Eat, Sleep and Socialize with $0 in NYC 

By: Jonquil Jardine

Survive on $0 a day in New York City

Travelling is supposed to be fun, stress-free and insightful, why break the bank? Explore the Big Apple with $0 in your wallet. Challenge Accepted? 


Accommodation tends to be the most expensive part of travelling. Hotels know that people need somewhere to sleep therefore they increase their prices especially during high seasons. Fortunately, there are alternatives including asking someone you personally know to host you. If this is not an option, might be. connect travellers with people that are willing on sharing their space. This might include a bunk bed in a shared space or even an entire bedroom to yourself. Couchsurfing’s main goal is connecting people. But couchsurfing might not be for everyone therefore another alternative is volunteering at a hostel for accommodation in return. The hostel may ask for you to clean, help with front desk tasks or conduct tours. 


You can’t go wrong with cheap eats. New York City is known for its top restaurants along with $1 pizza slices which can be found at every corner. Thanks to the rise of phone apps, restaurants offer free items on their menu for simply signing up. Various restaurants including,  Panara Bread, Krispy Kreme and Quiznos offer free food for simply adding the app to your phone. If you want something a bit more interesting you can take part in food challenges where you eat hot wings for free. This is by far, the most fun way to get free food. For those seeking more social interactions, religious groups have gatherings/festivals where free food is involved. 


Broadway, ballet and comedy shows are known in NYC especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Although these shows are spectacular, they come with a price. For those seeking entertainment free of charge, look no further. Dancers, magicians and singers can be found all over New York especially in big areas such as Times Square. You can enjoy their performance free of charge while supporting local talent. Meanwhile art musuems such as The MET and Moma offer pay-what-you can and free entry on certain nights. Moma doesn’t advertise their pay what-you-can option online but I was notified of that option after I paid for entry. It is definitely a place to visit, why not visit free of charge? Lastly, art and culture make up NYC therefore there’s free festivals that occur almost every weekend. It’s your opportunity to learn about another culture without breaking the bank. 


 New York City is known as the concrete jungle. There are buildings where ever you turn your head. Luckily, you can find shops/restaurants/pharmacies at every corner. That being said, you can walk to most places. Whenever I visit New York (which is often) I tend to walk to my destination opposed to driving or taking the subway. New York City is a stunning place to visit, you really get to appreciate its beauty especially when walking. Unlike the subway or Uber, walking is free. Free with a priceless view. 

Travelling is fun, eye opening and good for you. At the same time, there’s so much out there for you to discover. Don’t place limitations on yourself. Most importantly, don’t isolate yourself due to fear or money. Go explore and apply one or more of these options. The possibilities are endless. 

Photo by: Jonquil Jardine

Photo by: Jonquil Jardine