One thing that has seemed certain over the years is that accommodation in Manhattan always feels overpriced. Well, as part of a wonderful vacation you can certainly justify paying big money for a tiny room with no view, so it’s not like everything feels like you are being ripped off. It’s more just that compared to any other city in the country, New York is crazy expensive and most of the cheaper places just aren’t all that nice.
That even extended to NY hostels, as even a single bed in a crowded dorm in this city would normally go for over $40 per night, and often over $50 per night. That trend seems to have ended recently, as I’m now seeing quite a few hostels in Manhattan that are listing beds for around $28 per night, including tax.
Hostels vs. hotels in NYC
Especially if there are two or three people traveling together, even a hostel bed at $28 doesn’t sound like a great deal, since a double room in a cheap hotel would seem to only cost a bit more, but this is NYC, and hotels with good locations usually start well north of $100. Finding a cheap hotel in New York isn’t easy either, since the bottom of the listing is almost always dominated by hotels actually located in cities that are nowhere near Manhattan.
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I just had to go through almost 40 of the cheapest hotels on one site, until I found one actually located in Manhattan. In this case it’s the Morningside Inn, near Columbia University on the Upper West Side, with rooms starting at $91 per night including tax. It’s hard to trust the cheapest hotel in any given city, as you have to wonder what about the place puts them at the absolute bottom of the range. Fortunately, with these hostels, there are about 5 or 6 that are around $28 per night, so that gives us confidence that this is more about competition for fewer travelers than about needing to appeal to the absolute cheapest people out there.
As for hostels, these must all be fairly new to the scene, but they all have decent locations. There’s the West Side Inn and Hostel, the Candy Hostel, the Hostel Lollipop (no joke), the West End Studios and Hostel, and the Widget Hostel, all in that same price range. It does appear that all the new hostels on the market have led to a moderation of dorm bed prices, so the cheapskate tourist wins again this year.
Getting here cheaply
It’s not just to New York but pretty much to anywhere these days, finding cheap flights is quite easy. You can fly from across the US for under $300 roundtrip and from London for not much more. The only thing to worry about these days is that most international flights are starting to charge up to $50 for the second piece of luggage you check, but backpackers and cheapos everywhere already know that if you need to check more than one bag, you are almost bringing too much anyway.