How to Live in New York City for a Month

Living in New York City, London or Paris is an adventure of self-discovery. You will gain years of experiences in one month. It is a lifestyle choice.

Living in New York City for a month is easy; however, being able to spend enough money to enjoy New York is the problem.

A member of the Hobo travel community who wants to live in New York City for a month wrote:

Andy, any advice on living in Metro New York, Bronx, Brooklyn etc...? Looking for some cheap places to rent / stay. Thinking about staying a month in the city after working June in Upstate New York. ...

New york city couchsurfing

Applying the Five W’s to New York City Hotels

Travel is a list of questions first, and then a list of answers. Traveling to New York City means we need to be extraordinarily specific with questions.

Who? – Who am I? Am I a 22-year old wanting to party with young folks and spend all night out dancing? Or am I a retired person wanting to walk around New York Central Park? At the end of the day, living in New York City is going to be about the people you meet and who you are. Who is the person you want to be in New York City?

When? – Which month? Living in New York City in January would be cold, while July would be hot. And during the summer high-tourist season in New York City, it can cost more for room. But public transport in July could be cheaper. Also consider: Do you need to park a car?

Where? – To enjoy New York City, it is helpful to narrow your desired living place to an easily defined neighborhood, something you can write in Craigslist, for example, I want to live within 20 blocks of the Smithsonian Institute.

After years of roaming around the planet, one slowly learns that “why,”  “what,” and “who” are very important. When we learn the answers to those three questions, the “where” is figured out. But we need to be able to say the “where” in one sentence.

Why? – New York City is the center of the planet; it is, in many ways, the center of the Universe as we know it. In the past, it was London, then before that, Paris, then before that, Rome, and in the future, it could move to Beijing, China. New York is the hub of world business; therefore, there are many business reasons to live in New York City.

“Why live in New York City?” is a difficult question. And New York City is a cultural enigma, just as any large metropolitan city, such as London, Los Angeles, Chicago or Paris.

If you say you are going to New York or any of the cities listed above, it is almost a social taboo to say to you, “Are you sure? Why?”

People assume that everyone needs to go to New York and should want to go to New York. But the ultimate question for you is, why do you want to go? But more important, what do you want to do? What do you want to buy? Which places do you want to visit?

Seeing the Statue of Liberty is a great experience, but it does not take a month.

What? – What are you doing to do for a month?

How? – How will you spend your days? New York City and other large cities are time vampires. Going to meet a person can take an hour of travel and an hour to return, and $20 dollars just for transportation. And, in many ways, New York City is the most dangerous city on the planet for travel. If you accidentally go into the wrong neighborhood, one of the boys may bop you on the head.

How Much Money Will You Need? – The “who,” “when,” “where,” “why,” “what” and “how” are going to answer the question of money and whether you can afford to enjoy the place on the money you want to spend.


Now, How Would I, Andy Lee Graham, Go to New York City?

I would spend hours trying to find five people who live on Manhattan Island with, then contact them with and keep saying,
“I want to rent a room in a home for $300 per month.” I would persist until I found 3-5 people who say to me, “What the hell, why not? This would be fun to have you live with me for a month.”

This is 100 percent possible in any city on the planet, whether you call it a boarding room, or a language school with rooms. There is always an extra room that is not being used, and if the person likes you, they will let you sleep there for a month.

When I was in Europe one time, I met a man who would walk into the corner bars of the world and scream: “I want a room for a month; I am a chef! Who has a room for me?” For years, this man had lived for free, traveling the world slowly.

There is always a way if you have time, patience and are good person. There is always a room open for a good guest, even in New York City.

Note, Craigslist and are your best options; all other Internet solutions will just eat your time. And ask people for what you want and not just what they are offering. That is the secret, knowing what you want – the “who,” “when,” “where,” “why,” “what,” “how,” and “how much.”

I was offered an apartment in Paris for $300 per month, but I turned it down. I wanted to go here, where I am now, not there. I am not crazy; I am fully aware of what makes me happy, and often, saying no is the secret to travel happiness.


Andy Graham … in some exotic city, outside the USA. … Log in to find out where!


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In many way, the biggest problem of traveling to very expensive cities like New York it everyone tells you going cheap is impossible, because they did not even try to go cheap, they assume they must pay. Enjoy New York, or any destination. Andy

I lived in New York City until 1985 when I lost my small rent controlled studio apt at $139 Month to gentrification, due to health issues I was unemployed at the time so had an option to move to first, Mexico City, then Guatemala, to reinvent myself, I went "Way Down South" by Bus from NY, stopping to see my parents along the way, and gave it a try, opened a bank account in the USA, in A Texas Border City, in those days no ATMs down here, and a bank transfer was safest option beside Western Union to transfer money, after 8 months decided to stay, returned to NYC, brought my vehicle from suburbs where it was stored and drove down. Years ago I stayed a few nights in a hostel or in the 34th Street YMCA when in Manhattan, had a place to stay in Long Island, in El Salvador made a friendship with a Salvadoran American Dentist, who had a small apartment in the area in the Bronx where I grew up, he has a common law wife and child here and in exchange for lodging haul up gifts and things on the plane, upon arrival take the NYC Transit, the Subway to the Bronx, it is like I never left when I get on the E or F Train in Queens or take the LIRR from Jamaica to 34th Street in Manhatttan using the shuttle from JFK. I bought my present computer there and love shopping in certain specialty stores, if you use Craigslist or do contact New York City members well in advance and offer to help out with expenses, doing dishes, cleaning up, running errands in emergency, etc. Contrary to "PC" opinion people do not like freeloaders, and if you "party" and come in at 3 am, tell host in advance, Single or Couple of attractive young women traveling together will find it easy to land a host, but take care if it is a young male very eager to host you, arrange to meet in a public place beforehand. Rents are very high in Manhattan $1,500 a month up for a tiny studio, in the Boroughs $1,000 up, many young white 'yuppies' now live in both East and West Harlem above 96th Street, which have been gentrified in spots, I am a New Yorker, street smart and speak several languages, if you are not street smart and have never been to the city, do research on the Internet after you secure a room, the Hostels are great places to meet people from world over but a dorm bed, 6 beds to a room, costs almost $50 a day with taxes. There a few Hotels in the $50-100 night range, ok if staying only 3 days or so. Public Transit goes everywhere 24/7 purchase a Metrocard in machines for $2.50 up, every swipe, subway or bus, costs you $2.25, Yellow taxis in Manhattan very expensive and the car services in the Boroughs as well, about $20 for a 3-4 mile ride and every service person in NYC expects a tip. The city is well policed especially in Manhattan and not dangerous, Times Square has been cleaned up since the 1980s, avoid walking alone after say 11 pm on dark side streets, if you feel in danger and not with a group, like in Latin America, take a taxi or car service that last few dark blocks from Subway or Bus Stop if coming back late night, especially if you have been drinking and are carrying credit card and or cash. that $5-6 may save you $500, NY has a lower crime rate than Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, LA, Cleveland or other USA cities which offer the traveler far less, besides NYC the Best USA Cities to visit in my opinion are Boston, Washington, DC, Charleston, SC, Miami Beach (SOBE South Beach area)FL, New Orleans, Austin, TX, Denver CO, SF Bay Area, CA, Portland, OR and Seattle, WA all have Couchsurfing members in city and suburbs for those with no car or auto rental outside NY and major cities with good public transportation, Greyhound Bus Lines has 7, 15 and 30 Day Ameripasses may be purchased online connects with most cities in USA and Canada for guidebooks on busget travel in NY and USA click on,202771,62,0,0,0 and if you cannot luck out with Craigslist or (July and August very difficult, except Miami, the heat)are and

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