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Advice for car rental strategy - visit to downtown BOS and environs

Advice for car rental strategy - visit to downtown BOS and environs

Old Jun 24, 12, 7:00 pm
  #1  
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Advice for car rental strategy - visit to downtown BOS and environs

My family (four of us incl. wife and 2 kids, ages 10 and 6) will be visiting the Boston area next week, renting a car to reach Portsmouth, NH for the air show and just south of Providence, RI for a DCI competition, with a stay in downtown Boston for Harborfest, etc. The itinerary has me seeking advice form locals or those who know Boston well as to the best strategy for dealing with the rental car.

The itinerary:

Fri. 6/29 evening arrival at BOS, stay at Sheraton Colonial, in Wakefield

Sat. 6/30 Attend air show at Portsmouth, NH if weather is good. If rain is forecast and Sunday's forecast is better, we'll head into Boston for the day. Second night at Sheraton Colonial, Wakefield.

Sun 7/1 If we skipped the air show on Saturday, we'll go there on Sunday. Otherwise we'll head into Boston. Sun. eve. we'll check into the Sheraton downtown Boston (Back Bay, actually, near the Prudential Center).

Mon. 7/2 Sheraton downtown Boston

Tues. 7/3 Drive to RI for the DCI show in the evening, stay overnight at Sheraton Providence airport.

Wed. 7/4 Back to the Sheraton downtown Boston

Thurs. 7/5 depart from BOS airport.

So here's the dilemma: I need the rental car for the trip to Portsmouth and the trip to Rhode Island, but I definitely don't want to pay the downtown parking rates for the nights at the Sheraton downtown Boston, and won't need the car for those days, either. I currently plan to return the car to the airport on Sunday, then take the T from the airport downtown to check in there. Then we plan to rent a car from a downtown rental location near the Sheraton, drive to RI, and return the car to a downtown Boston location for our 7/4 stay. Then we'll take the T to the airport for our departure.

A weekly rental would cost about the same, or maybe even a little less, and would avoid the hassle of getting back to the airport to return the car on Sunday and take the T downtown. But I can't figure out how to park the car inexpensively and in an easy-to-reach location during that time.

I'm renting with National, and it seems the downtown rental car offices are closed on Sunday so I haven't yet found a good option for returning the car that day to a location more convenient to the hotel than the airport.

If I have to return the car to the airport on Sunday I may consider driving the family directly to the hotel downtown and letting them check in and hit the pool while I drive out to BOS to return the car and take the T back to the hotel. What should I plan for the round trip driving from the hotel to BOS and then taking the T back to the hotel? A couple of hours? We may stop at Wal-Mart on the way to Portsmouth to get 4 cheap folding chairs for the air show, and we might want to hold onto them for the Boston Pops and fireworks on the 4th. In that case, I'd sure like to avoid having to schlep the chairs plus our luggage on the T.

If there's an obvious improvement to the above rental car shuffle, I'd appreciate any advice.

Thanks.

Last edited by Helena Handbaskets; Jun 24, 12 at 8:32 pm
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Old Jun 24, 12, 8:30 pm
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You can park overnite at Wellington station on the orange line for $5 a day. It is an easy ride into downtown getting off at either Back Bay or Mass Ave and a few blocks to the Sheraton. Wellington is easy to get to from Wakefield as well, right off 93 South. Are you going to a DCI show as in Drum Corp Int'l?? Where is the show?
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Old Jun 24, 12, 9:26 pm
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You could try

http://boston.bestparking.com/index.php

for cheap parking in Boston.

Put in the address you want to park near, the dates, etc, you may get something worth it (though I would not count on too much in the low cost area in Boston)
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Old Jun 25, 12, 5:43 am
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First, welcome to the area. I live south of Providence... and have stayed at that Sheraton many times... great staff!

While low cost parking is difficult in Boston, it is possible. Personally, I would be willing to pay the higher parking to not have to deal with return and getting a car again. Have you checked Hotwire? Might be some very low rates that offset the parking.
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Old Jun 25, 12, 5:52 am
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Hourly cars parked strategically around Boston such as FlexCar and the like generally run $8-9/hour, but are gassed, parked and so on and there's no muss or fuss about going to a rental counter in the middle of nowhere and returning to that location when you are done. Even if your Portsmouth trip is a total of 10 hours, getting a family of 4 up and back for $80 isn't bad and is competetive with standard rental rates when you consider gas & parking.

As to your departure from Logan, while taxis are expensive on the way in because the tolls & fees are all front-loaded, on the way out they are much cheaper. Figure $25+tip.

Downtown Boston parking during the holiday week is both expensive and close to non-existent. Either you will be parked way out of the way with very long walks or you will pay a fortune ($35-40/day) for secure, well-lit and convenient spots. And, that's if they can be found at all.

I would strongly advise you not to drive a car in downtown Boston because it's going to be costly & frustrating and you don't need to travel somewhere for that.
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Old Jun 25, 12, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by robertwcook16 View Post
You can park overnite at Wellington station on the orange line for $5 a day. It is an easy ride into downtown getting off at either Back Bay or Mass Ave and a few blocks to the Sheraton. Wellington is easy to get to from Wakefield as well, right off 93 South. Are you going to a DCI show as in Drum Corp Int'l?? Where is the show?
Yes, DCI in this case is Drum Corps Int'l. The show's in Bristol, RI, about midway between Providence and Newport. 7 pm on 7/3. Here's the page I used to find the event: http://www.dci.org/schedule/calendar...ate=06/01/2012

And here's the web site for the show: http://www.july4thbristolri.com/summermusicpreview.htm

Thanks for the advice about the Wellington station parking. I had looked at at that as an option, but the MBTA site for the station says parking availability is "< 1%" on weekdays. On weekends and overnight it says only the "back lot" is open. It could be a better option than two separate rentals and a useless round trip to the airport if I could be certain I'd find a parking spot (most likely either about 9 am or about 7/8 pm on Sunday depending on whether Sunday is the day we go to the air show in Portsmouth). Do you know anything about the reliability of parking availability at Wellington station on a Sunday?

Last edited by Helena Handbaskets; Jun 25, 12 at 8:18 am
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Old Jun 25, 12, 8:29 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I would strongly advise you not to drive a car in downtown Boston because it's going to be costly & frustrating and you don't need to travel somewhere for that.
Driving to and from the Sheraton Boston is incredibly easy. Parking is the problem. But I believe there is some affordable parking in the area -- one should be able to verify this using bestparking.com -- and I personally would pay a fair bit extra to avoid the time and hassle of parking outside the city and taking the T back and forth.
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Old Jun 25, 12, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
Driving to and from the Sheraton Boston is incredibly easy. Parking is the problem. But I believe there is some affordable parking in the area -- one should be able to verify this using bestparking.com -- and I personally would pay a fair bit extra to avoid the time and hassle of parking outside the city and taking the T back and forth.
Bestparking.com is showing that the OP can get a guaranteed rate of $37 for July 1-3 at a garage very close to the Sheraton. I'd pay that in a heartbeat rather than have to do the round-trip commute from the suburbs.
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Old Jun 25, 12, 10:22 am
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Also the Boston Common Garage has the lowest rated in Boston.

http://www.massconvention.com/bcg.html
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Old Jun 25, 12, 7:10 pm
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Originally Posted by Helena Handbaskets View Post
Thanks for the advice about the Wellington station parking. I had looked at at that as an option, but the MBTA site for the station says parking availability is "< 1%" on weekdays. On weekends and overnight it says only the "back lot" is open. It could be a better option than two separate rentals and a useless round trip to the airport if I could be certain I'd find a parking spot (most likely either about 9 am or about 7/8 pm on Sunday depending on whether Sunday is the day we go to the air show in Portsmouth). Do you know anything about the reliability of parking availability at Wellington station on a Sunday?
I would almost 100% guarantee there would be a spot for you at Station Landing on a Sunday, which is connected to the Wellington station via a skybridge over the Orange Line maintenance facility. There is a parking garage with special levels just for those using the T.
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Old Jun 25, 12, 7:44 pm
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I agree with lo2e - The station landing garage is almost always half empty and it is an enclosed garage. You have to enter the garage and go above the 5th level for MBTA parking. Whenever I am staying in Boston or flying out of BOS I park here with no problems. It is a great value...

http://www.stationlanding.com/

http://www.stationlanding.com/Statio...rkingRates.pdf
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