When you decide to visit The Big Apple, excitement most likely abounds – until you try to figure out where to stay in New York City. Manhattan? Queens? The Bronx? Brooklyn? Staten Island? If you’re a bit overwhelmed, here are three criteria to consider to help you find accommodations in NYC.
Type of Accommodations
If you don’t split hairs, there are only two general types of places to stay in New York City:
- Hotel – restaurant onsite or nearby; daily housekeeping; 24/7 front desk staff to answer questions or assist with situations
- Apartment – kitchen; usually more spacious than a hotel room
Which type do you prefer, or are you open to either?
What exactly do you want to see or experience in New York City? Do you want to be able to walk to these places or take public transportation (subway or bus) or rely on taxis or rideshare? If you have no idea where any of the sites are, consider using the “Your Places” menu option when you’re logged into Google Maps so that you can see these spots plotted on a map.
Prepare to spend more on accommodations in New York than in most places you’ve visited. If you’re not on a budget, you can stick to the first two criteria. If budget is a concern, you’ll want to consider if it’s better for you to stay in a less expensive borough and make longer commutes to and from your activities, or pay a little more but spend more time seeing New York than commuting.
If you don’t need to write about travel tips or give advice to clients, you can simply spend 15 minutes doing a search of options and quickly make a choice based on posted reviews. If you want to dive a little deeper or have specific tastes or needs, read on about the more detailed search process you can use.
Where to Stay in New York City: A How-To Example
I’m a research nut and a travel junkie, so I could easily spend weeks obsessing over and researching where to stay in New York City. Knowing that I shouldn’t spend that much time on the process, I set a timer for myself and worked on this project a little each day over one week.
30 minutes – We looked up famous NYC landmarks and narrowed down our Top 10.
30 minutes – We plotted our Top 10 sites on Google Maps, looked up commute times, and adjusted our Top 10 sites based on geographic location.
15 minutes – I Googled both hotels and vacation apartment rentals in New York City and quickly discovered that if we stayed in Manhattan with a shorter commute time to our Top 10 sites, we’d pay more for accommodations than we ever have (including apartments and hotels in Madrid, Paris and London) for a smaller space and fewer amenities.
15 minutes – Based on information from the previous step, we decided that an apartment would be better for our situation so that we’d have a kitchen to store breakfast supplies, snacks and a bottle of digestif, which would lessen the budget hit of the higher-than-anticipated accommodation costs. We also decided to stay in Manhattan versus a less expensive borough because we’d save nearly an hour of commute time per day, plus we’d be within walking distance of Central Park, a place we wanted to roam through daily.
30 minutes – Using VRBO.com, we filtered offerings to locations in Manhattan between $125 and $400 per night. I knew that anything less than the low end (by NYC prices) would probably be time wasted on examining a less-than-desirable facility. I set the filter above our budget in case I found a more expensive place that would offer negotiated pricing since we’d be staying for five nights. Being a nerd, I compiled my research into a spreadsheet here.
In the end, we chose our apartment (the lavender line on the spreadsheet) based on:
*safe residential area
*proximity to Central Park and The Met
*higher floor away from street noise
*subway within walking distance
*grocery store, bagel shop and restaurants around the corner
Spending two hours finding this place was definitely worth it. Having accommodations that fit our needs was a part of why we enjoyed our stay in NYC so much.
If you’re scratching your head and wondering, “Why all of these travel-related blogs in a time management blog?”, the answer is simple. Getting away from it all allows our bodies and brains to take a break. Going on a vacation – no matter how long and no matter where – will do wonders for your productivity. But sometimes properly planning for the type of vacation that lowers your stress levels (and doesn’t add to it) can take a lot of time. To save you time and stress, I’m sharing my travel tips with you.
For more travel tips as well as a how-to guide to leave work behind, be sure to check out The Great Escape: A Vacation Planner for Busy People Who Want to Take a Real Break from Work & Life.