~ I recently found an online article titled Cheap Tricks For A Great Trip by Herald Sun writer, Donna Coutts, worth reading, and thought I’d add my own observations to some of her tips.
In her article, Donna writes:
“BAD accommodation is a waste of money, no matter how cheap.”
However, cheap accommodation need not necessarily be bad. I spent eight weeks in New York City during March-April, 2008. My total accommodation costs during this time were under AU$2,500. That’s right, under $2,500.
So how did I do it? I stayed at the YMCA.
Yes, you can laugh, but I reckon I’ve had the last laugh – because, for under $300 a week I spent eight weeks in one of the most exciting, vibrant, and amazing cities in the world. When you think, that some people happily spend $300 a night for a bed in New York, my costs seem miniscule by comparison.
Ok, I admit the accommodations at the ‘Y’ are not luxurious, but if I was looking for luxurious accommodations, I would have had to quadruple my budget, not just double it. And even that might not have been enough.
There are several YMCAs around New York City that offer accommodations, and to my knowledge they are all open to males and females, so if you are female, don’t assume you can’t stay at the 'Y'. Some are cheaper than others, and all offer peak and off peak rates. Since membership comes as part of your sign up costs, you are also free to use the facilities that each 'Y' has, which may include a gymnasium, swimming pool, computer lab, and much more.
For around $30 a night you get a room to yourself (no dormitory style accommodation here), clean sheets and shared bathroom facilities. The YMCA in Greenpoint, Brooklyn even provides you with a voucher which you can use at the Manhattan 3 Decker Restaurant just down the road (see image illustrating this entry). Here you can choose anything off the breakfast menu for FREE! Yes, you read it correctly – Free. Given some of the items on the breakfast menu could set you back over $5.00, the 'Y' in Greenpoint is definitely my top choice for budget accommodation in New York City.
Donna also writes that a visit to Trip Advisor is essential.
I agree, that Trip Advisor is a good place to start your research, in fact I have posted reviews on the site myself. However, you must read as many reviews as possible before making up your own mind, and try and base your decision on the most recent reviews, not those more than a year old. Things change all the time in the travel industry, and a bad review posted in 2007 may have no bearing on the state of a hotel or attraction in 2009.
I will return to Donna’s article in future posts. If you have your own tips regarding accommodation, please feel free to add them here.