NYC, Boston, DC Under $500 (part 1)

Click here for part two, NYC.

8 school weeks into the new year, middle of high school soccer season- it’s always around this time that the semester really hits us hard as teachers. Spring Break couldn’t be coming at a better time. Wednesday night we came home needing “a break” and Saturday morning we were on a plane to New York City. Completely…winging…it.

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 The only thing we had set in stone was our hotel in NYC and our flights. We flew into JFK and we were flying home from Dulles in DC. So, we knew 3 things: 1. Where we would stay in NYC for 2 nights, 2. We had to get to DC by the end of the week, and 3. We wanted to stop in Boston on the way. That’s it. Pretty tough to believe, since I am pretty sure I am normally the most overly-planned person you’ll ever meet.

To risk sounding like a PBS broadcast, this trip was made possible by Priceline.com. We’ve all seen the commercials, and before this vacation, I had always grouped them in with companies like hotels.com, booking.com, Expedia, and travelocity. However the Name Your Price Tool is LEGIT. We pricelined our hotel in NYC, Boston, and DC.

Our second ‘secret’ to our cheap vacation was Megabus. I would never have gotten on a public charter for hours without the coaxing of my wonderful husband, but I am so glad we did this. Not only did it only cost us $8 each to get from Boston to NYC and another $8 to get to DC, we got to see the lovely countryside on our way. The trip was only 4 hours between each city, so we caught up on a movie trilogy and caught a few z’s from the upper deck.

We started the trip out by naming our price in a Boston suburb hotel for $75 a night. We figured we would low-ball our very first Priceline NYP, just to see what would happen. And hey, if something went wrong, we would only be out $75…I guess. Within minutes, the “ding!” came in from Gmail, and someone had accepted our offer!

The hotel that picked up our offer had a free shuttle to the airport metro (which is something we specified as a preference). I can confidently share that the room we had was 4 star quality, as was the rest of the hotel. Although we stayed a little further outside of the city, we were smart in making sure the hotel we got would have a shuttle to the Metro/Bus Station.

The first night we went to the bar and made friends with some of the people in for a huge business convention, and called it a night.

My tip for keeping Boston affordable would be to wear your best walking shoes and walk everywhere!

Boston was like no other place in the US that I have ever seen. We walked the freedom trail (free), had our one fancy meal of the trip at Neptune’s Oyster Bar (amazing) for my Birthday (not free), hiked to the USS Constitution museum (free to military members), then to Bunker Hill (free to look at), and then took the train back to the hotel. The next day we took the train to Finway Park and hopped off to start another hike around town, viewing the WWII memorial , University District, local parks, and uppety town homes that Zillow confirmed Texas high school teachers would never have the luxury of living in (all free). We found that just walking the serene, quiet neighborhood near Bunker Hill and Boston University were the highlight of our trip (and completely free). boston2

Our time in Boston was short lived, and we will definitely visit again, but it was time to jump on another Megabus and head down to Washington DC!

  1. Stay just outside the city, but make sure you can reach a Metro line to get you into town
  2. Walk everywhere in Boston. You will save money and you are sure to stumble upon gems hidden down cobblestone alleys. 
  3. Spend some money on a Lobster Roll (and Oysters). Worth it! 
  4. We did not actually step foot inside any “tourist” spots, and still learned a lot, experienced history, and had a BLAST in Boston.
  5. Out of the 3 cities, The Boston Metro was the sketchiest, most cramped, and dirtiest. Again, walk! 

 

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