Logo   Budget Travel in New England USA
Traveling on a thrifty budget in New England means not just looking for discounts and special deals (although that's important), but adhering to a certain lifestyle.


New England is among the USA's more expensive regions, but it offers value for money. Here are some sample prices:

Hostel dorm bed in central Boston



Inexpensive city-center hotel, double room



State park tent-camping site, per night



Sandwich/light lunch & drink in a resort area



Dinner in simple restaurant, 2 courses & drink



New York City - Boston bus ticket, one-way



MBTA bus/subway (Metro) fare, Boston



Admission to Boston Museum of Fine Arts



Boston Duck Tour



Money-Saving Tips

Here are tips on how to enjoy New England's pleasures for less money:

Hiking and camping in New Hampshire's White Mountains rather than spending several days at an expensive country inn resort.

—Taking a day-cruise along the Maine coast rather than a multi-day voyage aboard a Maine windjammer.

—Taking the ferry to Cape Cod, Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard for a day-trip rather than staying the night there.

—Eschewing the pricey Italian restaurants of Boston's North End, gathering picnic supplies in one of its Italian groceries.

—Attending weekday music and dance performances at summer arts festivals (such as in Massachusetts' Berkshire Hills) rather than the more-expensive performances on weekends.

Here are more specific tips:


Hostelling International has fine travelers' hostels in Bennington VT, Bethel ME, Boston MA, Cape Cod MA (Eastham, Hyannis & Truro), Littleton MA (west of Boston), Martha's Vineyard MA, Nantucket MA, and White River Junction VT.

Larger cities (such as Boston) and the most popular resort areas (for example, Bar Harbor ME) may have other independent hostels and budget hotels as well.

Reserve your bed(s) in advance, particularly in popular destinations such as Boston, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, as these will always be fully booked in high season (summer, autumn foliage season, holidays).

Here's how to find and use a New England campground.

Food & Drink

Think picnics! New England has an endless variety of places to picnic, from organized picnic areas in parks to sidewalk benches and rock walls looking out to sea. Many grocery stores and supermarkets—and the Boston Public Market—now offer quite a vairety of prepared foods making picnics even easier. Take advantage!

Drink Water, Save Money

Any quick-stop place to buy food or snacks will have a cold case or vending machine filled with expensive soft drinks and bottled water.

Although some fast-food and light-meal take-out restaurants will fulfill a request for a glass of water, some will suggest that you buy a bottle of water ($1 to $2.50) instead.

Bring your own water bottle, fill it at taps or drinking fountains, and always have it with you, even in restaurants. This will save lots of money on drinks.

In food courts (collections of prepared food sellers with common seating), there is usually a drinking fountain available, often near the toilets. Fill your water bottle there.

About 50 billion plastic water bottles are sold annually in the USA, but only 23% of them are recycled—a colossal waste of money and resources. More...


Going by bus between New York City and Boston can be cheap or expensive, depending on the company, the departure time, when and how you buy your ticket. Research the possibilities ahead of time and find the bargains.

For trains, a few Amtrak Regional trains traveling between New York and Boston are almost as fast as the Acela high-speed, but at a lower fare. Study the schedules and look for the faster trains.


Bostix, selling same-day half-price tickets to theaters, concerts and other events in Boston is a good example of what to look for.

You can save up to 46% on Boston's 5 best attractions with CityPASS. More...

Many museums have discounted or even free admission at certain times. For Boston's superb Museum of Fine Arts, Youth (7 to 17) admission is free on weekends, holidays, and on weekdays after 3 pm.

Lots of cities, towns and even villages sponsor free concerts and plays in parks during the summer.

—by Tom Brosnahan

Cost of Travel in NE

Food & Drink in NE

Packing Tips


Tick-Borne Illnesses

Travel Safety

New England Highlights


Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Arts Boston (Bostix) kiosk, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston MA

Arts Boston: cheap same-day theater,
concert & event tickets in Boston. More...


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