Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget
Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Picking the Perfect Transatlantic Flight Deal
Scoring an affordable transatlantic flight can seem like searching for a needle in a haystack. With fares frequently topping $1,000 roundtrip, many travelers resign themselves to staying on their own continent. But cheap flights across the pond do exist - you just need to know where and when to look.
The first step is flexibility. Are you open to flying into and out of different cities? What about traveling in the off-season when demand is lower? Being adaptable opens up your options and makes snagging a deal much more likely.
Next, cast a wide net in your search. Look beyond nonstop flights, which carry a premium. Consider one-stop itineraries through major hubs like London, Paris or Amsterdam. Budget carriers like Norwegian Air and WOW Air often run crazy low fares if you don’t mind sacrificing some comforts.
Expand your departure airport options if you live near multiple major cities. Fares can vary significantly between nearby airports. Use flight deal sites and Google Flights’ price graph to compare options across full months or seasons. Sign up for airfare sale alerts from carriers that fly your route.
Aim to book 6-8 weeks out for the lowest domestic fares that connect to your transatlantic flight. Book the long haul portion even earlier if possible - 3-4 months ahead - when airline sales launch new booking periods. Set fare alerts in case the price drops after you book (you can rebook at the lower rate).
Consider open-jaw ticketing to save costs. Book roundtrip into one city and back from another. Just be sure the open segment is shorter than your transatlantic flights or you could risk cancellation.
What else is in this post?
- Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Picking the Perfect Transatlantic Flight Deal
- Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Navigating New York on a Nickel and Dime
- Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Sleeping Soundly Without Breaking the Bank
- Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Subway Maps and Walking Shoes - Getting Around for Less
- Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Free and Cheap Big Apple Attractions
- Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Marseille's Coastline and Cuisine on a Centime
- Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Savoring Street Foods for Under $5 a Day
Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Navigating New York on a Nickel and Dime
New York City conjures images of bustling crowds, glittering lights, and experiences far beyond most budgets. But behind the glitzy facade lies an affordable side of the city accessible to travelers on even the tightest budget. With some insider knowledge and advance planning, you can eat, sleep, sightsee, and get around for a fraction of what less prepared tourists pay.
Start by securing affordable accommodations in one of the outer boroughs. Brooklyn hostels like New York Loft Hostel offer private rooms from just $60/night. Or snag a Manhattan deal at Pod 51, with bunks often found for around $50. Extend your trip by rewards hacking hotel points and airline miles.
When hunger strikes, skip the upscale restaurants in favor of street food and ethnic eateries. Load up on dollar pizza, halal cart chicken and rice, tacos from street carts, and Chinatown noodles for just a few bucks a meal. Save big by opting for bottomless brunch specials and happy hour deals.
You can see many of the city's top sights without emptying your wallet. Entry to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, and other institutions is by "suggested donation." Take free Staten Island Ferry for epic skyline views. Explore Central Park, the High Line, and other green spaces at no cost beyond transit.
Speaking of transit, an unlimited MetroCard allows unlimited subway and bus rides for just $33/week. Walk as much as possible to avoid cab fares that quickly add up. Use Citibike for an affordable and scenic alternative to both.
Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Sleeping Soundly Without Breaking the Bank
New York lodging has a reputation for being prohibitively expensive, but travelers on a budget need not resign themselves to restless nights in noisy, threadbare quarters. With advance planning and a little creativity, securing clean, comfortable, affordable accommodations in the Big Apple is entirely possible.
For wallet-friendly rates, outer borough locales like Queens and northern Brooklyn should be your first target. Hostelling International's Queens location offers private rooms with shared bath from just $100—a steal for NYC. Or splurge on a private room with bath for still only $150-200/night. The atmosphere is social but not crazy, and the rooms, though compact, are modern and cheerful. Complimentary linens, toiletries, breakfast, wifi, and activities add value.
Another excellent option is Pod 51 in Midtown Manhattan, part of the Pod Hotels micro-chain. Snag a bunk in their hip communal dorms for as low as $50/night. Private “Pods” with a queen bed cost more ($150-200) but remain hundreds less than comparable Manhattan hotels. You’ll forego space but not style in these efficient yet surprisingly comfy quarters. Free wifi, toiletries, luggage storage and lobby socializing spaces compensate for the lack of elbow room.
Last-minute deals on boutique hotels also abound if you’re vigilant and a tad lucky. Apps like Hotel Tonight frequently offer chic properties like Arlo NoMad, Moxy NYC Times Square, and The Marmara Manhattan for under $200—even in peak seasons. Rates are only guaranteed for that night, so flexibility is key. But opting for mystery accommodations adds an adventurous twist to any NYC trip.
Stretch your lodging dollar further by maximizing hotel loyalty programs and points. Joining programs like Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and Wyndham Rewards before your trip lets you earn free nights quickly through promotions and credit card bonuses. On booking sites, filter for free night-eligible hotels where your existing points take you furthest.
Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Subway Maps and Walking Shoes - Getting Around for Less
Navigating the concrete jungle of New York City can quickly drain your wallet if you rely on cabs and Ubers. But armed with a trusty subway map and solid walking shoes, you can traverse the city without breaking the bank.
The NYC subway and bus system may seem daunting at first, but the locals make it look easy for good reason - it goes just about everywhere for less than $3 per ride (or unlimited trips for $33/week with a MetroCard). Study the color coded lines and familiarize yourself with major stops closest to your hotel before arriving. Download a route planning app like CityMapper to help build custom itineraries. Don't bother trying to figure it all out on the go - you'll save time and hassle by mastering the basics in advance.
Once you've got your route down, grab a metro card and start your adventures. Pro tip: keep some cash on the card for easy transfers between subways and buses. Don't be shy about asking a local for help if you get turned around - most are happy to point you in the right direction. Just avoid rush hours if possible when stations become bottlenecked.
Of course, using only public transit can make a huge city feel disconnected. That's where traveling by foot between stations comes in. Lace up your most comfortable walking shoes, grab a water bottle and snack, and hit the streets. Exploring Manhattan and Brooklyn by foot allows you to fully soak up the vibrancy bubbling over on every corner. How else can you appreciate the magnificent brownstone-lined streets of Bed-Stuy, the artists and buskers filling Washington Square Park, or the dizzying canyon walls of skyscrapers along Park Ave?
Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Free and Cheap Big Apple Attractions
Contrary to its lavish reputation, New York City offers dozens of free and affordable attractions accessible even to visitors on the tightest of budgets. Ambling through its parks, museums, and neighborhoods allows you to soak up that signature NYC energy without draining your wallet.
Make Central Park your outdoor oasis while in Manhattan. This 843-acre green space has endless trails, meadows, gardens, and glimpses of classic landmarks like the Dakota and Plaza Hotel. Rent a rowboat and paddle the lake, take in a free concert, or simply snag a patch of grass and people watch to your heart's content. Entry is always free.
Many of NYC's top museums and galleries operate on a "pay what you wish" model. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History have suggested donations of $25 and $23 - but you can offer as little as a penny. The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Bronx Museum of the Arts also provide pay-what-you-wish admission. Arrive near closing to maximize time inside.
Staten Island Ferry is the hidden gem for sensational city views at no cost. The 25-minute ride provides Instagram-worthy panoramas of Lower Manhattan, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. Depart from the Whitehall Terminal near Battery Park. Best of all? The return trip is also free.
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge makes for an iconic New York experience without the typical price tag. Spot One World Trade Center and the Manhattan skyline from the pedestrian pathway spanning 1.1 miles over the East River. Going early in the morning guarantees thinner crowds along the wooden-planked promenade.
Explore up-and-coming neighborhoods like Bushwick on foot to uncover street art, indie galleries, microbreweries, and hip shops and cafes. Fuel up on tacos and craft beer without blowing your budget. Download a self-guided walking tour to maximize what you discover.
Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Marseille's Coastline and Cuisine on a Centime
With its sun-drenched beaches and fresh Mediterranean cuisine, Marseille offers visitors an alluring blend of natural beauty and culinary delights without the lavish price tag of nearby resort towns like Nice or Cannes. Travelers on even the tightest budget can fully experience the city’s captivating coastal scenery and savor its fabulous local flavors without breaking the bank.
Marseille’s lengthy coastline provides endless options for soaking up the azure waters of the Mediterranean. The iconic Calanques National Park features dramatic inlets and cliffs that can be explored completely free of charge. Pack a picnic lunch and hike out to Calanque de Sormiou to find its secluded cove and crystal waters, or ramble along the seaside trails of Calanque de Morgiou. The island fortress of Château d’If, made famous by Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, also makes a memorable budget-friendly day trip.
Within the city itself, the bustling Vieux Port (Old Port) offers prime people watching and selfie backdrops with boats bobbing in the harbor. Stroll along the Quai des Belges at sunset for romantic views. Beaches right in town range from family-friendly sands at Catalans Beach to the trendy, cabana-lined strips at Prado Beach. All provide easy access to refreshing swims without the hassle and cost of renting a car.
But Marseille’s superpower just might be its vibrant food scene, which draws from fresh Mediterranean ingredients and North African spice routes. For just a few euros, you can feast on local bouillabaisse stew, garlicky aioli, Navette cookies, and other Provençal specialties that reflect the city’s multicultural influences.
Start your mornings by grabbing a steaming bowl of North African m’sakhan (chicken with cumin, olive oil, onions, and spices) from a street vendor – an energizing, protein-packed breakfast under 5€. Or pop into one of the city’s many boulangeries to try a unique Navette marseillaise cookie flavored with orange blossom water for about .70€ each.
For lunch, assemble the components for a beachside picnic by hitting up small neighborhood markets and shops. Pick up olives, fresh-baked bread, cheese, saucisson sec (dried sausage), and seasonal fruits. Pair it with a chilled bottle of local Provence rosé. Total cost? Under 10€ for two.
Come evening, outdoor seafood restaurants like Le Lunch and La Côte de Bœuf keep budgets afloat with fixed-price menu specials under 20€. Fill up on seafood soup stew, grilled sardines, mussels with French fries or anchovies, and more – all at a fraction of what you’d pay in other coastal cities. Cash only is the norm, so come prepared.
Bon Voyage: Mapping an Epic Marseille to New York Adventure on a Budget - Savoring Street Foods for Under $5 a Day
Street food satisfies cravings and connects you to local culture - often for just a few dollars. In New York, sidewalk carts and food trucks dish out everything from hot dogs to halal, tacos to arepas, for prices that won't devour your daily budget. With an empty belly and $5 in your pocket, eating your fill while exploring the city is deliciously doable.
Skip the endless subway tunnels and get your bearings streetside, one bite at a time. In Manhattan, a couple empanadas from the clusters of vendors near Bryant Park offer a portable picnic for under $5. Or grab a loaded arepa - cornbread pockets stuffed with chicken, beef, beans, cheese - from the Caracas Arepa Bar truck. Choose from traditional or inventive fillings, with most arepas costing $3-5.
Halal carts rule as NYC’s quintessential street meat. Load up on chicken or gyro over rice with white sauce for $4-5/plate. Mix and match with falafel, kebabs, fries or salad for maximum variety. Carts cluster on nearly every corner, wafting scents of sizzling meats as you pass.
Of course, you can’t forget about pizza by the slice, which remains reliable fast fuel. Go for dollar slices on Bleecker Street or splurge for artisanal versions at Paulie Gee’s or Artichoke Basille’s for $3-4/each. Just don't fold it! Customize toppings from plain cheese to pepperoni or veggie without breaking the bank.
Venture into Queens for a mouthwatering diversity of ethnic eats from around the world. In Flushing, skewered Uyghur kebabs and hand-pulled noodles transport you to China for just a few bucks per dish. Or try Nepalese momos, Taiwanese scallion pancakes, or Korean kimbap. Most vendors post prices to eliminate guesswork.
In the Bronx, look for Ecuadorian and Dominican specialties from food trucks near Yankee Stadium on game days. Load up on empanadas, arepas, and chicharrones for an indigenous twist on classic ballpark snacks. Prices stay budget-friendly despite the captive crowds.