New York City
A recent study said you would need 3.5 full-time minimum wage jobs to maintain a two-bedroom apartment in New York (where minimum wage is $9 an hour). If you’re not paying housing costs, though, New York can be a cheap city to visit. Their public transportation system is one of the best in the world, and the Broke Millennial’s guide to free-ish things to do in NYC is extensive. While New York sports some of the most expensive restaurants you will ever find, you can easily find delicious dim sum in Chinatown for the cost of a newspaper in Paris. Unless you insist on owning (and driving…and parking) a car, New York is likely to be one of your easiest, cheapest travel experiences.
See if they’ll switch you to a private room.
If you have the money and your hostel doesn’t mind a potential overnight guest, you can be completely above-board and adult about the whole thing and just ask to move your things to a private room. Your new fun buddy can share the cost for one night, and if you don’t meet up again, you can move back to the dorms. If you do decide to repeat the process, you can negotiate staying in a place where private rooms are pretty cheap and move in together for a little while.
Moving to LA is like moving anywhere else except that LA is bigger, weirder, and has more to gawk at, complain about, and enjoy than any other place I’ve been.
Now I should state that I HATE it when people make generalizations about any place (and LA is a place people love to generalize about), and that LA is fucking massive — it’s cities within cities that literally defy categorical description because there’s no one ‘LA’ — drive a few blocks and the landscape and culture transform before your very eyes.
I moved from Seattle two years ago and have only lived in the Hollywood area of LA — first in West Hollywood and now in East — and so I’ve only resided in the most cliched, strangest, schizophrenic five square miles that LA has conjured up for the edification of tourists and the entertainment elite. So when I talk about LA I’m talking about my own little periscope of experience that I’ve had in LA — a city that I could spend a lifetime exploring and still would not even scratch the surface.
1. No coconuts
This example may only serve to identify the staggering depth of my Los Angeles naiveté, but the very first thing I noticed upon entering LA was the total lack of coconut-bearing palms. Being from Seattle I’d only experienced palm trees as a result of travel to tropical locations like Central America and Southeast Asia, places where coconuts droop from palm fronds and can be harvested by any intrepid human or monkey. Within 15 minutes of being in LA my world came crashing down around my ears. WHERE ARE ALL THE COCONUTS!! I demanded, peering wildly around. Rows upon rows of palms, some tall and spindly, some stout and squat, but not one of them bore a single coconut.
I immediately asked the first local I could find, “Why don’t the palm trees have coconuts?” and a look of complete astonishment broke over her face.
“I…don’t know. I’ve never thought of that.”