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Travel New York City to/from Boston

Boston is 216 miles (346 km) northeast of New York City, a 4-hour drive. Here's how to decide whether your trip between New York City and Boston should be by car, bus, train or plane.

Car, Bus, Train or Plane?

The trip between New York City (Manhattan) and Boston MA (map) is 216 miles (346 km).

Travel time is between 3 and 5 hours, no matter how you travel.

It's between 4.5 and 5 hours driving time (car or bus) under normal conditions, usually less by train or plane.

Consider three factors: time, cost and comfort/ convenience.

 

Car

Bus

Train

Plane

Time

4.5-5 hr 4.5-5 hr 3.5-4.5 hr 3-4 hr

Cost

$35+Pkg $20-$99 $49-$211 $69-$170+

Comfort

Low-Med Low-Med Med-Hi Low

Want my recommendation? Take the train if you can.

New England Maps

Here are hundreds Google of maps to New England, plus suppliers of paper maps and nautical charts.

Train

Train tickets may be discounted up to 25% if you buy your ticket 14 or 21 days before travel.

Amtrak's business-class Acela Express trains cover the distance between New York City's Moynihan Train Hall at Pennsylvania Station and Boston's South Station, city center to city center, in 3 hours and 42 minutes for $123 to $211 one-way, in high comfort. There are power outlets for your laptop and phone, Wifi Internet, you can get up from your seat and walk around, go to the café for snacks, light meals and drinks (including alcoholic beverages). You can bring up to four suitcases with you for free. It's a civilized way to travel. More...

Amtrak Ticket Office in Moynihan Train Hall, New York City
Amtrak Ticket Office in Moynihan Train Hall, New York City
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Amtrak's normal Northeast Regional trains take slightly longer (4-1/4 hours to 5-1/4 hours), but are still comfortable, and cost less: $49 to $155 one-way. Fares vary by season, date and departure time. More...

Bus

Hourly buses every day, city center to city center, by budget bus lines with one-way fares of $20 to $35 and, for higher fares, more comfortable buses competing with train and plane fares on the 4.5-hour trip (longer in heavy traffic).

The cheapest buses have low comfort and may travel at night, but get the job done. Luxury buses can be cheaper and more comfortable than the train, with Wifi, movies, snacks and drinks, toilets, but they take a bit longer than the train, and the ride is bumpier. More...

Plane

New York City has six airports. The Boston area has four (Boston-Logan, Manchester-Boston, TF Green Airport in Providence RI, and Worcester MA Airport).

Boston-Logan (BOS) is closest to the city center; the others are about an hour's drive from Boston.

Terminal E, Boston-Logan International Airport
Terminal E, Boston-Logan International Airport

Fares for the one-hour, one-way flight range from $69 to $153 and up, but to the airfare you must add the costs of transfers to and from the airports in New York City and Boston.

Total ground-transport costs can range from $12 for subway in both cities, to $20 or $25 for airport shuttle buses, to $70 or more for taxis. Some airports are not served by the cheapest public transport, so you'll pay more.

You must also take into account the time needed to go to and from the airports, which depends upon the city, the airport, traffic, and the time of day:

—The trip by taxi or rideshare app car between Boston city center and Logan Airport can be as short as 15 minutes, more in heavy traffic.

—By taxi, rideshare app car or airport bus between Manhattan and John F Kennedy International Airport may be an hour or more in rush-hour traffic. Airtrain is a faster, cheaper, better way to go.

...as well as the time needed for airline check-in, security inspection, walking to and from gates, finding and/or waiting for ground transport, etc.

In general, you should allow at least three hours, and more normally four hours, for the journey by air between New York City and Boston, city center to city center.

Car

It's 216 miles (346 km) between New York City (Manhattan) and Boston MA (map), taking between 4.5 and 5 hours driving time under normal conditions. If traffic is heavy, it may take 5.5 hours or more. Follow I-95 to I-84 to I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike; map).

Car Rental

Renting a car in New York City or Boston can be an expensive hassle, but may make sense if you have several in your traveling party (3 or 4+ travelers), and/or you don't plan to go directly between the two cities, but rather to make a tour of other places along the way.

Compare rental prices and costs here:

Car Travel Costs

In a car getting 25 miles per gallon of fuel, and fuel costing $3.50 per US gallon, the one-way cost of the drive, including tolls, may be about $45. But then...there's the substantial cost and hassle of parking your car in New York (about $100 per 24 hours in Midtown Manhattan), which can easily exceed the other costs of transport; and the cost of a rental car if you're not driving your own.

Driving your own car gives you total freedom, but you must spend your time driving, and contend with traffic, which can be very heavy through Connecticut. In terms of traffic, it is not a pleasant drive. (I've driven it thousands of times, and on one trip my car, stopped on the highway by heavy traffic, was hit by another car at 60 mph and totally wrecked.)

Even if your car is a luxury model, comfort is less than on a train, where you can get up, walk around, plug in your laptop or mobile phone, relax, answer your email, sleep, etc.