North America > United States > Boston
See: Why hire a car in Boston ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments
(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring. Yes, this site is being updated, but the graphics will come later)
Your key questions for any destination:
Do I need a car in Boston?
Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest. That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than simple yes or no answers!
- The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
- How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
- Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
- Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?
Is it worth hiring a car in Boston?
This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Boston car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.
How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Boston with other destinations locally and around the world.
This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.
Should I rent a car in Boston?
This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Boston, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.
The Massachusetts state capital is perhaps best known for its educational institutions, and Harvard University is even situated in the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts.[top num=”43″]
Boston also developed the first, and still one of the best, underground systems in the USA, and the city has a good network of local buses and state-wide coaches, so is there any need to hire a car there?
Why? Visiting Boston using a hire car
Why do you need a car in Boston ?
Reasons why you should rent a car in Boston
Should you hire a car in Boston?
Why not? Visiting Boston without a car
Why don't you need a car in Boston ?
Boston without a car
Ratings: How does Boston compare?
Is it worth hiring a car in Boston? TBC
This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Boston, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.
How does this compare if:
You are travelling:
Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc
Does car rental make sense on different budgets?
Do you need to hire a car in Boston? TBC
This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Boston (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".
Should you rent a car in Boston? TBC
This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good.
See global comparisons
Hiring | Driving | Parking
Trains | Buses | Local travel
Car hire basics:
Public transportation basics:
Regular bus services: YES
Coach (inter-city): YES
High Speed Rail:
Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):
As you start ....
Does Boston airport have a direct rail link?
(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No
Has our advice for Boston car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?
2017 - 6
2019 - 6
2021 - 6
Average score - 6
Should you hire a car in Boston? Conclusion – whilst public transport in Boston itself is perfectly adequate, you will almost certainly want to leave the city, and although you can venture out by bus or train, a hire car will definitely be best for this. When should you rent a car in Boston? This is especially so during the leaf fall season.
Verdict — yes (especially seasonally during Fall / Autumn)
Links and notes:
Do you or don't you need a car in Boston ?