New Year, New York

I’m normally one for going east rather than west, but every now and again I get the urge to hunt down a bargain in New York. I’m normally defeated – nightly rates for decent hotels effortlessly exceed £200 – but once in a while I stumble across some budget flights and hotel deals, and here lies an absolutely stunning deal for March 2017. February and March tend to be the cheapest months to visit if you’re not bothered by the cold, and there are even some great deals to be had once you hit the Big Apple. NYC Restaurant Week (when restaurants offer special fixed-price affordable menus) usually falls in February, and you could also catch Broadway Week during the end of January and beginning of February, when 2 for 1 tickets are up for grabs.

The Flights

Norwegian Air are currently offering the cheapest flights during February and March, from London Gatwick to John F Kennedy, and they just so happen to be direct too! At present, the lowest price is £273 return, which is their ‘LowFare’. NB: this doesn’t include checked luggage or in-flight meals, and for these, ahem, “perks” you have to shell out an extra £100 per person. One way round this is to stick with the £273 LowFare, stock up on food to take on board at the airport, and if you want more than the 10kg carry-on allowance, pay separately for one piece of checked baggage. This should be £50 for one 20kg bag, and combined with the carry-on should provide just enough luggage allowance for two people on a six day trip. (If it’s tight, just do what I did when I went to Norway, and wear every single item of clothing you own as many clothes as possible on the plane).This brings the price up to £298 per person, which for direct return flights from London to JFK, isn’t too shabby.

For this example March trip I’ve gone with Thursday 9th – Tuesday 14th, which gives you a nice long weekend in NYC, and with decent flight times. Hopefully the mercury will also have climbed out of the minus figures by then too. You can find this itinerary on Norwegian Air here, but have a play around with their low fare calendar if you fancy different dates.


The accommodation

I often see deals to New York which initially look quite promising, until I get to the accommodation. Ideally, I want to be as close to the action and in as nice a hotel or apartment that I can find, not stuck somewhere out in Brooklyn in a hostel (although if that’s your thing then fair play to you my friend). That astronomical Manhattan price tag also makes accommodation choices difficult. Therefore, the following two hotels are excellent options that have great deals for our selected dates in March but that are also, crucially, well-located and well-reviewed by fellow travellers.

Cambria Hotels & Suites

Wow. Just, wow. This modern, boutique hotel in Chelsea’s Flower District is perfectly positioned for exploring Midtown and the rest of Manhattan, with the Empire State Building a hop, skip and a jump round the corner no less. Other major attractions such as Times Square, the Rockefeller Centre, Madison Square Garden and Bryant Park are within equally easy reach. The hotel itself features a beautiful roof terrace, free wifi and even a gym, in case you still have energy to burn after a long day of sight-seeing (or perhaps calories to burn after a long day of eating). The fact that it has a rating of 4.5/5 on Tripadvisor and is currently No.56 out of 479 hotels in New York might also help to convince you that this is a superb option. The cost? £126 per night including taxes, meaning that a five-day, long-weekend trip to NYC for two – with direct return flights – could be yours for the princely sum of £588 per person! Book directly with the hotel at least two weeks before to take advantage of their Advance Purchase rate.


The Lex, NYC

Staying with affordable boutique hotels, you might also want to check out The Lex, in Manhattan’s NoMad neighbourhood and, unsurprisingly on Lexington Avenue – again, perfectly placed for visiting Midtown and beyond. Slick, hip and very reasonably priced, The Lex is all about providing plush accommodation for budget-conscious visitors to the city. A double room here will only set you back £158 a night (including taxes) and even comes with a complimentary Continental breakfast to set you up for the day. Booking directly with The Lex ensures the best price as, like Cambria, they have a special Advance Purchase rate.

Disclaimer: Travel Realist accepts no responsibility or liability in relation to the above travel and accommodation suggestions, and no payment has been received for these recommendations. All prices and information correct at time of writing.

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