Our 7 Days New York Itinerary and Expenses

Our 7 Days New York Itinerary and Expenses

How do you visit a big city like New York in a few days? Like for a week? Short as it may sound, but 7 days is more than enough for first timers like us.  Most of the attractions on our DIY itinerary are successfully crossed out despite my sickness. Yes, I got ill for about 2 days while in the city. Blame it with the cold and rainy weather. Well, some circumstances may happen out of control when traveling #StrugglesAreReal

It seems scary to visit an 18hour far country from UAE. Some may choose to pay the full package with a travel agency to lessen the stress of preparing a trip like what we did in Greece. But this time, we prefer to do everything on our own for simple reasons (1) we found happiness and fulfilment in preparing a DIY trip! (2) we have a limited budget that we can’t afford a package offered by agencies (3) the city transport system looks easy to navigate (4) and it’s fine to get lost as everyone speaks your language! 🙂

Here’s the day to day itinerary of our one week in New York. It’s going to be long as I will also be sharing the whole experience so be ready! :p

New York Itinerary Expenses One Week

Travel Dates:  April 30 to May 7, 2016

Day 1 – April 30

  • 18 Hours Journey Via British Airways, we travelled for 9 hours from Dubai to London (3 hours layover) then London to JFK for another 9 hours. It’s our first ever long haul flight and it’s super exhausting! Headaches, backaches, ALL kind of aches! Haha!
  • 3 Hours at JFK Airport wasted in the terminal as there are 2 queues from the plane (YES, from the PLANE DOOR) up to the main counter! Queues later on divided into like 6 when you reach a certain point.
  • 15-20 mins. AirTram Ride There was a free tram ride from the terminal up to the main station. At the main station, you need to buy a train card for $10.
  • 1 Hour Train Ride from Jamaica station to 86th Street station downtown where our hotel’s located. We transferred one time that we got the chance to buy a takeout dinner.
  • Summing it up, it’s a one day journey from Dubai to our place in New York!

DXB to NY faces and the hotel

Day 2 – May 1

  • Without caring about the jetlag and juggled body clock, on a sunny but cold weather on the first day of May we headed to our first stop: Columbus circle and eat breakfast at Wholefoods.
  • Then to Central Park and did all these cheesy things.
  • Lunch at Boathouse
  • Around 4pm we went to American Museum of Natural History AMNH to use our CityPass and watched a planet show in a big dome where I ended up almost sleeping :p
  • Went back to the hotel for a much needed nap (hello 9 hour time difference!)
  • Around 8pm we headed to Times Square to have McDonalds and of course, to take a lot of photos in this crowded busy square while freezing. I did a side shopping too as most of my clothes I brought are not enough for the 5-8 degrees weather 🙁 When I checked accuweather.com, it’s around 12 – 17 degrees only.

Central Park

Day 3 – May 2

  • Gloomy weather started and few rains occurred on this day 🙁 and it was super cold! But it didn’t stop us from visiting – Rockefeller Center (to upgrade our ticket), St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Grand Central Terminal and NY Public Library. We had Mcdo (3rd time!haha) for breakfast, lunch at the terminal, dinner at Café Habana.
  • All the places we visited on this day are free to visit except Rockefeller and can only be enjoyed inside its perimeter if raining. The husband magically altered the itinerary as per the weather 🙂 good job mahal!

Grand Central Terminal

Day 4 – May 3

  • Another gloomy day but thanks God it wasn’t raining! On our way to 9/11 Memorial museum, we had breakfast at Subway. The advantage of being in NY is that all restaurants and food chains are familiar! 🙂 Then headed to see Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. All of the attractions are included in our CityPass.
  • We had lunch at Fresh and Co and see the Charging Bull in Wall Street. Did I mention that we also had hotdogs on the street, hot chocolates (during the cruise to Lady Liberty), Gyros and fruits (on our way home)? need to mention these things to justify all the expenses I’d shared below.
  • After lunch, we went to the Highline Park and Chelsea Market.
  • On our way to Rockefeller Center, we made sure to pass by New York Palace! It’s on my wish list while doing the itinerary! :p Other things to see just few steps away from here are Van Gogh Ear and Atlas (in front of St.Patrick’s Cathedral). As you can see, most attractions are sitting next to each other.
  • Highlight of the day was the Top of the Rock! And miracles do happen as Mr. Sun shows up! So clearly, he’s just waiting for us! Haha :p
  • Had dinner at KFC on our way to the hotel.

from Top of the Rock

Day 5 – May 4

  • To celebrate our second wedding anniversary, we agreed to visit the restaurant featured in the timeless movie Serendipity and had the famous frozen hot chocolate! I was so happy to finally savour it! 🙂 On our way here, we also checked the Flat Iron building.
  • Headed to Times Square by 2pm to watch the Broadway show The Lion King! Happy kids! 🙂
  • We had takeout breakfast and dinner c/o Mama’s Famous Pizza.

Day 6 – May 5

  • Breakfast at Serafina, then visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) which again included in the pass. It’s free to go but it is suggested to pay the minimum donation of $25 and you need to queue.
  • We returned to the hotel after the MET as I wasn’t feeling good 🙁 Our half day was wasted but that’s fine. As what the husband said, my health is more important than his photo shoots! Haha :p


Day 7 – May 6

  • We’re off to another NY borough – Brooklyn. I can still hear my husband saying “We’re going to Brooklyn!” with matching rock on hand sign and sounded like a cool rapper! Haha :p
  • Here, we visited DUMBO (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), walked the Brooklyn Bridge and check Jane’s carousel at the park. Grateful as there was a bit of sunshine while we’re in the bridge! 🙂
  • Went back to the hotel as I was still in the recovery period of my cough and cold.
  • Around 4pm we headed to the Empire State building and spend the evening.


Day 8 – May 7

  • This day is dedicated for an ultra long haul flight from NY to DXB
  • Ended our New York trip with happy hearts and sweet memories. Till me we meet again!

New York Itinerary Expenses one week

Total Cost Spent for 7 days in New York

We’ve come up with this travel expense guide since a lot of our friends/colleagues are asking about our expenses during any trip. So this was created not to brag on it, but to give you an idea of what to expect when in New York and help you in budgeting for this type of trip.

For the below category, I used spending tracker IOS app to record the exact expenses that we had. Yes, including hotdogs and water! :p

  • Transport (card & load) – AED 660 = $180 All are via train only
  • Food – AED 1347 = $367
  • Shopping – AED 833 = $227

Total Cost: AED 17531 ($4773)
AED 8765 ($2386) cost per person

Clearly state that our 8 days trip to Greece is more expensive than New York since we opt to book via travel agency. Hope this post help in any way while planning your trip to the Big A! 🙂
New York Itinerary Expenses one week

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Myrna Thornton January 4, 2017 - 11:41 pm

One good tip to share. If you are planning to go back to the US at some point in the future, try finding an airline that will take you to Dublin Airport in Ireland as a stop over on your way to the USA. Dublin Airport is one of the few airports around the world that offers the pre-clearance facilities for US customs and immigration and this will allow you to skip the long lines/queues at any airport in the US.

My daughter who is currently in San Francisco visiting some relatives flew from the UK (where we are based at) to Dublin (stopover) then to San Francisco Airport. She had the pre-clearance at a US Immigration section at Dublin Airport (filling declaration forms, finger prints and photo-taken) via a kiosk-type of a machine prior to departure to the US. When she landed at San Francisco Airport, she was directed straight away to the baggage claims area then to the airport exit to meet family members there. That saved her loads of time waiting on a long line to the immigration when she arrived to California especially when she had just endured a long flight. The first thing any travellers want when they land in any airport is to quickly get out of there as fast as they can.

For more details on Dublin Airport US Immigration pre-clearance, here’s a link to their website:


Here’s wishing both of you more adventures to take and share with us. 🙂

The Moment Keepers January 5, 2017 - 6:28 am

Hi Myrna! This is so helpful. Thank you so much for sharing it here not only to us but for our readers who are going to the US. We’ll keep that in mind, next time we planned to visit. Happy new year to you! 🙂

Myrna Thornton January 7, 2017 - 5:20 pm

Sorry folks. I’ve just found out that the pre-celareance facilities for US Customs & Immigration ONLY applies to US citizens coming back to their homeland and citizens of countries under the Visa Waiver Program (like the UK where my daughter and I are citizens).
Other than the those two categories mentioned above, you still have to endure the lines/queue at US Customs and Immigration in any US airport.

The Moment Keepers January 8, 2017 - 6:36 am

Thank you so much Myrna, this will be helpful for those who will apply their US visa too 🙂

ewok1993 October 19, 2016 - 11:46 pm

I think 1 week is the right amount of time to spend in a big city like NYC. Do you think you wanna go back?

BTW, thanks for visiting my now hibernating blog. Visit my active blog and click on the link. Hey, do you know Dr. Gelo, another blogger from ME?

Worth a Thousand Words

The Moment Keepers October 20, 2016 - 6:44 pm

Yes, we would love to go back as some days from our one week stay was raining! Yes, we knew him and he’s one of our favorites too! 🙂 why do you ask?

voulaah October 14, 2016 - 6:53 am

Oh thank you so much for sharing this itinerary for Neww York
So beautiful place
Have avery nice day

The Moment Keepers October 15, 2016 - 7:05 am

you’re welcome! hope this helps you in any way when planning a trip to NYC! 🙂 great day to you too!

jessicam1318 October 13, 2016 - 9:51 am

Wow, looks like you made the most out of your time in NYC. And I am sure spring in the big city is lovely 🙂

The Moment Keepers October 15, 2016 - 7:04 am

Yes, absolutely! we want to return so badly if not for the 18hour flight :p You should visit too! 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

Bryony Clapperton (travelsandmore) October 13, 2016 - 9:29 am

I love your photos. Sounds like you managed to fit an awful lot into a short period of time. I love that you’ve included prices and costs in this post too 🙂

The Moment Keepers October 15, 2016 - 7:03 am

Thank you for the lovely comment! anyone can include a lot in their itinerary if they planned well before the trip, Most of our readers are messaging us asking for the price/cost so we decided to have this portion in the blog to help them give an idea of what to expect 🙂

Great day to you!


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