5 ways to get from Boston to New York without breaking the bank

A trip to the Big Apple is always a good idea. It can also be an expensive one. But getting there doesn’t have to be. Saving money on transportation means you can enjoy everything New York has to offer. Purchase tickets to the latest Broadway show or go shopping in Soho without stressing over spending.

A little planning can go a long way, so consider carefully the economical transportation options that abound. Maybe it’s the high-speed train or perhaps a passenger rental van. Whatever you choose, we’re sure there’s an alternative that’s just right for you. Read on for the 5 best ways you can get from Boston to New York without breaking the bank.

Option 1: Renting a car for a road trip

A drive from Boston to New York is full of things to see and do. Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore the area’s history and attractions while en route to your destination.

Advantages of renting a car for a road trip 

The driving distance from Boston to New York City is about 215 miles. With a car rental, you’ll have the convenience of traveling on your own schedule. You won’t have to worry about lugging your suitcases on public transportation or rushing to catch the next train. How and when you arrive at your destination is completely up to you. 

Renting a vehicle is a more comfortable option, and for the utmost in comfort, consider renting a passenger van. This guarantees you more space, plush seats, giant windows, and fuel-efficiency.

Disadvantages of renting a car for a road trip

A car rental from Boston to New York isn’t the solution for everyone. If you’re driving to New York City and you’re not confident navigating such a lively urban metropolis, you may want to consider other means of transportation. 

If you have a big family or you plan to bring a lot of gear, a car may be too small for your journey. The ample cargo space in a passenger van might be a better option for you.

Tips for saving money on car rentals

On a tight budget? Car rentals from Boston start at around $60 per day, with several ways to save even more. 

  • If you already have car insurance, check the policy to see if it covers rented vehicles so you aren’t stuck buying an insurance plan with the rental agency. Your credit card may also offer insurance benefits. 
  • Don’t rent from the airport, where prices tend to be higher due to surcharges. 
  • Remember that the longer you rent, the lower the daily rate, so if your trip is a week or more you will find cheaper rates.
  • Resist the upsell. If a rental company is charging you extra for things like GPS or satellite radio, opt for alternatives such as the Waze app and streaming services with free packages like Pandora or Spotify.

Greenvans would be a perfect choice for your Boston to New York roadtrip

The modern fleet of passenger vans at Greenvans is perfect for couples, families, and friends taking a road trip from Boston to New York. Each van is clean and spacious, and can fit anywhere from 2 – 15 travelers. We can remove the back rows of seats to make extra room for your luggage and extra gear. Plus, the windows are huge, so all passengers can see the beautiful views along the way.

Greenvans offers on-call assistance and itinerary planning services, as well as competitive rates so you know you’re getting your money’s worth (and more!).

Photo by Mikkel Bendix

Option 2: Taking the bus

There are direct daily bus routes from Boston to New York’s Port Authority, Chinatown, and Penn Station. If you like the idea of someone else taking the wheel, this might be for you. 

Advantages of taking the bus

If your plan is to take the bus from Boston to New York City, you’ll have plenty of schedules and bus lines to choose from. It’s also relatively easy to find a cheap bus from Boston to New York. Bear in mind, you get what you pay for, so the lower the cost of the ticket, the more budget the experience will likely be. 

Disadvantages of taking the bus

There are a handful of disadvantages to relying on public transportation for your journey from Boston to New York. First, taking a bus can feel limiting if there are roadside attractions or towns you’d like to see en route. 

The strict public transportation schedule might not be convenient if you’re traveling with a group or with young children. Tickets are mostly non-transferable if an emergency arises that causes you to miss your bus. Finally, lugging your suitcases to and from the station will be a hassle.

Tips for finding cheap bus tickets 

Ticket prices from Boston to New York average about $30 per rider, one way. To be sure the fare is the most economical, there are a few things you can do:

  • Be flexible with your schedule: Leaving very early or very late can slash the price of the ticket. Try not to travel during peak times, like holidays or weekends. Look for lower fares during the week.
  • Go to alternative stations: If prices from Boston to Port Authority are high, check for lines with stops around Penn Station or Chinatown.
  • Book in advance: You’ll often find lower rates and promotions for routes that companies need to sell.

Option 3: Riding the train

Relaxing by the window on a train through the countryside is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Train travel is generally quiet, fast, and efficient, but doesn’t come without its downsides. 

Advantages of taking the train

Traffic won’t be an issue on the train like it can be with a rental car or the bus. Most trains offer seating options that include coach, business, and even first-class. Many also offer onboard wifi in case you’ve got some work to catch up on.

Disadvantages of taking the train

Like the bus, a train’s strict timeline might not be conducive to groups and families. If you plan to bring a sizable amount of luggage, hauling it onto a train is far from convenient. Furthermore, because passengers are expected to be quiet, young children with a lot of energy may feel stifled.

The train station will likely be a ways from your lodging, and that means upon arrival you will still have to order a taxi or an Uber, inflating the overall cost and putting you at the mercy of the urban traffic you were looking to avoid.

Tips for getting discounted train tickets 

Like the bus, there are ways to save when booking train travel. Train tickets range from $49 to upwards of $200 per rider, so consider the following tips for saving:

  • Check for discounted tickets: Seniors, military personnel, students, and AAA members may be eligible. 
  • Travel during non peak hours: This includes early mornings, weekdays, and low season.
  • Look for alternative routes: Some companies will lower the cost of a ticket for travelers with connections or destinations outside of the hubs.
  • Book in advance: Reserve your tickets early for lower rates, especially if you plan to travel over a holiday.
Photo by Josh Sorenson

Option 4: Flying on a budget airline

There are daily nonstop flights from Boston to New York that won’t break the bank and have the ability to get you to NY quickly.

Advantages of flying on a budget airline

Off-season plane tickets can be as low as $50 per person. If you live close to the airport or can get a ride, you can save a lot of money.

Disadvantages of flying on a budget airline

Budget airlines often have hidden fees. Drinks and snacks are available for purchase, and luggage is usually not included. Checking a suitcase or bringing a carry-on can result in charges higher than the ticket itself. 

In addition, even if the flight is short, it doesn’t mean you’ll save much time. From door to door, flying such a small distance could take the same amount of time as driving, and there is always a risk of flight delays or cancellations, especially with low-cost airlines. Plus, you’ll have to arrive at the airport early to check in and go through security checks, which could even make your trip longer than other methods of transportation.

Tips for finding cheap flights

Finding cheap flights from Boston to New York is easy with so many travel apps and online booking agencies available. Here are some ways to get the lowest prices around.

  • Put an alert on the route you want: Apps like Kayak will constantly scan your preferred routes and update you via email when rates drop.
  • Travel off-season: Low season means empty seats. Airlines will cut the price in order to fill carriers.
  • Credit card points: Check your credit card to see if you’ve got enough points to cover the cost of the flights.
  • Fly to alternative airports: Instead of JFK, for example, look at flights to less busy New York airports. Keep in mind, though, transportation from the airport to your lodging could be costly.

Option 5: Carpooling with rideshare services

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft offer a carpooling option in select regions. This is a great way to save money while getting to know other travelers on your same route.

Advantages of carpooling with rideshare services

Carpooling with a rideshare service is cheaper than hiring a private driver while giving the added benefit of making new friends. It’s a decent alternative for solo travelers or those traveling in pairs.

Disadvantages of carpooling with rideshare services

Depending on the distance, even a carpool might still be rather expensive. The distance from New York to Boston by car, even if it’s shared, will still result in a rather high price tag and may not be worth the cost unless it’s a last minute or emergency transportation situation.

For days you aren’t feeling particularly chatty, a carpool may not be a good move. If you happen to get paired with a social butterfly, it will be hard to avoid small talk.

Tips for finding rideshare options

Find out what are the most popular rideshare apps in your starting city. Before placing the order, see what the price will be. In fact, you can track the cost during the days leading up to your trip by checking the cost of the route in the rideshare app at different times of day. Avoid rush hour and weekends for better prices.

Frequently asked questions on ways to get from Boston to New York

How long is the train from Boston to New York?

The train from Boston to New York takes 3 hours and 30 minutes on the high speed and 4 hours and 50 minutes on the regional rail.

How far is Boston from New York?

The distance between Boston and New York is approximately 190 miles.

How long is the drive from Boston to New York?

The drive from Boston to New York takes about 4 hours and covers 215 driving miles.

Should I drive or fly to New York?

You should drive to New York from Boston if you’d like flexibility. You should fly to New York if you don’t like to drive or time is of the essence. Keep in mind that with the somewhat lengthy check-in process and transportation to and from the airport, you may not save much time.

What is the cheapest way to get from Boston to NYC?

Taking the bus or regional train is the cheapest way to get from Boston to NYC, though it may not be the easiest. Even if the ticket is cheap, you have to factor in transportation costs to and from the stations, as well as around the city if sightseeing to places not walkable or accessible by subway.

What is the best way to get from Boston to New York?

The best way to get from Boston to New York is with a passenger van rental. It’s spacious and comfortable and allows you the freedom to leave at any time and stop at interesting places en route. A van rental alleviates the stress of airports and the cramped nature of a car. 

Greenvans rents passenger vans from our Boston office. We can also arrange custom delivery if you’d like the van to be dropped off at your home.

Drive in comfort and style from Boston to New York with a Greenvans passenger van – Get your free rental van quote.  


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