15 November 2017

The Big Apple On A Not So Big Budget

Show of hands who doesn't want to go to New York?! Yeah, I thought so. An opportunity to see the sights and sounds of the city that you only see in movies and tv shows does not come very often, if at all. So when the company I work with rewarded us with a trip to LA and San Francisco, my wife and I didn't hesitate to fly to New York for an extended trip!
The City That Never Sleeps (view from Top of the Rock)
Travelling to the US is very expensive by Philippine standards! Like a Big Mac meal which is less than Php200 here is around Php500 in the US! Planning would be crucial to cut on costs. First on the list is the flight from San Francisco to New York.

There are a lot of flights from SFO to NY to choose from. But thanks to the ThankYou Rewards website of Citibank, we were able to check which flights we can get using my credit card miles. We got the Delta 412 flight leaving SFO 8:40AM and arriving at JFK 5:15PM. While we got this flight for free using miles, checking the Delta App on my phone shows a USD214.20 per person receipt. That's Php21,000 savings! There are cheaper flights but these are the flights that are scheduled in the wee hours of the night.
Next up, accommodation.

I've had a good experience with Agoda since I started to travel internationally but they seem quite expensive when it comes to US cities. I may be wrong here. But even with other online booking sites, It's quite difficult to get a cheap room in NYC. Of course rooms in Brooklyn or Queens are cheaper but they are still expensive for us plus the fact that the travel time would eat a lot of our itinerary. The cheapest we found is a Php12,000 room with shared bathroom. That's the time we decided to go AirBnB instead.

More and more people are now going the AirBnB route. While we bookmarked a lot of potential hosts, by the time we decided it's time to book, the rooms were no longer available. We were lucky to find a room with a private bathroom barely a month before our trip. Even better, the place was only a few blocks away from Times Square and subway stations.

Total for our four nights stay was Php28,000 (Php7,000 a night) but again, thanks to Citibank, we got Php1,800 off!

Expenses before the trip: Php26,200

PAL flights to New York are around Php55,000 roundtrip. There are other cheaper flights with better service, just google it!

Now let's see the city that never sleeps!

No comments: