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Traveling the Boston/New York City/Washington D.C. Route

chinatown corner new york city Bus
Who: Greyhound, "Chinatown" bus services and several newer bus services. The "Chinatown" buses are called this because they are most often operated by Chinese tour companies and have a pick-up or drop-off point in the city's Chinatown area. In the past few years, Greyhound introduced BoltBus, which runs between New York, Boston and Washington D.C. (and also stops in Philadelphia). MegaBus, another new service, also operates between major U.S. cities.

Cities Served: Boston, New York, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

Cost: BoltBus offers fares anywhere from a measly $1 each way up to about $25. MegaBus also has some rates for $5 or less, with others rising to more than $20 each way. The majority of the "Chinatown" buses cost $15 each way for travel between Boston and New York and about $20 each way for travel between New York and Washington D.C. Greyhound offers fares starting at $15 each way between Boston and New York or between New York and D.C., with advance purchase.

Travel Time: About four hours between Boston and New York in light traffic and about five hours between New York and Washington D.C.

  • The price of the bus is less than you would pay in gas and tolls, and you won't have to deal with parking once you get to your destination city.
  • The "Chinatown" buses require no advance purchase, though many are sold out during rush-hour travel times.
  • There are several companies to choose from in each destination city. Between New York and Boston: BoltBus, Fung Wah, Greyhound, Lucky Star, Boston Deluxe and MegaBus. Between New York and Washington D.C.: Greyhound, Washington Deluxe, BoltBus and MegaBus.
  • With so many options, you're unlikely to get shut out, even on busy travel days.

  • Travelers are at the mercy of traffic and there may be limited onboard entertainment (although Greyhound has added electrical outlets and Wi-Fi to its new buses).
  • Many employees of the "Chinatown" buses speak limited English.
  • The "Chinatown" buses can be less reliable than other options, as breakdowns do occur.

    To search fares on multiple bus companies at once, try Busbud.com.

    Who: Somewhere between a bus and a limousine lies LimoLiner. The 28-passenger luxury shuttle has many amenities, particularly for the business traveler.

    Cities Served: Boston and New York only.

    Cost: $49 - $89 each way.

    Travel Time: About four hours in light traffic.

  • The service is chock-full of amenities including wireless Internet access at each seat, a pillow and blanket, complimentary meals, and onboard entertainment.
  • Reclining leather seats make for a comfortable ride.

  • Limited departures make the LimoLiner a little less convenient. There are three to five departures from each city per day, depending on which day of the week you travel. Click here for schedule.

    family car travel fun road trip Driving
    Who: You, traveling in your car. (Under certain circumstances you may want to consider renting a car instead -- if your own vehicle gets poor gas mileage, for example, or if you're leasing your car and don't want to put too many miles on it.)

    Cities Served: Boston, New York, Washington D.C. and any destination in between.

    Cost: Depends on your route and the gas mileage of your vehicle. Assuming you get 25 miles per gallon and gas costs $3 a gallon, you'll pay about $53 to drive one way from D.C. to Boston. (You can use our gas calculator to figure out the exact price for your journey.) Don't forget to add in tolls, parking expenses and rental fees (if applicable). You'll also want to keep in mind the less tangible wear and tear on your vehicle.

    Travel Time: About four hours in light traffic between Washington D.C. and New York or between New York and Boston.

  • You can make your own travel schedule, departing whenever is convenient for you and stopping as necessary for food and bathroom breaks.
  • The more people traveling in your group, the more cost-effective an option this is.
  • If you need a car in your destination city, driving yourself is almost always cheaper than renting a vehicle once you get there.

  • You'll be at the mercy of traffic along your route, particularly if your trip coincides with rush hour in any of these cities.
  • Parking downtown in any of these three cities can be inconvenient and expensive.

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    --written by Genevieve S. Brown; updated by Sarah Schlichter

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