5 Do's and Don'ts for Getting Around NYC on a Budget

By Randy Lai - NextGenVest Director - NYU

*You’re an NYU student, not a tourist. So act like it and follow these key Do’s and Don’ts for being able to get around in the city without going flat broke in two weeks. *


Do: Learn Your Streets and Avenues

Manhattan itself is home to over 1.6 million people, and adjusting to such a busy environment could be daunting. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the location of famous landmarks, such as the Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden; they’ll serve as good reference points one day. Remember: avenues get bigger down to up, and streets get bigger right to left! Check out apps like Hop

Do: Use your Phone, especially for HopStop

Your cell phone is the greatest tool to navigate the concrete jungle with. Download free apps like Google Maps to find addresses and different places. Use HopStop Transit to see which subway entrances and routes are near you. Life tip: make sure you conserve power throughout the day to use your phone!

*Do: Learn to love walking with MapMyWalk  *

Let’s face it, you’re a college student in New York City, the walking capital of the world; walking will be your main form of transportation. From running to class, to meeting up with friends, you’ll need to be very comfortable walking. After all, you probably expected to walk a lot by going to school in the city! Buy weather-appropriate footwear and make sure they’re comfortable.

Do: Look up Events that will Cause Traffic, Try TimeOut New York

Plan your day with the weather and important current events in mind. Parades and major events, like the Pope’s visit, always take place in New York City; it’s one of the great perks of living in the city. Checking the weather and knowing about these occasions can let you plan out your next day even better.

Don’t pay for a taxi, Try Uber Pooling or Lyft Rideshare

*The infamous yellow New York City taxi is one of the costliest ways to travel. Instead, stick to the subway or bus. They’re much cheaper and usually have a set schedule so you know exactly where one is at all times. Uber and Lyft are also not cheap, but they are introducing new pooling services that can run you much less. Try them out. There’s also a university bus shuttle system that could drop you off at any NYU location, free of charge for NYU students.    *

Don’t Walk or Go out Alone, Use Companion App

No matter how late or how early you’re out, ask a buddy to go travel with you. Even if you’re familiar with the streets and locations, having a friend with you allows you to be less of a target. Otherwise you will waste money on taking a cab if you are by yourself. Plus, you’ll never know which celebrity you and your buddies run into!

Don’t Buy Unnecessary Things in Transit

As a college student, especially in Manhattan, you already know you’ll be spending a lot of money. One important rule is to avoid buying unnecessary things at places you randomly pass. Trust me, I’ve been tempted to buy those I love NYC t-shirts too. If you’re frugally successful, you’ll definitely be able to ball on a budget! Besides they are only for tourists anyway.

Randy Lai is a current freshman at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He will be part of the NYU NextGenVest grand opening. Make sure you check out NextGenVest.com/NYU for more information!

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