Saturday, December 16, 2006

Actual hotel budget final version 2.0 for trip to New York City at the end of the year

It took several weeks, but I now have my updated and final budget for my hotel nights for my two-week trip to New York City at the end of the year. I used Priceline for all 14 nights, using their Name Your Own Price bidding feature. I actually came in well under budget. Version 1.0 of my hotel budget came to $1,880 for 14 nights or an average of $134.29 per night. That seemed very reasonable for Manhattan My final version 2.0 actual hotel budget came to $1,628 or an average of $116.29 per night, for a total savings of $252 from the original budget.

I didn't include taxes and Priceline fees in the original budget. The grand total for my final, actual hotel budget bill comes to $1,938.76 or $138.48 per night. That is not bad at all for Manhattan, including New Year's Eve.

My air fare was $450.60, so my overall travel expense is $2,389.36. Plus a modest amount for ground transportation. Plus meal expense beyond my usual daily mail expense.

I'll take the Casino bus between Manhattan and Atlantic City, which charges a reasonable fare for the bus trip and then the casino gives you cash back so the trip is really cheap, asuming you don't gamble the cash away.

I will be staying at six different hotels, including the two nights in Atlantic City.

My hotel stay itinerary works out as follows:

  1. Nights 1-4: Wednesday, December 20,2006 through Saturday, December 23, 2006 (4 nights) at the Holiday Inn Express Manhattan - Chelsea on West 29th Street at $80 per night.
  2. Nights 5-6: Sunday, December 24,2006 and Monday, December 25, 2006 (2 nights) at the Murray Hill East Suite Hotel on East 39th Street at $80 per night.
  3. Nights 7-8: Tuesday, December 26,2006 and Wednesday, December 27, 2006 (2 nights) at the Best Western Envoy Inn in Atlantic City at St. James Place and Pacific Avenue at $49 per night.
  4. Nights 9-10: Thursday, December 28,2006 and Friday, December 29, 2006 (2 nights) at The Roosevelt Hotel at 45th Street and Madison Avenue near Grand Central Terminal at $180 per night.
  5. Nights 11-12: Saturday, December 30,2006 and Sunday, December 31, 2006 (2 nights) at Holiday Inn Wall Street District near Gold Street and Maiden Lane at $220 per night.
  6. Nights 13-14: Monday, January 1, 2007 and Tuesday, January 2, 2007 (2 nights) at Grand Hyatt on 42nd Street near Park Avenue and Grand Central Terminal at $125 per night.

It took me a total of 91 bids in 14 sessions over a 28 days to arrange these nights. That is a lot of effort, but this was a complicated trip since the demand and pricing for hotels varies so greatly from almost day to day during the holiday season and I did want to stay within a tight budget for an expensive city. In the old days, I would simply pay $199 per night and be done with it. I haven't arranged this itinerary before. Next year, I'll have a much more clear sense of the hotel market in Manhattan during the holidays and be able to bid more quickly, although I might not get better results.

Now I need to find out what each hotel offers for Internet access.

And I really need to work out a meal budget. Some nights I'll have to eat pizza or fast food so that other nights I can spend $60 to $85 on dinner alone.

Note: I didn't use the Name Your Own Price feature of Priceline for the two $49 nights in Atlantic City since I tried a $45 bid which was rejected and $49 is so cheap that saving such a small amount is not worth any significant effort.

Note: Some people (many if not most people) mistakenly refer to Grand Central Terminal as Grand Central Station. There actually is a Grand Central Station near Grand Central Terminal, but it is a post office.

-- Jack Krupansky

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