How to Travel on Public Transport Between New York, DC and Boston

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The area of the East Coast between Boston and Washington DC is home to over 50 million people, 5 major metropolitan areas, and a multitude of political, cultural and natural treasures.  Lucky for travelers, it is also one of the most well-connected areas of the United States, making it both cheap and convenient to navigate.  Want to check out Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the Statue of Liberty in New York, and then pop up to Boston for some clam chowder, all in the same weekend?  Here’s some transport ideas on making your next trip through the Mid-Atlantic region a reality.

Please note: Fare and schedule information listed below is for non-peak times and is subject to change.

Greyhound (www.Greyhound.com)

Washington DC to New York –4 hours 20 minutes (or longer), typically $17 one-way

Washington DC to Boston –9 hours 20 minutes (or longer), typically $45 one-way

This long-distance bus service doesn’t have a name for being luxurious, but it can get you (almost) wherever you need to go within North America, especially in urban corridors like this one. Newer buses boast Wi-Fi and electric outlets, but don’t expect that in most cases. Greyhound is often considered the budget choice for transport, but newer carriers like Mega Bus and Bolt Bus (listed below) are proving to be tough competition.

Bolt Bus (www.BoltBus.com)

Washington DC to New York –4 hours 0 minutes, typically $10-13 one-way

Washington DC to Boston – No direct service

This start-up bus company is known for connecting a variety of cities while boasting cheap fares, but it doesn’t always have direct connections to further cities (from Washington DC to Boston, for example).  Seats come with Wi-Fi and electrical outlets, and fares can be as low as $1 if you get lucky.  Reservations can only be made up to six weeks in advance.

Megabus (www.MegaBus.com)

Washington DC to New York –4 hours 30 minutes, typically $21 one-way

Washington DC to Boston –9 hours 40 minutes, typically $79 one-way

This fleet of double-decker buses has routes in the United States, Canada and the UK.  Passengers can make use of electric outlets and Wi-Fi while on the road, and there’s the added bonus of sitting upstairs and watching the world pass by on the ground below.  Fares can also be as low as $1 if you book at the right time.

Amtrak (www.Amtrak.com)

Washington DC to New York – 3 hours 20 minutes, typically $49 on-way

Washington DC to Boston – 7.5 hours, typically $70 one-way

A ride on the nation’s passenger rail system definitely feels more luxurious than its bus counterparts, but the corresponding fares also reflect this fact as well. Wi-Fi is available on some routes, but electric outlets and a café car serving refreshment is almost always available. Faster and more business-oriented service is available on Amtrak’s Acela trains, but fares for that service can jump dramatically.

Jet Blue (www.JetBlue.com)

Washington DC to New York, 1 hour 20 minutes, starting at $49 one-way

Washington DC to Boston, 1 hour 45 minutes, starting at $55 one-way

One of the fastest ways to travel in this area is to fly, but don’t forget about the added time and resources that it takes to get to the airport and navigate through security.  That being said, flying from one city to another is more affordable than ever before, especially on low-cost carriers like Jet Blue.  Fares can cost significantly more on weekends and holidays, but online tools like www.Kayak.com can help you find the cheapest fares for the dates you need to travel.

How do you travel around while on the East Coast?

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About Author

Stephanie Wobensmith is on the road to making her wandering lifestyle a profession. She is pursuing a M.A. in International Education at SIT Graduate Institute in southern Vermont and is currently working at Semester at Sea headquarters in central Virginia. She has also co-managed a backpacker's hostel, coordinated service learning efforts at a community college, and served in AmeriCorps during the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She has lived in Sydney and Dublin, criss-crossed the country on a Greyhound bus, explored Baja California in a Land Cruiser, and roamed the island of Bali and the Indian Subcontinent. A vegetarian of ten years, she adores vegetarian cheesesteaks and green Thai curry.

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