Are you planning a trip to New York City soon?
New York is one of the best U.S. cities to visit in the fall. It’s also an incredibly popular destination to visit in November and December during the holiday season, as visitors flock from around the world to enjoy New York’s over-the-top celebration of Christmas.
As an NYC native, here are my top tips for your upcoming trip to the city to help you save money, experience more, and have a great time.
1. Stay In A Hotel, Not An Airbnb
Short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO are not the best ideas for travelers visiting New York. A new law banning many short-term rentals in the city will further limit your options.
Unlike some cities where Airbnb is cheaper than hotels, the prices are comparable in New York.
Rather than looking for an apartment rental on Airbnb or VRBO, use a platform like Booking.com instead to find a hotel. Not only will you find comparable prices, but you will also find a better selection.
These are some of the best hotels in New York for this fall.
2. Use Airbnb For Experiences
While Airbnb is not the best option for booking accommodation in New York, it is a surprisingly good option for booking unique tours and activities.
Airbnb Experiences is a lesser-known function that allows you to book tours and activities with local guides. From private photo shoots to food tours to bar crawls to unique themed walking tours, you can find all kinds of things to do on Airbnb Experiences.
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These types of experiences are much better than sitting on a crowded tour bus watching the sights go by while listening to a pre-recorded audio guide, and they are usually more affordable to book than going with a major tour company.
3. Don’t Be Intimidated By Public Transportation
Many first-time visitors to New York are intimidated by the thought of taking public transportation. Recently, you may have also heard news stories about how the New York subway is dangerous.
However, taking the subway in New York is perfectly safe and something you should definitely do during your trip!
While the cost of a trip on the subway did just go up from $2.75 to $2.90, it’s still much cheaper than the cost of taking a taxi or an Uber.
If you’ll be in New York for more than a few days, it may also make sense to buy an unlimited 7-day MetroCard for $34. This will pay for itself if you take more than 12 rides on the subway (or buses.)
4. Strategize To Beat The Crowds
Fall is a great time to visit New York City. The summer tourist season is over, but the busy holiday season hasn’t yet begun.
Late September and October in New York offer great weather, beautiful fall foliage, lower crowds, and lower prices.
If you do want to plan that bucket-list Christmas in New York trip, aim for traveling at off-peak times.
The week after Thanksgiving and the first week of December is best for avoiding crowds. It’s also a good idea to travel on weekdays as much as you can because the city gets extremely crowded with local visitors on weekends during the holiday season.
5. Don’t Underestimate Free Activities
Yes, New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world. And while it’s worth paying for some pricy activities (for example, Broadway show tickets or tickets to the Top of the Rock observation deck) especially if it’s your first time in New York, there are also plenty of free things to do.
Strolling around Central Park, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, riding the Staten Island Ferry, or visiting free museums are some great things to do in New York without spending a dime.
Some museums are always free, while others have specific days of the week or month with free admission, so be sure to take advantage of that.
Here are even more free activities in NYC to check out.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com