I’ve been a very good (aka frugal) girl lately. I’ve reduced my Starbucks visits down to one day a week from three days a week (and this used to be 7 days a week habit, so I’m rockin’ this budget buster!) I’ve been consistent with riding my bike three days a week saving a few bucks on gas, and I’ve been eating at home more often. So with all this savings under my belt, I felt I could splurge on a trip to New York to visit family this winter. Plane ticket: $396.

The last time I traveled long-distance was to my sister’s wedding 18-months ago. Not an inexpensive trip, mind you. However, this time around I don’t have to book a rental car or hotel since I’ll be visiting and staying with family. This saves me quite a bundle, especially since New York is notorious for outrageous hotel prices. Hotel and car expenses: zero. Metro pass: $15.

Yet with that said, I need to prepare for a very brisk, if not brutal, winter which means I need to stock up on a few items. If I lived in say South Dakota, I probably wouldn’t have to purchase a thing; I’d have all the winter clothing and attire needed for such a trip. Instead, coming from California, my wardrobe is a bit on the light-weight end of the spectrum which means I have some purchases I need to make.

My short list of must-have items includes:

  • A decent winter coat. I’ll confess, the heaviest coat in my closet at the moment is a wind-breaker – don’t laugh. With winters rarely breaking below 52-degrees, it’s really all I ever need. However, a wind-breaker won’t cut it in January in New York. So, this is a must-have item. Searching around, it looks like Burlington Coat Factory has some great deals on “real” winter coats for under $70. I’ll also keep my eye on the sales online as well as check out Thanksgiving sales and after Christmas deals as well. *I’m a little skeptical of waiting until after Christmas because sometimes winter-wear disappears at the end of the year. Flip-flops and bathing suits quickly begin appearing around January.
  • Thermals. Last time I traveled to NYC during the winter, my undergarments kept me quite warm. Too bad that was many years ago and I don’t own those same items anymore. Two pairs would work out perfectly for my one-week trip, so my strategy is to nab them at a sales price. Preferably before the end of the year.
  • Boots. Again, temperate winters allow me to wear my Keen sandals year-round (okay, with socks in the winter) or my Dansko clogs. Rarely do we have torrential rains that make these shoes impossible to wear. However, I think I’d literally freeze walking around New York in my Keen sandals. Another must-have item, but this one I might be able to score at a local thrift shop or discount online shoe store.

Clothing needs: ~$170. (I’m quickly reminded of why I try to arrange my travel to NYC in spring or summer!)

Of course, I own a few sweaters and jeans that will work just fine for my visit, as long as they are paired with thermals, boots, and a jacket. Clothing will also affect my packing habits. This trip will also require more than just a carry-on, which I’m not looking forward to, but with the amount and bulk of winter clothing, I’m anticipating having to check a small bag. Checked-on bag: $50 (for both directions).

Eating out in New York City can be fairly expensive, so to reduce my food costs I often bring a few Clif Bars and buy a few items that I can snack on once I get there. Soup is another great way to eat healthy and cheaply and it’s easy to find soup walk-up’s in the city.  I also load up my Starbucks card and splurge on coffee and tea. Thankfully, I don’t eat much! Food costs: ~$150. (This is taking into account the generosity of parents).

There are also a few surprise costs included in my travels. Sometimes that’s a cab ride from the airport to my parents’ place or it can be a movie or other event I don’t anticipate attending. Miscellaneous: $75.

All-in-all, my trip is quickly adding up to more than I thought when I bought the ticket. Good thing I’ve been able to reduce my expenses lately!

Are you traveling this winter? Do your costs increase with the weather?


    • @Midlife Finance – It’s a benefit of traveling to New York; free accommodations! I’m very lucky that I have a couple of different family members to stay with – it saves a lot of money.

  1. Julie @ Creating This Life Reply

    I live in Kansas City and since we get all four seasons, I don’t usually have to stock up on certain kinds of clothes for travel. I admit, though, that I hate packing in the winter because everything is so bulky! Summer suitcases full of shorts and flip flops are so much easier.

    Enjoy your trip!

    • @Julie – That’s another reason I usually plan my trip around warmer weather – I usually pack really light and can get away with just a backpack. Not this time, though!

  2. Edward Antrobus Reply

    Socks with sandles? You’ll fit right in in New York. That’s how we could tell the Benny’s at the Jersey Shore, dressed rediculous like that.

    When I was in NYC in January a two years ago, I actually dressed less warmly. All the walking around and going in and out of buildings kept me a lot warmer than standing on the side of the road all days does!

  3. Staying with family can make an otherwise very expensive trip become manageable. Hotel costs can add up big time, so avoiding them is huge. Aside from that, I know what you mean about how costs could otherwise add up. Anyway, life is to enjoy so hopefully you’ll have a great time when you do go!

    • @Tie the Money Knot – Hotel and car expenses do add up quickly. I’m really fortunate that I can stay with family when I visit NYC or else I’m not so sure I’d be able to visit as often!

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