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The Freedom Trail, Fenway Park, and lobster rolls. Boston is one of the cities in the United States to visit since it offers historic sites, great sports teams, and kid-friendly attractions. The question is, how much does it cost to go to Boston? You might be surprised to learn that Boston is one of the more expensive cities in the U.S. to visit. That said, it’s definitely worth it if you’re looking for a quick break.
For the purpose of this itinerary, I’m going to suggest three nights in Boston. It’s likely just enough time for you to see all the major attractions and even a sporting event. If you have time, book an extra day, but 3 nights should do.
|Food and drink||$150|
The above estimate is for a single traveller in American dollars, so please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Platinum Card gives you a signup bonus of up to 85,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $850 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees and it comes with airport lounge access.
Generally speaking, flights from within the United States to Boston shouldn’t run you more than $350 for a return ticket. Those on the east coast shouldn’t have too many problems finding a flight in the $200-$250 range, but if you’re flying from the west, you should budget a little more. Even though Boston is a major city, it’s not a major hub.
Discount carriers such as JetBlue, Frontier, Allegiant Air, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines do fly to Boston so finding reasonably priced airfare shouldn’t be too difficult. Canadians based in Toronto can fly to Boston via Porter which is typically cheaper than Air Canada and WestJet. If you’re travelling from an international destination, you’ll obviously need to budget even more.
I’m going to suggest you budget $300 for your flights as most people travelling to Boston aren’t coming from too far.
From hostels to luxury hotels, Boston has every type of accommodation possible. Generally speaking, $200 a night will get you a mid-range hotel, but you can obviously spend more or less than that. Downtown Crossing, Seaport, and Fenway are the more popular areas for visitors.
If you’re trying to keep costs down, you could go further and get a hotel around South Boston, Harvard, or Cambridge. That said, there are reasonably priced accommodations in many of the popular areas, but it may be a longer walk to the metro. Here are some hotel recommendations
- Hyatt Centric Faneuil Hall Boston
- Residence Inn by Marriott Boston Back Bay/Fenway
- Wyndham Boston Beacon Hill
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. Americans should strongly consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card since you can earn up to 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and $200 back at U.S. restaurants as a welcome bonus.
Canadians should consider the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you up to 55,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. That’s enough points for a few free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $500.
Boston has excellent public transportation which is run by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. You can get around the entire city, including to/from the airport just by using public transit.
To get onto any bus or subway, you’ll need to purchase a CharlieTicket. This is a one time ticket that costs $2.40 each way for the subway and $1.70 for the bus. It’s valid for 2 hours and you can transfer once for free as long as the transportation you’re transferring to costs less than your original fare. E.g. Subway to bus.
CharlieTickets can be purchased at any fare vending machine (found at every station). Children 11 and under ride for free with a paying customer (up to 2 children per customer).
Passes are available and cost the following:
- $12.75 – 1-day pass
- $22.50 – 7-day pass
Depending on where you’re staying, you may not need to take public transportation much. The city is very walkable so you may only end updating public transportation twice a day, plus your journey to/from the airport. In total, you could spend less than $20 on public transportation the entire time you’re in town. If you decide to take an Uber or Lyft to the airport, you may end up only spending about $55 on local transportation.
From museums to historic walks, Boston has tons of attractions that will keep you busy the entire time you’re there. Even if you’re in town for a specific reason such as a sporting event, it’s worth checking out what the city has to offer. One of the best deals on attractions is the Boston CityPASS. For $64, you get access to the following attractions at a discount of 45%.
- New England Aquarium
- Museum of Science
- Boston Harbor City Cruises
- Franklin Park Zoo OR Harvard Museum of Natural History
Other paid attractions worth considering include:
Keep in mind that not all attractions in Boston come with an admission price. There are many free things to do including:
- Walking the Freedom Trail
- Exploring Harvard and Cambridge
- U.S.S. Constitution Museum
- Granary Burying Ground
- Boston Public Library
- Bunker Hill Monument
Overall, I would recommend budgeting $75 for attractions, but you could easily spend much less.
Food and drink
Boston is a very diverse city so you’ll have no problem finding any cuisine you can think of. A lobster roll from the Faneuil Hall Marketplace or Quincy Market is a must even though it’s arguably overpriced. How much you spend is up to you, but this is what I recommend you budget each day.
- Breakfast – $7
- Lunch – $13
- Dinner – $30
That’s a total of $50 a day which admittedly sounds like a lot, but I find Boston to be an expensive city. Dinner assumes you’re sitting down at a restaurant, so you need to factor in tax and a tip. If you get takeout for everything, you could reduce your costs.
I personally don’t think you should cheap out on food. Sure, you could probably save $60, but you’re only going to be there for three days. Is saving $20 a day that important? I’d rather not worry about it and spend my money on great food such as clam chowder, cannolis, Boston cream pie, and Fenway franks.
If you’re visiting Boston, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to spend a lot on shopping, but you’ll want to set aside an extra $100 for any random expenses that come up. You may decide to go see a few extra attractions or you might want to enjoy some of Boston’s cool coffee shops.
The extra $100 could also cover the cost of getting around if you don’t want to take public transportation. As for souvenirs, there’s nothing really that stands out about Boston unless you’re a fan of one of their sports teams.
So how much does it cost to go to Boston? I recommend budgeting US $1,280 but you can likely shave $100-300 depending on where you stay, what you eat, and how much you’ll spend on random expenses. Boston is indeed an expensive city, but it’s a great alternative to New York City, Chicago, and Toronto.
For more inspiration, check out my guides on Universal Studios Orlando, Seattle, Istanbul, India, Switzerland, Orlando, Ireland, and Bali.
You should plan to spend around $203 per day on your vacation in Boston, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, $40 on meals for one day and $28 on local transportation. Also, the average hotel price in Boston for a couple is $265.
Some estimates have found to live in Boston you should have a household income of $120,900. Of course, this figure can scale up or down depending on the number of bedrooms you need. Once again, the $120,900 income figure is based on a 2-bedroom apartment with a monthly rent of $2,900 per month.
You might be surprised to learn that Boston is one of the more expensive cities in the U.S. to visit. That said, it's definitely worth it if you're looking for a quick break.
When is the Most Affordable Time to Visit Boston? If you're looking to save during your trip, we suggest heading to the city during the winter months, particularly in January or February. Because late winter is considered a prime off-season, visitors can catch great deals on flights, hotels, and attractions.
|Meal in a cheap restaurant||20 USD (14-30)|
|Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course||80 USD (60-120)|
|McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)||10.00 USD (9.00-13)|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)||6.50 USD (4.00-8.00)|
|Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)||8.00 USD (7.00-10.00)|
Like any other major city, you can use cash, credit, or debit cards in most places.
The minimum salary to be happy in Massachusetts is $139,125, compared with $114,975 in the Granite State. The findings were based on a Purdue study published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, which reviewed how income, emotional well-being and life satisfaction are all connected.
|Milk (regular), (1 gallon)||4.02$|
|Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)||3.44$|
|Rice (white), (1 lb)||1.82$|
|Eggs (regular) (12)||3.40$|
Cost of Living Comparison Between New York, NY and Boston, MA.
|City||Cost of Living Index|
|New York, NY||100|
Boston is a walking city and is fairly small as easy to navigate on foot or by train. A car isn't necessary in Boston. Parking in the city will cost you $40+ a day, and more if you are staying overnight, depending on the area.
Being close to other major cities and hubs makes Boston an incredibly attractive place to live. That's another reason why it's so expensive. Being nearby other major cities is an important factor for business travelers. It's also essential for residents that have family and friends in nearby major cities.
Exploring Boston without a car is pretty much possible. The choice is yours: Do you want to take a tour in a car or not? If you chose not to bring your own car, you can always rent a car or use public transportation to save money along the way. There's always the choice to get around the city on foot, scooter, or bike.
The best time to visit Boston is from June to October. Mild autumn weather makes touring around on foot a joy. And even though summer brings in swarms of tourists and expensive hotel rates, the sidewalk cafes, baseball games and outdoor concerts make it worth a trip.
So how many days do you need to visit Boston? Most people visit for three to four days, and I think that's a perfect amount of time. As someone who's lived there, I can say that, since Boston is so small, you won't waste a lot of time “in transit,” so you can pack a lot into your days.
The average price of a 7-day trip to Boston is $2,369 for a solo traveler, $4,255 for a couple, and $7,976 for a family of 4. Boston hotels range from $131 to $484 per night with an average of $207, while most vacation rentals will cost $280 to $610 per night for the entire home.
|Budget dinner||A sit-down dinner won't be cheap but there are good reasonable options if you ask around.||13.00 - 19.00|
|Beer (pint)||Most bars in tourist areas will charge the top end of this range, but there are cheap dive bars as well.||6.00 - 9.00|
The coldest month of the year is January, with an average high temperature of 36 °F or 2.2 °C, and an average low temperature of 22 °F or −5.6 °C. Boston has seen 70 °F or 21.1 °C twice in recorded history during February. The highest recorded temperature for February was 73 °F or 22.8 °C on February 23, 2017.
Food Cost. Food costs 24% more in Eastern Massachusetts (which includes the Boston Metropolitan Area) than in the rest of the nation. This makes it one of the most expensive places in the country to eat. The average person in Boston should budget around $349 every month for food.
Cashless Payment System
Credit and debit cards, in addition to touch payments such as Apple Pay, will now be the required payment form for concessions.
The Boston Red Sox announced that cash would no longer be accepted at Fenway Park concession stands for the 2022 season ahead of the home opener.
Anyone with cash can load their cash onto a Mastercard debit card using one of the many Cash-2-Card kiosks around the park.
The general consensus is that you should have $50 to $100 in cash per day for each traveler. However, this amount could vary considerably depending on where you are vacationing. Some destinations are more cash-friendly than others.
There is no federal statute mandating that businesses must accept currency. But under Massachusetts law, retail establishments have to take cash.
Rice says that a reasonable baseline is between $50 to $100 per day per traveler. Again, this is just an average. The amount of money already accounted for your trip, plus where you are going are the two biggest factors that make or break how much money you'll really need.
Generally speaking, USD is preferred, so just bring a stack of ones with you for meals, drinks, and housekeeping. I find that bringing $100-$200 for a week is usually plenty.
You can get better rates by ordering foreign currency from your local bank or credit union before you start your trip. Correct! Banks and credit unions generally offer the best exchange rates, and many won't charge extra fees to exchange currency. Remember to order the foreign currency before you start your trip.
Money belts and neck wallets — those flat, cloth pouches that fit under your clothes — are the traditional ways to carry money safely while you're traveling. They're meant to escape the notice of pickpockets and muggers, and some even have RFID blocking to keep your credit card and passport information safe.
In a major change in payment options, Fenway Park will no longer be accepting cash as a payment method. Credit and debit cards, in addition to touch payments such as Apple Pay, will now be the required payment form for concessions.
Fans who are heading to Fenway Park for the Red Sox' home opener will notice some changes. Fenway's new policy allows fans to purchase pre-paid cards with cash that they can then use at concession stands.
Guests may not bring outside food and/or beverage items into the arena at any time. Guests must dispose of the unauthorized items prior to entrance into the arena. TD Garden will not check-in or store any food or beverage items.
The average person will spend about $1800-$2500 on a one week vacation. That's estimating $210-$310 a day for hotel and food, and just under $400 for airfare. That doesn't include car expenses or attraction tickets and tours.
A small "snack sized" zip lock bag is the perfect size for bills and keeps things nice and dry.
How Much Money Can You Take On a Plane Per Family? While there is no limit to how much money can be brought on a plane per individual or family, the required declaration limit of $10,000 still applies – i.e. families are seen as individuals as far as declarations are concerned.
Do I Need to Tip at an All-Inclusive Resort? While tipping is a discretionary and optional gesture, at all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and others, it is certainly encouraged.
You have the $1 -$5 meal and drinks guideline, but what do you tip your maid? Again this is a generic number and you can adjust as you see fit, but $2 -$3/day for maid service is the average. A bellhop or room service tip is about $1 -$2 as well.
However, if you stay at an all-inclusive resort, you will probably never even see a bill! For this reason, around $5, or 100 pesos, is an acceptable tip amount for table or a la carte service.