Boston offers a wide range of accommodations, from inviting guesthouses in historic quarters to swanky hotels with all the amenities. There is no shortage of stately homes that have been converted into B&Bs, offering an intimate atmosphere and personal service. Considering that this city is filled with students, there are surprisingly few accommodations targeting budget travelers and backpackers.

Advance Planning

Boston is a relatively expensive place to stay, due to its busy conference and academic calendars and popular tourist appeal. Book in advance online for the best prices. Budget travelers, especially, will find there is a shortage of affordable options, so book your beds as early as possible. A few welcoming guesthouses and smaller hotels welcome midrange travelers, while many hotels of all sizes cater to high-enders. Prices increase dramatically during peak travel times.

Rates

Most hotels, particularly chains, have no set rates. Instead, rates fluctuate seasonally, if not daily. High season is roughly defined as April through October, although prices are more accurately driven by occupancy and high-profile events. Holidays, university graduations, baseball games and pride parades all affect hotel prices. Often the most expensive period is from mid-September to mid-October.

Boutique Hotels

In recent years, Boston has become a hot spot for boutique hotels – small, stylish hotels, usually with personalized service and contemporary flair. The classiest boutique hotels are not cheap, but most offer competitive rates to attract tourists and businesspeople.

Budget Lodgings

Inexpensive accommodations are rare, but the savvy traveler should have no problem locating an acceptable option. Boston has only one hostel catering to traditional backpacking travelers, but some guesthouses also offer simple accommodations and personal service at budget prices. There are also myriad options for staying in private homes, booked through services such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing.

B&Bs

Many B&Bs and inns are housed in historic or architecturally significant buildings. Contact B&Bs directly, or better yet, contact an agency that will try to match your neighborhood desires with the thickness of your wallet.

Apartment Rentals

With hordes of students and other transients moving around town, Boston, Brookline and Cambridge are full of summer sublets and longer-term apartments available to rent. Signs are often posted at coffee shops, bookstores and other student hangouts. University housing offices are also good sources of information.

Boston Apartments (www.bostonapartments.com) Includes listings for long- and short-term, furnished and unfurnished, and a search by neighborhood.

Rental Beast (www.rentalbeast.com) Rental properties all over town. Search by neighborhood or requirements.

Need to Know

Taxes

Massachusetts levies a 5.7% hotel tax, while Boston levies a 6% hotel tax and a 2.75% convention-center fee, bringing your total tax to 14.45%. Note that there’s no room tax on B&Bs with fewer than three rooms.

Tipping

It's customary to tip housekeeping $2 to $5 per day, depending on the standard of the accommodations. It's best to tip on a daily basis, as there might be different staff on duty each day.