Suffering from a serious case of wanderlust and the further away the next travel destination the better?
Is the US-American east coast the place of your dreams but your travel budget is rather tight?
Then you'll be just like our intern Hannah. At the beginning of this year she put her dream into action and spent a few weeks in the USA.
"I’m convinced that a low budget doesn’t hold you back from having a great vacation and that you don’t have to splash cash to have amazing experiences."
BOSTON ON A BUDGET
Boston is a city of high historic significance for the United States: The city on the east coast is the birthplace of American independence – events like the Boston Tea Party or the American war of independence should ring a bell from history class. Over time, modernization changed the city’s face, making it an architectural canvas of contrasts. Old meets new, tradition meets progress. Where there are historic buildings on one side of the street, sleak skyscrapers are sure to be on the other. However, it’s exactly these contrasts that give the city its charm and coolness.
Unfortunately, like most cities in America, it’s a rather expensive place to stay. After booking your flights, finding an accommodation and finishing the first round of grocery shopping there is already a noticeable dent in your travel budget. I have good news for all the low-budget-travelers amongst us though: Many of Boston’s most popular sights are either free of charge or won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
FREEDOM TRAIL UND OLD STATE HOUSE
If you’re looking to follow history’s traces through Boston, I recommend walking the Freedom Trail. The path leads with a total length of 5 km as a visible red line on the ground to all the important places of the city that are related to the fight for independence. One of the places is the Old State House. In 1770, the building was the scene of the Boston massacre, which was one of the major triggers for the war of independence. Six years later the reading of the declaration of independence was celebrated at the exact same place.
You definitely can’t miss the Old State House on your way along the Freedom Trail –surrounded by modern high risers the historic building stands out quite clearly.
My low-budget tip: You do, of course, learn a lot more details about historical events in Boston in museums or guided tours along the trail. However, if you’re happy with a broad but not less interesting overview of said events, you’re all set by just using a travel guide – print or online – to get all the information you need. The money you save here is better invested in the next burger for lunch.
Side note: I’d recommend you walk the freedom trail until you get tired or don’t want to walk anymore. The path is quite long and most of the interesting sites are right at the beginning.
The oldest but most charming neighborhood in Boston is Beacon Hill. While strolling through the narrow cobblestone streets surrounded by old street lights and federal style row houses you feel like having been taken to a different country. If there weren’t some US-American flags here and there (and if you didn’t still have to fight jet lag) you might believe you have been transported to Great Britain. The British influence during colonial times is very present in this part of the city - it’s New England after all. Beacon Hill is a sight that, in my opinion, should be on every Boston-travel-list.
If you haven’t already seen enough of pretty, old buildings and your feet aren’t sore yet, I recommend going to see the Harvard Campus during your Boston trip.
Right on the other side of Charles River is the suburb Cambridge - home to Ivy-League-university Harvard. The oldest and undoubtedly wealthiest university of the United States is at the same time alma mater to several US-American presidents and other great names like Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. The campus is completely accessible to the public and especially Harvard Yard invites to a stroll. While walking around the well-kept park it’s almost impossible to not feel like Rory Gilmore when she sees Harvard campus for the first time – this place radiates an impressive aura and you’ll catch yourself wandering around the buildings with a reverential gaze.
For all the sport enthusiasts amongst us (and not only for these) Boston keeps a special treasure: Fenway Park, the oldest baseball stadium in the world. It was opened up in 1912 and is since then home ground of the Boston Red Sox, a traditional baseball team which is being cheered for in all New England.
Tickets for a baseball game in Fenway Park are not exactly cheap and a guided tour through the stadium will also cost you money. Of course, I have an insider’s tip for the budget travelers: on the stadium’s north side you’ll find Bleacher Bar. The spacious traditional sports bar is decorated all over with newspaper articles, photos and collectibles of former and current Red Sox players. The best and most unique feature of the bar is the big window in the back of the bar, which gives you a perfect view of center field. You don’t have to purchase tickets for the bar on game days but on those days the place is packed, and the window seats are very popular – this means: first come, first serve.
The streetwear-scene in Boston is really big and there is one address in particular which everyone should know: Bodega. Located on the corner of Massachusetts Ave / Clearway Street the clothing store appears to be just a small grocery store, both from the outside and after entering. But then the secret door on the back wall opens up and suddenly you’re in the middle of one of the hippest streetwear places in Boston. The items sold in the shop are rather pricey, but you should pay a visit anyway – even if only for the unique store concept.
As Boston is located right on the Atlantic coast, I would especially recommend fish and seafood to you. A Boston specialty: Clam Chowder! It’s a creamy stew served with oyster crackers – it doesn’t look very appetizing, but I promise it’s worth a try.
FOR YOUR EARS
Boston is also home to Berklee College of Music, one of the most prestigious universities for pop music of the USA, boasting artists like John Mayer and Charlie Puth as alumni. The students often organize small gigs in nearby bars and venues on a regular basis that give you the opportunity to see an amazing show with some of the US’s most talented aspiring musicians without breaking the bank. Who knows – maybe you’ll find your new favorite artist?
Now it’s your turn: Has anybody already been to Boston and has some more tips up their sleeve? What are your life-hacks for traveling on a tight budget? Tell us in the comment section below!
Also: Stay tuned – the low-budget-trip continues! The best travel tips for the US-east coast’s most exciting city will follow soon: New York, New York.