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Traveling across the Northeast Corridor can be confusing if you don’t know which way to get to your favorite weekend spot is the best. Here, we lay out some of the cheapest and fastest ways to get the biggest cities in the northeast from Philly.
Amtrak’s Acela Express – This train will take you a little over five hours to take to Boston, saving you about 50 minutes of time compared to the Northeast Regional train. But you’re going to pay for it. One-way tickets purchased two weeks in advance run between $250 and $275.
Greyhound – $51 for a one-way ticket, purchased two weeks in advance, with a transfer in New York. Philly Greyhound picks up on the 1000 block of Filbert Street in the Market East area. Trip length: 9 hours.
The $14 Bolt Bus to New York, then purchase a separate ticket for a $37 Bolt Bus to Boston. Total cost, $51. You save: $14 (but pick up a bit of hassle).
Amtrak – $96 one-way in coach via the Northeast Regional train when purchased two weeks in advance. Get a 10 percent discount with a AAA card or a student ID. Trip length: 5 hours, 50 minutes.
Greyhound Express – $54 one-way for an express, and there’s still a transfer in New York. Trip length: 7 hours, 45 minutes.
Mega Bus – $85 one-way when purchased two weeks in advance with no transfer. The Mega Bus picks up at 30th Street Station in Philly and drops off at South Station in Boston. Trip length: 7 hours, 30 minutes.
Bolt Bus – $65 one-way when purchased two weeks in advance. Will pick you up at 30th Street in Philly and drop you off at South Station in Boston. Trip length: 6 hours, 30 mins.
Drive – Trip length: 5 hours, 2 minutes with tolls and about $50 in gas one-way. And then you’ll have pay for parking on top of that.
Amtrak’s Acela Express – In an hour and 15 minutes, you can be in New York City, saving more than 20 minutes compared to Amtrak’s Northeast Regional Rail. Tickets cost around $100 one-way purchased two weeks in advance.
Bolt Bus – $14 purchased two weeks in advance. The bus will pick you up at 30th Street in Philly and will drop you off at West 33rd St. and 12th Ave. Trip length: 2 hours.
It’s $30 to and from NYC via SEPTA and NJ Transit, but it’s not going to be quick. At 30th Street Station, there’s a NJ Transit ticket machine next to the SEPTA ticket window — you’ll want to get a ticket from 30th Street Station to New York Penn Station. From there, you’ll take SEPTA’s train to Trenton, and then transfer to NJ Transit. Total trip time can be up to three hours depending on how long you’re waiting in Trenton.
Amtrak – $54 one-way to Penn Station for a coach seat on the Northeast Regional train, scheduled two weeks in advance. Get a 10 percent discount with a AAA card or a student ID. Trip length: 1 hour, 37 minutes
Greyhound – $20 purchased two weeks in advance, trip length: 2 hours, will drop you off at the Port Authority Bus Terminal
Mega Bus – $27 purchased two weeks in advance, trip length: 2 hours, 10 minutes, will pick up at 30th Street Station and drop off at 7th Ave. and 28th St. in New York.
Drive – You can drive to New York City in about two hours (assuming you don’t hit traffic, lol good luck) via the New Jersey Turnpike and I-95N, and there’ll also be tolls. You’ll use well under a tank of gas for a round-trip, but be prepared to pay steep parking fees once you get into the city.
Or, rather than driving into New York and paying for parking, you can drive to Northern New Jersey, park there and take public transit into the city. For instance, I head to Secaucus Junction if I’m driving. The parking is $29 a day, but it goes down to $9 a day on Saturdays and Sundays. From there, you can take a train straight to Penn Station in New York for $4.
Amtrak’s Acela Express – You can get an Acela ticket to DC for about $116 when purchased two weeks in advance. The total trip length will be about 1 hour, 35 minutes, and shaves off about 25 minutes of ride time compared to the Northeast Regional.
Greyhound – $28 purchased two weeks in advance, trip length: 3 hours, 30 mins. Will drop you off at Union Station.
If you’re only heading to DC for a day or two and so choose to drive, you’ll need to ditch the ride. You can park at either Union Station ($19 a day) or Reagan National Airport ($12 a day) and then cab or shuttle it into the city from there.
Amtrak – $53 via the Northeast Regional train for a coach seat that’s scheduled two weeks in advance. Will need to pay for transportation when you get there through D.C.’s Metro (which is very nice when you’re underground, if I do say so myself). Trip length: About 1 hour, 50 minutes
Mega Bus – $29 purchased two weeks in advance, trip length 2 hours, 55 minutes. Will drop you off at Union Station.
Drive – The drive to Washington, D.C. is about two hours and 25 minutes without traffic. Plan to spend a bit of money on tolls on the way, and much less than a tank of gas for a round trip. Once there, parking can be tricky and will vary depending on where you are in the city. A good amount of the garages close at night, and don’t even try to get involved with street parking in D.C. See above for information on parking outside the city.