Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hotel budget version 1.0 for trip to New York City at the end of the year

Now that I have my plane ticket for my two-week trip to New York City at the end of the year, the next big task is planning for my hotel stays. In the old days, I might be able to budget $250 per night and that would be okay. Despite the fact that I now have a decent job with The Evil Empire, even $200 per night is out of the question. Initially I set a target of $1,500 for fourteen nights of hotel, not all of them in Manhattan proper, but that was too optimistic as well.

I came up with a spreadsheet for a more realistic approach to my hotel budget. Even these numbers may be too optimistic, but they are probably semi-reasonably close to what I should by able to get, especially using Priceline's Name Your Own Price Feature.

  1. Wednesday, December 20, 2006: $85 (near Newark Airport)
  2. Thursday, December 21, 2006: $125
  3. Friday, December 22, 2006: $125
  4. Saturday, December 23, 2006: $125
  5. Sunday, December 24, 2006: $75 (Atlantic City)
  6. Monday, December 25, 2006: $85 (Outside Manhattan)
  7. Tuesday, December 26, 2006: $85 (Outside Manhattan)
  8. Wednesday, December 27, 2006: $125
  9. Thursday, December 28, 2006: $125
  10. Friday, December 29, 2006: $75 (Atlantic City)
  11. Saturday, December 30, 2006: $300 (Pre-New Years Eve)
  12. Sunday, December 31, 2006: $300 (New Years Eve)
  13. Monday, January 1, 2007: $125
  14. Tuesday, January 2, 2007: $125

For a total of $1,880 and an average of $134.29 per night.

I'm prepared for the fact that it might run another $200 or $300 higher, but I'm also motivated to work harder to keep within this budget. It may mean that I have to stay a few more nights outside of Manhattan, or in less luxurious digs, but there are plenty of parameters to play around with.

This is version 1.0 of my hotel budget. I may have to go through ten or more revisions, but at least I have a solid starting point.

My next step may be to do a test with Priceline to try to minimize my cost for the New Years Eve weekend. I'll lowball a bid for a moderate hotel, say $125, and see how it goes. If I get it, I'll be glad to have it out of the way even though I have to pre-pay immediately. Otherwise, I can re-bid in three days. I can also re-bid immediately by starting with a narrow area and then re-bid with a wider area. I am willing to accept a hotel a little bit out of the way, but still in Manhattan, and maybe a little less luxurious, in order to get a low-ball bid. If my attempts at a low-ball bid fail, I'll bid a moderate price for an above moderate hotel so I can enjoy what I'm paying for.

-- Jack Krupansky

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