1 night at the InterContinental Boston in a water view room: free
Museum of Science admission for 3: free
New England Aquarium admission with library pass: $10 each
Boston Express bus ticket for 3, roundtrip: $40
This year for February school vacation week, a family trip was not in the budget. So I cobbled together a quick overnight trip to Boston for nearly free!
Transportation: The easiest way to get to Boston for us is the Boston Express bus. It’s so convenient to drive to the bus station in North Londonderry (or sometimes Manchester) and take the leisurely 1 hour ride into Boston. Buses run every hour (or less), and it saves the frustration of driving in Boston, and is also cheaper than any parking garage you might end up in. With a full adult fare, you get one child for free, and subsequent children use the child fare. So for the three of us, our roundtrip ticket to South Station and back was only $40. Conveniently, South Station was a 5 minute walk from our hotel……
Hotel: The InterContinental Boston hotel is right on the waterfront, and an easy walk from South Station and also the harbor where the Aquarium and other attractions are. I used my IHG annual free night benefit to score our room for the night. With my Platinum Elite status (and/or most likely because it’s just not a popular time of year) we were lucky enough to be upgraded to a gorgeous 10th floor water view room! They also let us check in early. We were there at about 12:30 and check in wasn’t until 3:00. It was great to be able to drop off our suitcase and check out the room. This room would have cost $500, so that was quite a savings. Sadly, this will not be an option for this hotel next year since they have devalued the benefit. Glad we got it in under the deadline for the change!
Beautiful views from the 10th floor overlooking the waterfront, Children’s Museum, Boston Tea Party Museum, and even the famous Hood milk jug!
The night time view was stunning as well……
Museum of Science: We had some leftover free admission coupons that came as a result of a scouting overnight event. One of the perks of doing the sleepover at the MOS is that they give you free admission for a return visit. This saved us $74. We took the T over to Science Park, and I only had to pay adult fare, since you get 2 kids free with every adult.
Aquarium: We used our local library pass for discounted admission into the Aquarium. February vacation week is very competitive for the library passes, so I waited until our date opened up, and reserved it right away. Dates become available about 2 weeks in advance. The library pass enabled us to get tickets for $10 each, so $30 was quite a bit better than $65.85 full price.
In fact, the only additional things we had to pay for were our meals! We got to enjoy some Boston favorites like Regina’s Pizza, Modern Pastry, Monica’s Mercato, Boston Chowder Co., and Flour Bakery. All in all, a wonderful experience in a bit over 48 hours!
So that is how I turned an overnight trip to Boston, with a fancy hotel and expensive museums, into a nearly free staycation using award travel benefits, coupons, and library passes.