Money and Costs
Budget: Less than $200
- Dorm bed: $40–70
- Slice of pizza: around $4
- Food-truck taco: from $3
- Happy hour glass of wine: $10
- Bus or subway ride: $3
- Double room in a midrange hotel: from around $200
- Empire State Building dual observatories ticket: $58
- Dinner for two at a midrange eatery: $150
- Craft cocktail at a lounge: $15–19
- Discount TKTS ticket to a Broadway show: $80
Top end: More than $500
- Luxury stay at the NoMad Hotel: $400–850
- Tasting menu at a top-end restaurant: $90–315
- A 1½-hour massage at the Great Jones Spa: $200
- Metropolitan Opera orchestra seats: $100–390
US dollar (US$)
ATMs widely available; credit cards accepted at most hotels, stores and restaurants. Farmers markets, food trucks and some restaurants and bars are cash-only.
ATMs are on practically every corner. You can either use your card at banks – usually in a 24-hour-access lobby, filled with up to a dozen monitors at major branches – or you can opt for the lone wolves, which sit in delis, restaurants, bars and grocery stores, charging fierce service fees that average $3 but can go as high as $5.
Most New York banks are linked by the New York Cash Exchange (NYCE) system, and you can use local bank cards interchangeably at ATMs – for an extra fee if you’re banking outside your system.
Banks and money changers, found all over New York City (including all three major airports), will give you US currency based on the current exchange rate. Travelex has a branch in Times Square.
Major credit cards are accepted at most hotels, restaurants and shops throughout New York City. In fact, you’ll find it difficult to perform certain transactions, such as purchasing tickets to performances and renting a car, without one.
Stack your deck with a Visa, MasterCard or American Express, as these are the cards of choice here. Places that accept Visa and MasterCard also accept debit cards. Be sure to check with your bank to confirm that your debit card will be accepted in other states or countries – debit cards from large commercial banks can often be used worldwide.
If your cards are lost or stolen, contact the company immediately.
Tipping is not optional; only withhold tips in cases of outrageously bad service.
- Restaurant servers 18–20%, unless a gratuity is already charged on the bill (usually only for groups of five or more)
- Bartenders 15–20% per round, minimum per drink $1 for standard drinks, and $2 per specialty cocktail
- Taxi drivers 10–15%, rounded up to the next dollar
- Airport & hotel porters $2 per bag, minimum per cart $5
- Hotel maids $2–4 per night, left in envelope or under the card provided
Some of New York's cafes and shops are going cashless, meaning that you could be forced to pay with an international debit or credit card (and be charged for the pleasure).