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Coach or car hire between Boston and NYC (with kids!)

(19 Posts)
LauraPashley Tue 25-Feb-14 20:38:25

We are going to be based in Boston for our holiday, but traveling to NYC for 2 nights. Kids are 6 and 2 (almost 3).
Budget is tight, and I've just costed out Amtrak, which I thought would be the best bet so the kids could get up, walk about etc, and it's around £180 return.
I know the bus is only about $20 dollars a head, but would it be a killer with the LOs? And if I'm spending more, would it all just be easier in the car?!!! Aaaargg!
Anyone done this that could advise? Thanks!

IsItSafeToDance Tue 25-Feb-14 20:50:01

I don't have and DC (yet!) but have done the coach trip to NYC from Boston recently, it's about 4 and a half hours total, there is a stop off for the loo and to get some food, but other than that you're in the seat the whole time. The coaches are just like English ones, so nothing fancy, everyone's pretty tightly packed.

It was fine for me and the DH and we know of a couple of families who've done the same trip on the coach with their DCs who we're 7 and 4, and they said it was ok. Other families took the train, which they said was great, and we know others who drove up and said the trip was fine. Driving over here is pretty easy (as long as you can cope with driving on the wrong side!) and there are loads of car hire places in Boston.

Have you had a look at flying to New York from Boston too? Occasionally people have been able to get some good cheap deals, and the flying time is only an hour...

Hope you enjoy your holiday! If you need any tips about things to see when you're out here, let me know!

LauraPashley Tue 25-Feb-14 22:46:45

Thanks so much! I feel slightly panicked at the thought of 4 1/2 hrs on a bus, esp with the 2 year old!! At least on the train there is the option of getting out of your seat every now and again?
Dh and I have been to Boston and NYC before, although it is about 8yrs ago now, and I remember clearly being stuck on a broken down cape cod- NYC bus, not something I am keen to repeat with children in tow!!
Re car hire - I think dh's stress levels driving into downtown Manhattan might spoil our whole trip grin . Is there anywhere on the outskirts that would be a suitable car drop off point?

IsItSafeToDance Wed 26-Feb-14 00:28:22

If it was just you and DH, I'd say the bus is fine, but with the DCs, might be a bit tricky. There is a luxury bus called the limoliner, which is much nice, but much more expensive, $89 one-way per person, and more like being in an plane (you get a little snack and a film to watch) but it's not exactly cheaper than the train.

Trains over here are really great, lots more space than the british ones and there definitely is space to get up and roam about and they go straight into manhattan from the centre of Boston which is nice!

Not sure about best places to park cars outside of manhattan as never been brave enough myself to drive in, friends that have done it had relatives just outside the city that they parked with, which was useful! Wonder if driving to one of the airports outside the city, dropping the car off at a car hire company and getting a cab in from there might be an option?

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 26-Feb-14 08:39:11

Cheap is not always cheerful however.

I'd use the Amtrak train service rather than the plane (especially that because that will cost a small fortune) and the coach particularly as you have small children in tow. Also the train would arrive into the centre of the city.

Would not drive down to NYC either; its over 200 miles in each direction and the parking issue is going to be stressful as well as expensive. If you park say at Newark airport, then it could easily take another hour on top and more expense by taxi ($50 up) to arrive into the centre of Manhattan.

ProbablyJustGas Wed 26-Feb-14 09:27:22

I would recommend springing for the train too, especially with children. would not fancy driving a car either out of Boston or into manhattan - the congestion is a nightmare in both cities and the cities' infrastructure can be really complicated to navigate.

I am from massachusetts and have taken the train into nyc a few times - it's a nice journey and there are toilets and usually a dining car. you would not have easy access to these in a rent a car - there are service stations along some parts of the highway, but otherwise you'd be pulling off into towns for bathroom breaks and mcd's. there would be a toilet on the bus, but unless you bring a huge supply of snacks, food is limited to the bus pit stops.

I have also gotten horribly lost driving out of Boston and managed to get onto completely the wrong highway - some of the signs are deliberately misleading for tax purposes - and added two hours to a journey. This was just last summer!

ProbablyJustGas Wed 26-Feb-14 09:32:06

there is a lot more leg room on the train than on the bus too. save feeling squashed for the plane home wink

MadCap Wed 26-Feb-14 09:36:23

The train route between NYC and Boston is quite scenic as well especially where it skirts the coast in Connecticut.

MillyMollyMama Wed 26-Feb-14 13:55:59

We have done Boston to NYC on the train with children. Way the best option. Train leaves from Central Boston and arrives at Penn Street NYC. No waiting around at the airport and no expensive shuttles from JFK or wherever into the city. Parking would cost a fortune in NYC and driving a major headache. Get the train. It is a no brainer. My children were amused for most of the time and arriving into NYC is fabulous. The skyline is what you imagine. Make sure you go in daylight.

LauraPashley Wed 26-Feb-14 17:32:43

Oooft my credit card is hurting already!! I think you have all confirmed what I was thinking, dh will disagree and want to drive, but I think parking on top of car hire will (hopefully) make it prohibitive.
The fare I quoted above is actually massively reduced when you compare it to the normal fares, as it is a 14 day advance purchase saver rate - the other tickets are crazy prices!
And I am REALLY excited thinking about seeing the NYC skyline come into view!!
Thank you all for posting!
Any other top tips very welcome grin

TheZeeTeam Wed 26-Feb-14 17:37:47

Where are you staying in NYC? Your hotel may offer subsidized parking. And driving into NYC is nowhere near as stressful as you would imagine.

Personally, I would drive but then I find driving easiest and we do road trips a lot.

LauraPashley Thu 27-Feb-14 19:59:56

Thank you! We are in the beacon, upper west side, hadn't thought of asking them re parking, that's a good shout. I am a pathetic driver and couldn't begin to drive on the other side, never mind in NYC but dh is up for it, I just know how quickly he could potentially lose the plot!

Willabywallaby Mon 03-Mar-14 21:52:49

My brother lives in Boston and we visited him 2 years ago at Easter DSs were 3 and 6, took train to New York and had a great time. Enjoy!

LauraPashley Tue 04-Mar-14 17:38:44

Oh thank you! You survived the journey then?! Are your children generally well behaved and biddable tho?!

What was the weather like for you?

Hulababy Tue 04-Mar-14 18:17:07

We drove when we did it. Picked up a car near our hotel in Manhattan and thn drove over the during the day. Car hire wasn't too bad at al, though we did have a one way fee to pay on top.

LauraPashley Thu 06-Mar-14 23:06:12

OOh a voice of dissent! I have been showing DH the replies, might not show him yours ha ha! was it easy enough to figure out the car seats?

Hulababy Fri 07-Mar-14 15:21:32

Dd only had a booster as was older. We had a travel one anyway.

We did NYC to Boston so maybe easier. Was a lot cheaper. Probably not shorter in time though.

Dh has driven into NYC too, last summer - from Washington. He reckons because of the one way cross system it is pretty easy.

Willabywallaby Sat 08-Mar-14 10:31:24

The journey on the train was fine. On the way back from NY the train was delayed and I thought we weren't going to get a seat together but people moved so I sat with one and DH sat with the other. We had portable DVD players (£50 each from asda and still going). I would say they're pretty average boys behaviour wise.

Weather was good in NY, sunny with a bit of a cold wind, DSs ran about Central Park in their T-Shirts. Friend went week before and it was colder.

LauraPashley Sun 09-Mar-14 10:39:59

Yes I think from looking online that April seems to be the turning point in that part of the country weather wise! Hoping for more sun during our 2nd week. Glad to hear you survived the journey, I think with the advance booking saver fares it is looking cheaper than the car, and dd2 needs the palaver of a 5 point fastening etc etc. getting excited now!

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