Archives for posts with tag: budget

I know New York. I need New York. I know I need unique New York.

“Hello, poor people!” cried Alan Cumming as the MC, waving his hand at us all the way up in our balcony seats.”This can’t be much fun for you.” We chuckled and we were actually having much fun, but being in New York on a budget can sometimes feel like you’re missing something.


Broadway can be beautiful and cheap.

During a long weekend in the big apple I must admit that I thought how nice it would be to be rich in NYC.

Having spent my entire budget on somewhere to sleep (and ok, fine, a ticket to Sleep No More– just things related to sleep then), I decided that in New York, like everywhere else, the best things in life should be (and are often if you open your eyes) free.


Look! A new, sharp, shiny building being a bit moody.

It helped that I was there because I had $25 Cabaret tickets (Roundabout Theatre has cheap tickets reserved for people under 35 at each performance) and to meet up with this guy I like.

I resisted a cashmere sweater with an elephant holding a pink ball with its trunk and didn’t even set foot into the Kate Spade stationery store.

Instead, I watched couples kiss and practice a few shy dance steps in Grand Central Station while I waited for my Baltimore boy to arrive.


Grand Central Station is a good place to sit down and weep in, but it’s an even better place to dance in.

Instead, we walked in the rain and avoided rats in Central Park.


Walking in the rain and discovering secret gardens is free!


Taking multiple pictures of ducks is a cheap and entertaining way to spend a few minutes in New York’s Central Park.

We riffled through antique shops in Chelsea and Williamsburg and window shopped at my new favourite (or only favourite) jewellery store, Adorned by Love in Nolita (I thought we were in SoHo).


Window shopping in impossibly cool and expensive places.

We found cheap breakfasts and had falafel in the park, splurged on coffees and walked until our feet fell off.


Walking across the Williamsburg Bridge at sunset… what could be more romantic?


View from the bridge.

I love New York. I need new York. Know I need unique New York.


It’s 4 in the morning, the middle of October, I’m writing this now just to underline the weirdness of getting up and out of the hostel when others are still coming back from a night out (on a Tuesday? Don’t these people have jobs? No, no they don’t).

I was mad at myself for booking such an early flight out of Auckland when I realised I’d have to get the 3:30 airbus, which meant having to wait on a corner at 3:30 am. I’d also just been told this ‘hood is not the greatest (I wouldn’t have noticed, though).  I decided only to mention to my mother that I waited on the corner in the middle of the night if I survived the journey.

About 2 minutes after arriving at the stop, I saw the airport bus going the opposite way into town. The driver obviously has never worked for the TTC, so he was really nice and stopped to pick me up so I wouldn’t have to wait for him to go back to the depot and come back again. So I got a little middle-of-the-night tour of Auckland downtown. There was a couple in the McDonald’s, but not much other than that was going on.

Here I am with a couple of hours to kill in Auckland airport. So I thought I’d share these exceptional travel tips:

Money-saving tip #1: book a ridiculously early flight because it’s a bit cheaper and because, bonus!, you think you’ll save a night at the hostel by sleeping at the airport, but then actually you end up changing your mind, thinking a shower and a couple of hours of sleep would be better than the allegedly bed-bug infested lounge in the airport where your wallet would probably be stolen and where you’d sleep through your boarding call (if you sleep at all).

Space-saving tip #1: forget things around the world.
For example, British Columbia is the perfect place to leave a package of face-cleansing cloth thingies (practical when camping or spending days on end in a train, but relatively heavy and not essential) where it can be used as a toddler’s toy. You might also want to leave your fleece (which you bought in Germany and is therefore slightly sentimental, if only because it was expensive and is pretty much your only jacket-type thing) in a café in Lake Tekapo Springs because it happened to be sunny that day and you just may as well take it as a sign that you won’t need it for the rest of your trip because all this rain and wind is just a fluke that you’ll avoid for months to come and screw it, there’s good shopping in Melbourne.

Money-saving tip #2: Forget your fleece in Lake Tekapo Springs so you can go shopping in Melbourne.

Space-saving tip #2: Bring only small, refillable toiletry bottles.

Money-saving tip #3: When your shower gel bottle is nearly finished, conveniently find that someone forgot hers in the hostel shower. Make sure the person has checked out and then proceed to re-fill your bottle with glee.

Money-saving tip #4: Buy Adidas running shoes and watch them desintegrate before your eyes after only 3 months. Consider writing a strongly-worded letter that may result in substantial gain. But probably it wouldn’t.

Please remember I’m writing this at 4am. Thank you. Good morning and good luck!

One more thing: MONEY!

How could I neglect to mention money in my last post about the similarities between theatre and travel?  As in: you never have any.

Producing a show or backpacking across the globe on a shoestring budget both involve a disproportionate amount of time trying to keep hard-earned bills firmly in your wallet and credit cards safely tucked away. Ha.

With my wads of cash in Giza, Egypt

The cost of things and what you’re willing to spend money on quickly becomes warped.  You shell out a fortune on the ever-rising plane fares and then spend the rest of your trip looking for as much free stuff to do and experience as possible.  Not so different from splurging on a theatre space or a slot in a festival only to spend the rest of the time making sets out of milk crates and rehearsing in your living room instead of buying lumber or renting rehearsal space.

The set for our show Virginia Aldridge, BSc

And the whole time you’re exploring and discovering (literally or metaphorically), you’re likely living off cornflakes or stealing the buns from the hostel’s complimentary breakfast for a free lunch.