Travel can take many forms, with a destination rarely experienced the same by different travellers. New York is one of the best for a diverse and unique holiday, home to a wealth of fascinating experiences no matter your budget.
We asked two expert Flight Centre consultants to design two very different itineraries for the United States. From budget-savvy ideas to a luxurious escape, it's time to get inspired.
For The Budget Savvy
New York is a famously expensive city, but our travel expert finds the wallet-friendly options for city views, walks, authentic NYC meals and well-located accommodation.
I was a student when I first travelled to New York, so I quickly realised I needed to find a cheaper way of enjoying my favourite place in the whole world ... and it was easier than I expected. First of all, there’s heaps of fun stuff to do that’s completely free.
The High Line in Chelsea is an old disused above-ground section of a rail line, which is now used as a park. Nestled in the heart of the trendy Meatpacking District, it’s a stunning boardwalk that offers spectacular views of the whole of Manhattan and the Hudson River, plus it’s lined with coffee shops and artworks.
Times Square is always free and buzzing with vibrant energy. You can get photos with the people dressed as movie characters walking around (tipping them is not obligatory). Then walk from Times Square to Central Park, where you can walk around all day and not get bored.
If you get peckish, stop by a hot dog stand and grab a $2 snack, or even stop by Crave, which has the best New York pizza, salads and wraps and is really cheap.
Tipping is always 10-15 per cent of the total bill and only expected if you sit down to eat. Take-away places don’t expect it so stick to take-away pizza in your hostel room or a park and you’ve got New York City on a shoestring sorted!
Everyone knows Manhattan itself is not exactly budget-friendly, but you don’t need to stay right in the thick of it to have an amazing experience.
I would recommend staying in Harlem, Brooklyn or Long Island. The YMCA Harlem is a hostel popular with youngsters and it's cheap by Manhattan standards. It’s situated right near four subway lines and attractions like the Apollo Theater and the 125th street shopping district.
Super 8 Long Island City
Super 8 Long Island City is another good choice for those on a budget. The location is a little further out, but you can easily jump on the subway and make your way into Manhattan every day.
For The Luxury Lover
If you can, live it up in one of the most exciting cities in the world. Enjoy fine food and epic views, not to mention first-class accommodation.
The best way to see New York is from above, so a helicopter tour is a must for any luxury itinerary. Take off over the city and fly right past sights such as Yankee Stadium, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and more.
Experience the thrill of flying straight up the Hudson River and watch the city expand before your eyes. Think about the amazing photo opportunities and getting to see something even most New Yorkers haven’t seen: the whole city laid out in front of you.
This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime ride and you can even book a tour with champagne for an added touch of opulence.
Want to experience the best food in New York but don’t know where to start? Take an artisan food tour. This is something you can go on again and again because the restaurants and food tastings change with every trip.
On any given tour you may sample Neapolitan pizza, Greek spinach pie or Jewish knishes! Follow your tour guide around the Lower East Side and not only will you experience the best food, but also the best art galleries and local landmarks.
The Pearl is in the perfect location, just a few steps from Times Square, but inside your spacious deluxe room the hustle and bustle of the city disappears.
World-class amenities and daily complimentary touches like the continental breakfast, Wi-Fi, and wine and cheese tastings will make your stay memorable.
If you feel like really treating yourself, upgrade to an opulent balcony room and really immerse yourself in the city that never sleeps.
The Upper East Side is known for the rich and famous inhabitants of the beautiful apartments overlooking Central Par. Staying at the Surrey Hotel will make you feel like you are one of them.
The hidden gem of this beautiful hotel is the rooftop bar and garden with panoramic views of Manhattan alongside light meals and signature cocktails.
Sit back and relax as you take in the New York atmosphere with seasonal lemonade and a view of Central Park.