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The pros and cons of the various ways to travel between Boston and New York City, according to someone who has tried them all.
It’s easy to travel between Boston and NYC, whether you’re going for a day trip, a business trip, visiting for a long weekend, or are taking a longer vacation to really experience the city.
Boston and New York City are both cities in the northeastern United States that are located on the coast. They are relatively close together, which makes it easy to travel between the two cities if you live in or are visiting one or the other.
If you’re ambitious and don’t mind a longer travel day, you can make the round trip in the same day. But if you’d like to experience more of what each city has to offer, you’re better off taking a long weekend or week-long trip.
Boston is a coastal city located in the state of Massachusetts. It has a population of 650,706 1 and is 48.4 square miles. Boston is located on Boston Harbor, which is off of Massachusetts Bay, which is off of the Atlantic Ocean.
When you’re in Boston, you can get around the city by walking, bicycling, driving, taking a car service such as Uber or Lyft, taking the MBTA bus, or taking the subway.
New York City
New York City is a coastal city located in the state of New York. It’s made up of 5 boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. Manhattan is an island bordered by the Hudson River on the west side and the East River on the east side, which leads out to the Atlantic Ocean. NYC has a population of 8,335,897 2 and is 300.46 square miles.
When you’re in NYC, you can get around the city by walking, bicycling, driving (although not recommended due to the difficulty to find parking), taking a car service such as Uber or Lyft, taking a taxi, taking the MTA bus, taking the subway, or taking a ferry.
How to Travel Between Boston and New York City
Traveling between Boston and NYC is easy and you have numerous options to consider based on your travel preferences, budget, and the area within the city you’re traveling to and from.
To get from Boston to New York City or from New York City to Boston, you can travel by car, by bus, by train, or by plane. Keep reading to learn more about each of these transportation options, including where they each depart and arrive, average travel times, prices, the pros and cons of each, and where you can go to learn more and purchase travel tickets.
With the flexibility of one way travel, you can also mix your transportation to and from each city to best fit your needs (like price and travel departure time). For example, you can take the bus one way and the train on the way back.
Car – Driving between Boston and NYC
Traveling between Boston and NYC by car is the most flexible because you can drive directly to your destination at any time of day or night. However, one thing to keep in mind is that parking is limited in big cities, so you’ll need a place to park your car once you arrive. If you’re staying at a hotel, check in advance if they have a parking garage and how much it will cost. Some parking garage fees are surprisingly high. You can take your chances with finding on-street parking, but you’ll need to pay attention to any parking restrictions, time limits, or meters that need to be continuously paid.
If you’re renting a car, you’ll need to travel to and from the car rental agency, which adds on another expense if you need to hire a car service like Uber or Lyft to get you to the car rental agency.
Estimated travel time: The estimated travel time without traffic is 3 hours 30 minutes. However, there is usually traffic, and it can take up to 6 hours or longer. Traffic can vary greatly depending on the day and time you’re traveling, if there’s any road construction or other slowdowns, and if there’s challenging weather conditions like rain or snow.
Price: The cost of gas and parking, plus the cost of a rental car if you’re renting one.
Pick up/drop off location: Anywhere you’d like
Summary of Driving from Boston to NYC
Pros: Can drive directly to and from your destination and at any time you’d like.
Cons: You might have trouble finding a place to park, parking can be expensive in big cities.
Bus – Taking the bus between Boston and NYC
Traveling between Boston and NYC by bus is a budget-friendly option. It’s more affordable than taking a train or plane, and comes without the hassle of having to park a car in the city. Buses travel frequently between Boston and New York City, making it a convenient travel option.
Perks of taking the bus over driving a car are that you can spend your time doing something like reading or taking a nap, there’s a bathroom on board, and some buses have Wi-Fi and power outlets.
Estimated travel time: 4.5 to 6 hours. As with traveling by car, traffic when taking the bus can vary greatly depending on the day and time you’re traveling, if there’s any road construction or other slowdowns, and if there’s challenging weather conditions like rain or snow.
Price: Approximately $29 and up one way, but sometimes you can catch a deal for less. Prices can vary based on the day of the week and time you travel, traveling during holiday periods, how far in advance you book your ticket, as well as any promotional deals that are available.
Pick up/drop off location: Most buses in NYC operate out of Port Authority Bus Terminal, which is located at 625 8th Ave. (between 40th Street and 42nd Street) in Manhattan. In Boston, most buses operate out of Boston South Station, which is located at 700 Atlantic Ave. (at the intersection of Summer Street, in Dewey Square).
Summary of Taking the Bus from Boston to NYC
Pros: Inexpensive, don’t have to worry about parking in the city.
Cons: The bus can get stuck in traffic.
Train – Taking the train between Boston and NYC
The train is another convenient way to travel between Boston and New York City. There are two Amtrak trains that go between NYC and Boston numerous times daily: Amtrak Northeast Regional and Amtrak Acela. Taking the train requires booking a ticket in advance that you purchase online or over the phone.
Some perks of riding the train are that it has comfortable seats with no middle seats (window and aisle seats only), free Wi-Fi, a snack car with food and beverages for sale, and power outlets at your seat so you can charge your electronics. There is a bathroom located in each train car.
Amtrak Northeast Regional: The Northeast Regional train is the regular train that travels between NYC and Boston. The Northeast Regional train has coach and business class seats available.
Amtrak Acela: The Acela train is similar to the Amtrak Northeast Regional train, except it’s faster, makes fewer stops between NYC and Boston, the trains are newer and nicer, there are tables at some seats to easily work or eat at, and the ticket price is more expensive. There are business class and first class seats available on this train.
Estimated travel time: Amtrak’s Northeast Regional ranges from approximately 4 hours 15 minutes to 4 hours 36 minutes, and the Acela train ranges from approximately 3 hours 42 minutes to 3 hours 57 minutes.
Price: Amtrak tickets have a wide range, from approximately $45 to over $400 one way. It varies based on the day and time you travel, how far in advance you book your ticket, and if it’s a busy holiday or vacation time.
Pick up/drop off location: In Boston, Amtrak trains stop at both Boston South Station, located at 700 Atlantic Ave. (at the intersection of Summer Street, in Dewey Square), and Boston Back Bay Station, located at 145 Dartmouth St. In New York City, Amtrak trains stop at Moynihan Train Hall, located at 350 W 33rd St. (8th Ave. between 31st Street and 33rd Street) in Manhattan.
Summary of Taking the Train from Boston to NYC
Pros: The train picks up and drops off at convenient locations in both cities, there are nice amenities on board like power outlets, Wi-Fi, a snack car, and many bathrooms, at times it’s a scenic ride as it goes through coastal Connecticut.
Cons: If you don’t purchase a ticket in advance the prices can get really expensive (sometimes more than taking a plane would cost). The Northeast Regional train service has a history of experiencing travel delays.
Plane – Flying between Boston and NYC
If you’re looking for the shortest travel time possible, taking a plane is the way to go. Of course, you’ll have to arrive to the airport early, which adds to your overall travel time. Flying tends to be the most expensive way to travel between New York City and Boston, but you won’t have to deal with the potential road traffic that you’d have to with traveling by car or bus.
Estimated travel time: 1 hour 16 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes nonstop
Price range: Approximately $46 to $450+ one way
Pick up/drop off location: NYC is served by 3 airports: LaGuardia Airport, located in Queens, NY, which is 8.6 miles from Midtown Manhattan; John F. Kennedy International Airport, located in Queens, NY, which is 16.3 miles from Midtown Manhattan; and Newark Liberty International Airport, located on the border of Newark and Elizabeth, NJ, which is 16.7 miles from Midtown Manhattan. Boston is served by Boston Logan International Airport, located on the border of East Boston and Winthrop, MA, which is 3.2 miles from Downtown Boston.
Summary of Flying from Boston to NYC
Pros: Shortest travel time, don’t have to deal with car or bus traffic between the two cities.
Cons: Price can be high, have to get to the airport early, airports in NYC are a greater distance from Manhattan than the bus or train.
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As you’ve seen, there are numerous transportation options for how to travel between Boston and New York City.
With travel options between NYC and Boston happening throughout the day and night, it’s relatively easy to find transportation between the two cities, whether you’re making a quick day trip, a long weekend trip, or taking a weeklong vacation.
It’s up to you to decide whether you want to travel from Boston and New York City by car, bus, train, or airplane. Each comes with its own pros and cons, which we’ve listed out for your consideration. You’ll also want to take into consideration where your destination is in each city and which mode of transportation is most convenient to your destination.
By considering average travel times, drop off and pickup locations in each city, and average prices, you can decide which transportation option between NYC and Boston is right for you.
Have you ever traveled between New York City and Boston? How did you make the trip, and which is your preferred method of travel? Let us know in the comments.