Frugal New York City Vacation - My Family Travels

Cheap, thrifty, economical and prudent are all accurate descriptions of my mom’s spending habits. However, she prefers the word frugal. She clips coupons and shops the “manager’s special” section at the grocery store. She builds her wardrobe by going to 50% off Saturdays at Goodwill and takes advantage of free days at local attractions in Indianapolis.

When mom announced we were going to NYC for spring break 2018, I thought she hit the lottery! Everyone knows that spending a whole week in New York city can be super expensive. Fortunately, my mom’s frugal habits work just as good on the east coast as they do in the Midwest.

A representative from Enterprise Rental Car picked us up early Monday morning. He mentioned that we got a great deal on the SUV. “Coupons are awesome” mom responded.

We hit the road with our cooler full of homemade goodies and anxiously anticipated seeing the sign that said “Welcome to New York.” But New York is not where we ended up. We pulled up to The Villas at Treetops in the Pocono Mountains. Mom said she got a great deal. Her friend had an RCA account with points that were expiring soon so she gifted the points to us. What she paid for 1 week there was the equivalent of what she would have paid for one night at the hotel in NYC. Mom was excited because we were only 75 min from anywhere we wanted to go.

The villa was beautiful! We had a great view of the mountains from the balcony. It was so spacious and felt more like a home than hotel. Mom even went grocery shopping and cooked breakfast and dinner every day. We ate out for lunch tasting something new daily!

Day 2 we caught the Staten Island Ferry to Battery Park. We saw the Statue of Liberty, visited Castle Clinton, Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian, and Ground Zero. We also got pictures with the Raging Bull and the Immigrant’s Sculpture. This was all free and within walking distance. We learned a lot and had so much fun!

Day 3 we ventured to the Bronx and visited the Art Museum there (free admission). The Bronx Zoo was free too but we slept in and got there too late. Then we came back to the villa and watched movies.

Day 4 took us to Philadelphia! We visited the US Mint, Liberty Bell Center, Franklin Square, the President’s House and Carpenter Hall. More learning and more free fun!

On day 5 we visited the New York Aquarium, Luna Park and Coney Island. We did spend money to ride the attractions at Luna Park but enjoying the boardwalk and playing on the beach was absolutely free along with our visit to the aquarium.

On day 6 we went to the Big Apple. We went across the Brooklyn Bridge, visited the M&M store and the Hershey Store. This was the day we actually spent money on souvenirs and really expensive food.

We drove home on day 7. We talked about all the places we went and how much fun we had. Mom was excited because she spent less than $1,000 for the whole vacation (hotel, rental car, gas, food and tolls). She showed us it is totally possible to be frugal in NYC.

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