New York City has a reputation for being very expensive, and especially as a place to sleep it deserves that reputation. But once you have that handled you can actually get by on a fairly low budget, especially if you spend time away from the cheesy Times Square area. Do yourself a favor and choose from our recommended New York City hotels and hostels, where you’ll have a few great choices instead of a huge list of uncertain ones.
Especially if you’ve only got a few days in the city, it’s best to pay a bit more and stay in one of the nicer and more convenient neighborhoods in Manhattan itself. You can save a bit of money by staying in Queens, Brooklyn, or even New Jersey, but you’ll also spend hours each day going back and forth. Again, avoid the Times Square area if you can and you’ll probably have a better time.
Hotels in New York City are cheapest from mid January through March, but relative bargains are possible almost any time of year. Booking as far as possible in advance is usually the best strategy, though sometimes prices do come down as the dates approach if rooms are not booked and demand is weak.
Hotels outside of Manhattan are cheaper than ones on the main island, but for most people it’s worth paying for the convenience of staying near all the action, since commuting back and forth can drain lots of time and energy.
Star ratings in New York City can seem arbitrary in many systems so don’t assume that a cheap 4-star hotel is nicer than a more expensive 2-star hotel on the same block. Rooms tend to be surprisingly small, and street noise can be a problem, so it’s a good idea to read reviews you can trust before you lock in a place.