Planning a trip to New York City? Read on to learn how you can save big bucks on food.
Recently we visited NYC for a children’s book writing conference. With flights, registration and hotel, there wasn’t a huge budget left over for food. And while we dined out a few times, we also discovered several ways to save money while in the city that never sleeps.
7 Ways to Save Money on Food in NYC
1). Bring packaged dry goods with you: Depending on the length of your stay, you can either stuff dry goods in your suitcase or pack an entirely separate bin with packaged foods. Either way, take some with you. Items would include granola bars, peanut butter, nuts, trail mix, dry cereal, etc. These items are 3x as expensive at a corner NYC market and they are great for a quick breakfast or as a snack to throw in your backpack.
2). Find a Trader Joe’s: This was huge for us. We found a Trader Joe’s and bought a ton of snacks and all of our wine for the trip. The prices were basically the same as our local Trader Joe’s. Regarding food, we bought hummus, crackers, pub cheese and a lot of fruit. We had a glass or two of wine in our hotel room as opposed to spending a small fortune on a bottle in a restaurant.
3). Use Amazon Go Store and other markets: We first learned about Amazon Go stores last December when we visited New York City during Christmas. These stores are created by Amazon, obviously, so your purchases are linked to your Amazon account. Once you walk through a sensor, your mobile device is “tagged” and when you walk out, your Amazon account is charged for your items. These stores and other markets are great for salad, sandwiches and other small meals or snack items
4). Share deli sandwiches: If you’ve been to NYC before, you know the deli sandwiches are HUGE! One of our favorite things to do is buy one sandwich and one large bag of chips then sit in a park and share everything. Believe me, it’s plenty of food for two people. If it’s a colder time of year, head back to your hotel or find an indoor area to enjoy your deli delights.
5). Don’t dine out on an empty stomach: New York City is known for its culinary scene so you can’t visit and not eat out at all. What you can do is eat a snack before you go to a restaurant. This allows you to taste and enjoy the delicious food of NYC without overspending. If you’re not starving, you and the other guests can get several small plates or share entrees, which allows you the experiences of eating out without breaking the bank.
6). Pack a reusable water bottle: This one should be a no-brainer, but I still saw folks walking around with plastic water bottles or buying them in delis and markets. Have everyone in your group bring a reusable water bottle. Most hotels have a water filling station or water coolers in the fitness centers, and when you’re out and about, you can refill them at restaurants, water fountains, food courts and other places.
7). Eat outside of Times Square and other tourist traps: This one is huge! Food in Times Square is not only outrageous but also not that good. A lot of chains reside in Times Square, places you can eat in any U.S. city. Why not travel a few streets over to truly get a taste of New York? A short Subway ride to Greenwich Village or Brooklyn will be well-worth your time and will save you significant amounts of money when dining out.
New York City is one of my favorite places in all the world, but it’s hard to enjoy any trip if you’re worried about money. While enjoying food should be part of your trip, you can do it in ways that save you money and offer you a delicious bite of the Big Apple. Have fun!