, but I think the Statue of Liberty is going to tough to fit in. It’s all the way at the southernmost end of the island and if you really want to get out to Liberty Island, you’ll need to devote a lot of time to standing in the line to buy a ferry ticket and then to take the ferry out to the island. (Although the WTC isn’t far from Battery Park, so if you go to the WTC memorial, you could walk over and look at the statue from afar.)

With such a short trip, I think you should concentrate on the stuff in midtown, like the Empire State Building, Grand Central Terminal, Rockefeller Center, etc.

The Staten Island Ferry is free and offers good views of Liberty Island and Ellis Island. IMHO it’s a better value than going to the actual statue which is just kinda a big gigantic statue. And the lines and security take forever.

Ellis Island is worth it for the museum if you’re interested in immigrant history, but otherwise it’s just a big empty building.

Some friendly advice: There’s a hotel complex next to Newark Airport in Elizabeth, New Jersey across from Jersey Gardens Mall which has a Residence Inn and a Country Inn and Suites. It’s relatively inexpensive ($100-140 per night) and there’s free parking. It’s also right off the NJ Turnpike, it offers a shuttle to the New Jersey Transit train and it’s near the Goethals Bridge leading into Staten Island and through there the Verrazano Bridge and Brooklyn.

There are also reasonable motels/hotels in Ft. Lee and the areas near the George Washington Bridge which are all close to Manhattan and transportation into the city. I prefer to stay in New Jersey and travel over to Manhattan because staying in New York City can be very expensive,

A trip into NYC , where you visit most of the major sites and eat at some good restaurants could set you back anywhere from $1k-$1.5k for a long weekend. It depends on what you want to do and how many trinkets that you buy.

Thanks for the advice, guys. Statue of Liberty wasn’t a huge priority on my list, and I would rather see it from a distance anyway.

Thans for the infomation on the visit new york pass. Good to know.

Does the 1-1.5k include airfare or no?

You could get cheap flights to NYC, although Newark and Islip (on Long Island) might be more inexpensive. If you eat at restaurant chains and use the subway and the buses (and walk) you could save even more.

I worked in New Jersey about 15 miles from NYC for two years and I spent a number of weekends in the city. I didn’t spend more than $200 at the most during the trips over there. That was using the subway and doing a lot of walking.

There are plenty of non-chain restaurants that are affordable. We’re not talking about a Sophie’s Choice between Olive Garden and Le Bernardin.

And some of the food trucks or street vendors have great food for very little. Really, you can have quite a bit of fun in New York without spending much money.

I like to call them Street Meat. :slight_smile: Big pile o’schwarama and a soda for five bucks. Can’t beat the street.