A few months ago I saw something on Pinterest that said the cheapest time to book airline tickets is Tuesday at 3pm, 6 weeks before your departure date. I decided to put this to the test when we booked flights to NYC. I checked flight pricing once a week leading up to 6 weeks prior to departure, and here is what I found:
- 9 weeks prior: Flights were between $350-400 and most flights had at least one layover. The cheapest flights landed at Newark or Laguardia, not JFK.
- 8 weeks prior: Flights were right around the same as week 9.
- 7 weeks prior: Flights got a little more expensive – most were listed between $400-$500, and most included a layover.
- 6 weeks prior: I must admit I was really nervous at this point; I was starting to think that we should have just booked the tickets when they were $350. But that Tuesday, fate smiled down upon us. We got online and hit the jackpot! We found roundtrip tickets for $312 (including tax) on a direct flight with Delta (one of my personal favorite airlines) from SLC-JFK. We booked the tickets and didn’t look back.
I am going to keep researching this little trick to make sure this wasn’t just a stroke of luck, so I will be sure to update with my findings!
After we had the plane tickets (which were non-refundable), we needed to find a place to stay – you know, just a minor detail. But it turned out to be a lot harder than I was thinking it would be.
It turns out that hotels in Manhattan are EXPENSIVE! All the places we were looking at were either way out of our price range or in a sketchy part of the city. I spent hours doing price comparisons. We did find a lot of good options through Airbnb, but most of them weren’t in a convenient area. Lots of them were in Brooklyn, which was a little farther out than we wanted to be. It didn’t help that it was a holiday weekend and demand was high.
Then one lovely afternoon, I read a blog post about a hotel called Pod 51. There are two Pod hotels in Manhattan (Pod 39 and Pod 51), located on 39th Street and 51st Street. We ended up booking a room at Pod 39 because it was the best option we had seen and we were down to crunch time. (We booked about 3 weeks before we arrived, which was giving me a minor panic attack!) It is located in Midtown Manhattan and was so close to everything!
They have a lot of different room size/options available. Because there were just two of us and we wanted the cheapest thing we could find, we booked the “Mini-Bunk” room, with “mini” being the keyword there. When we checked in and walked into the room, we both just started laughing. My closet at home is literally the same size as the room. BUT despite the cramped quarters, we had a clean place to sleep and our own bathroom. Some of the other rooms shared a bathroom.
We fondly referred to it as our “closet” for the rest of the trip. But honestly, I loved it. It really gave us a true New York experience! Overall, Pod 39 reminded me of a boutique hostel that I stayed at while in Paris last fall. It was a clean place to rest our heads, plus it was only a 5-minute walk to Grand Central Station, and from there we could get just about anywhere!
The staff was really great. I received a lot of email correspondence prior to arriving and the check-in/check-out process was a breeze!
When we arrived at JFK, we took the subway to get to our hotel. This was surprisingly easy and WAY cheaper than taking a cab. You can get on a shuttle right at the airport that takes you to the Jamaica Station, where you can switch to the subway.
It costs about $4.00 to ride the transit from the airport (you pay at the end of the ride when you get to the Jamaica stop). You can also buy a MetroCard here. The MetroCard was one of the best investments we made. It cost about $30.00 and we could ride the subway as much as we wanted for 7 days; we were only there for 5 days, but it was definitely worth it. We were able to get everywhere we needed to go on the subway!
We decided that instead of taking the subway back to the airport (which would have been fine, but we just didn’t want to haul all of our stuff through the subway) we would just take a cab. It turned out that Pod 39 offered a car service. It was $65 for a ride to JFK for up to 3 people. We decided that $33 bucks each was worth it.
After checking out, we walked outside to find a limo waiting for us! We were dying of excitement. My first limo ride was the perfect way to end the perfect New York vacation!
Written by Kaycie Jordan.
*All photos in this blog article are taken by and property of Kaycie Jordan.