New York City: The Answer to all Your Student Budgeting Holiday Nightmares

Tired of constantly searching for flights to a place far away? Look no further than taking a bite out of the Big Apple this Easter, writes Dylan O’Neill

For students, going away can be an especially hard trip to plan. Sure, there’s the short-haul trips to Manchester, Leeds or Edinburgh that won’t cost a dime but what about pining for a trip further away? New York, even on a student budget as I found last month, is a fairly feasible option if you wish to explore the city that never sleeps.

FLIGHTS — $214.00


A quick look over SkyScanner, a mobile app that compares the cheapest available flights across 1,200 travel agents, gave me plenty of post-Christmas options for January, February and March. For most of us, we’re all back hitting the books mid-late January so a flight to New York’s Stewart International Airport (2 hours north of NYC) only set me back $214 (roughly €185) with Norwegian Airlines last month for a four day venture (Jan 16-20) when I booked last October.

A bus in and out of the airport to the heart of New York City was another $20 each way. Still, $254 (€218ish) for a full trip to New York City for nearly four full days represents plenty of value. Especially, as the airline plan on doubling their number of trips to the Big Apple from April 26.


AirBnB – New York Avenue, Brooklyn – $25 per night.
Upon arrival, we gathered why the rate was so low. The surrounding area looked very run-down and desolate but save for this apartment block, sitting a mere ten minute walk away from Brooklyn’s famed Prospect Park.  For the two nights we were here we encountered very few problems, even with the apartment being shared by a resident who was never introduced to us.  As myself and my friend spent those two days touring Manhattan this was only ever going to be a place we rest our heads for a night or two. Still, for New York, that’s $50 well spent!

Row NYC — $80 each for two nights (before travelling)

For most, if you offer them the chance to stay at a hotel around the corner from Times Square for 40$-a-night most would balk at that incredible deal.
One can see why. After paying $80 each for two nights before arriving, once we got there further fees were applied (surprise, surprise). The most annoying of these was a $60 ‘facilities fee’ charge for gym, shower and breakfast services. Not an ideal situation to find yourself in but considering the hotel itself is a two-minute walk from the heart of Times Square, it didn’t deter myself and my two friends from considering staying there again. Everything apart from that slight hiccup was perfect, with the staff and hotel itself being of the highest quality.


Jimmy Fallon Show – 1iota ballot – FREE!


A quick snap from outside the taping. Sadly there were no snaps allowed inside once taping began.

With 15.5 million subscribers on Youtube, 4.2m followers on Instagram and a further four million on Twitter, it’s no surprise Jimmy Fallon is seen as one of the kingpins of late-night US television.

If you, like me, are a fan of Fallon’s work and would like to see a taping whilst in New York, 1iota has you covered. From sporting events to musical performances 1iota is your stop for all things entertainment related, from exclusive movie screenings to even late-night shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live! And The Late Late Show with James Corden (the latter two both LA-based).

The show itself lasts roughly from 5.00-6.30 pm, with warm-up comedian Seth Herzog constantly keeping the crowd entertained in the minutes leading up to Fallon and his house band the Roots taking to the stage.

Once Fallon entered he mesmerized in the way he so often comes across on TV. The conversation with guests ebbed and flowed and the Tonight Show host even took questions regarding the show from the crowd as the staff set up the stage for the musical guest — Fallon even voluntarily left a hilariously tongue-in-cheek voicemail on a fans phone purporting to be Alec Baldwin (it’s a long story), showcasing he is just as gregarious as he comes across on-screen.

For anyone interested in applying for a taping, and I’d 100% implore you to do so, you can register at this 1iota link for free ballot tickets. Opportunities to enter the ballot are released to the public near the start of every month so good luck!

NBA – Brooklyn Nets vs San Antonio Spurs – $33.


Three tickets to an NBA league game, all for under $100. Decent seats too.

Tickets for these games are surprisingly affordable, though this is in part to the lacking success of the Nets. Students with any sort of interest in American culture and sport should definitely check out the famed Barclays Center, where the Brooklyn Nets play their home fixtures. (Conversely, if you find yourself situated in Manhattan / Times Square, Madison Square Garden, a near 21,000 seater, plays hosts to the New York Knicks). Tickets for these games can often be found at similar prices on ticket-agent sites such as Ticketmaster, SeatGeek and VividSeats.

COMEDYComedy Cellar $15 admission (+ two drink minimum).

If you are a fan of comedy and / or are looking for something different to do whilst here look no further than one of New York’s most iconic comedy spots: The Comedy Cellar. This prestigious spot has played hosts to some of America’s finest ever comedic greats such as Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Ray Romano, Chris Rock and many, many more. Admission for most shows is also a modest $15 (+ a two drink minimum).

On the Thursday evening we found ourselves there, the $15 fee allowed us to enjoy the routines of five different comedians during a show that spilled well over the hour mark. Funnily enough, Des Bishop had a guest spot that evening and he was quick to slate us Dubs when we told him where we were holidaying from.



Among the comedians were several who have appeared on US chat shows and the last, Mo Amer, has recently toured the world with Dave Chappelle, as well as ironically finding himself on a flight with Eric Trump in 2016. (As a Muslim, you can imagine the field day Amer had with this – he even managed to squeeze it into his stage time that Thursday night).


“For many keen theatre-goers, Ellen’s presents the perfect opportunity to catch some of Broadway’s up-and-coming stars for a fraction of what you would normally pay to catch them on stage”

FOODEllen’s Stardust Diner$25-30 (breakfast).

For many keen theatre-goers, Ellen’s presents the perfect opportunity to catch some of Broadway’s up-and-coming stars for a fraction of what you would normally pay to catch them on stage.

Since the restaurants inception in 1987, this 50s themed diner has wowed tourists and locals with some of New York’s brightest young Broadway hopefuls – as waiters and waitresses – singing to the customers from a selection of past and current Broadway hits.



On our travels during a Wednesday afternoon, for example, myself and a friend were entertained to charming, energetic renditions of such classics such as Little Mermaid’s ‘Under the Sea’, Les Miserables ‘One Day More’, featuring a quartet of the staff, and a classic from Broadway’s second-longest serving show, Chicago.

The resident MC also discussed the success of the Broadway feeding ground in recent years and noted that (impressively) in each Broadway musical currently on across the city, each show had a past pupil from Ellen’s.

If musicals or theatre interest you even in the slightest, or if you’re interested in exploring a cheaper alternative than a full Broadway show, as well as for a bite to eat, this is certainly an option to explore.

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