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Road Tripping On a Budget: Stay in NYC For Under $200

Raquelle Gonzalez
Student Writer

As college students, we have the world and freedom in the palm of our hands. The drive to see the world with our friends, and create intangible life experiences is at the core of things we want to do. If only travel was free, am I right? As a senior, I am utilizing my time and the freedom I have to travel to cities with the people I love before we all go our separate ways and don’t have the flexibility to take random trips to cities around us.

I wanted to see if it was able to go to New York City on a college student’s budget. Would it be possible to go to Manhattan and do everything I wanted for under $200, including gas expenses, food and lodging?

The planning of this trip was integral and helped us save money. One thing that I recommend to anyone looking to plan a stay is to travel with at least 2-3 other people. This really helped the costs stay low for the trip, and helped hotel expenses stay within the budget.

Retrieved from arlohotels.com

For our hotel, we chose to stay in SoHo. This is a really great location in Manhattan, as it has many things within walking distance – and has a ton of great places to go for free. We stayed at Arlo SoHo, a cute boutique hotel overlooking the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel. One thing we did notice was this hotel was categorized as a micro hotel – aka, it was very small. This was something we did not mind, as the hotel room was basically just utilized for holding our things and sleeping. The total for the hotel, including all tax and fees was $178, so each of us ended up paying just under $60 for one night. We all shared a king-sized bed, and for the location, this price was great.

Retrieved from cubanyc.com

Next, after settling into our hotel, we walked a short few blocks for brunch. We chose to eat at a place called Cuba. It is a small place in the heart of SoHo that serves authentic Cuban food. The plates have a plentiful amount of food, and each of us ended up paying roughly $26 for our meals, drinks and appetizers, including tip. I chose to eat the pan con bistec, a traditional Cuban sandwich with steak. Depending on what you get, the meals for brunch are still within the range of $10-$18.

After brunch came the exploring we were waiting for. Near the restaurant were a few vintage stores we perused around, including Stella Dallas. Being located in SoHo, we also were able to walk The Highline, a historic freight rail line turned Public Park elevated above the streets of Manhattan. The great thing about this area and Manhattan, in general, is that within walking distance, there is so much to do – and most of it is free.

As the daily activities came to an end, we decided to get a good, old-fashioned New York pizza for dinner. This pizza was only $13 and was a more than amazing end to the day.

The great thing about New York is that there is so much to do, on so many different budgets. I definitely recommend this trip to anyone looking for the last adventure of the semester with friends.

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