Wednesday 26 July 2017

The cheapest time to visit New York? It's closer than you think...

Travel Insider

Winter in Central Park, New York City. Photo: Getty
Winter in Central Park, New York City. Photo: Getty
Winter in Central Park. Photo: Getty
Central Park covered in snow. Photo: Getty/Ferran Traite Soler
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Winter is a chilly, but it can also be the cheapest time to visit New York City, says our Travel Editor. Wrap up!

There’s nowhere like New York for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Think of ice-skating in Central Park, the glittering ball drop (complete with 2,688 Waterford crystals, no less) in Times Square, or New York City Ballet’s take on The Nutcracker. The iconic images just keep on coming.

It’s not cheap, mind you. Splurging in New York can be sensational, as Katie Byrne outlines in our recent Big Apple Blow-out special, but a strong dollar means Christmas shopping isn’t as enticing a draw as it once was for Irish visitors.

You can of course nab deals in the sales (particularly on American brands), and that's one of the reasons we asked Thomas Breathnach to share his tips for New York on a budget - squeezing the most out of your euro/dollar exchange.

But the real trick is to travel in January or February.

Central Park covered in snow. Photo: Getty/Ferran Traite Soler
Central Park covered in snow. Photo: Getty/Ferran Traite Soler

Yes, January can be super-cold (you really do need to bring hats, boots and thermals). But post-holiday airfares and hotel rates are cheaper, Manhattan is still decked out in its Christmas finery, and the stores are crawling with sales.

Visitors can get a 10pc discount at Macy’s with its Visitor Savings Card (visitmacysusa.com/visitor-savings-pass), it’s easier to get tickets for Broadway shows, and New York Restaurant Week (nycgo.com/restaurant-week) offers cut-price, three-course lunch and dinner menus from January 23 to February 10.

January also brings the inauguration of Donald Trump as US President, although tour operators tell me his shock win has had little effect on Irish visits so far.

NYC Travel Deals

Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) recently introduced flights to Newark as well as JFK - keep an eye on its website for flight sales.

American Holidays (americanholidays.com) has flights plus three nights’ B&B at the Hotel Metro from €629pp in January.

Tour America (touramerica.ie) has flights plus three nights at the four-star Fitzpatrick Manhattan Hotel from €749pp departing January 9.

For departures in January, meanwhile, GoHop.ie had flights plus two nights at three-star accommodation from €610pp going to press.

NB: Prices subject to availability.

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