NYC Hackathon Survival Guide for under $70/Night

With our Hackathon coming up on May 17, we’ve put together some tips and hacks for a stress-free Hackathon weekend.

For residents in one of the five boroughs – Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, or Staten Island, getting to and from your home each night after the hackathon is simple – just hop on the subway and you’re sleeping in your own cozy bed within an hour at most.

But what about those participants from neighboring states – CT, MA, upstate NY, or even the other side of the country?  NYC Hotels are expensive, especially for college students. 

Like it or not, AirBNB, the accommodation rental provider is well known in NYC for helping tourist and visitors find more affordable and friendly stays during their time in the Big Apple. 

So we compiled the TOP 5 ways to help you save money and make your hackathon experience great!

1. Attending Alone or With A Team

If you are attending the hackathon with a team, even if it’s just your best friend, you can save considerable money by splitting the cost.  In this case, selecting “Entire Place” or “Private Room” makes the most sense here.  In our research, we found very few real options for “Hotel Room”, and having done the “Shared Room” myself on more than one occasion, sticking with “Entire Place” or “Private Room” is your best bet – if nothing else for privacy.


Entire Place:

This means that you have the entire place to yourself and won’t need to share with anyone.  Unless you are planning to stay the full week in preparation for the hackathon, you’ll most likely be at General Assembly all day, learning, networking, recruiting, eating, or coding, and won’t be spending much time at your accommodations.

However you’ll need to act fast.  We reviewed the options for staying in Brooklyn, as of today there are only 8-9 listings left – all of which I have highlighted in the screenshot below.


Private Room:

This is the most common option for affordability.  If you or your team opts not to rent the entire place, you’ll have a private room and may or not share a bathroom and other common spaces.  Your private room will have a single bed, a double bed, or queen bed – so check the options before booking.

Our Test:


Since the Hackathon team maximum is 5, we searched for 5 beds in one room.  Unfortunately there was only one option in Sunset Park, Brooklyn as we noted in the screenshot below.  Nothing currently in Manhattan, the Bronx, or Queens – so if you want to snag that during the dates for your team, feel free.

2. Bronx, Queens, Or Brooklyn

Generally speaking, the outer boroughs have more living space and it’s the same $2.75 subway ride no matter where you stay. So staying in one of the boroughs makes sense.

For this search, we opted for the Bronx, which is a little more affordable than Brooklyn.  Many times you get more space as well.  As you can see from the image below, the options are spread out a little more.  This means you need to ensure you are close enough to a subway line.


Unfortunately Airbnb doesn’t provide a “close to subway” option when narrowing down the search – something the engineers at @airbnb should consider implementing for any major city with a massive transportation system.  Hey, maybe they’ll post a prize challenge for one of our hackers.

In the interim, you’ll need to zoom in and look for the M symbol on the map they provide.


3.MTA Apps Help

This is an easy one.  Subways don’t run as often on the weekends, but having the most up to date schedule will avoid the need to wait 10 -15 minutes for the next train.   We believe you should make the subway work for you rather than the other way around.

4. Midnight Snack/Food Options

While the Hackathon will be providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and snacks during the hours of 9AM – 9PM, NYC is the city that never sleeps for a reason.  Especially on weekends, many food establishments are open to Midnight or later for that late night snack.  

In our Hackathon Forum feel free to ask our staff or other participants for suggestions.  Hey – you just may find the teammate you were looking for.

5. Sleep

Contrary to the stereotype, staying up all night and getting no sleep does not make you more productive.  We actually want our attendees to get a good night rest, so that they retain, learn, and put their best efforts forward when meeting with companies.

For more info and the latest on the Hackathon, join the Hackathon forum. Get registered for the Open Source ERPS Hackathon here.