I’ve traveled this route many times, and have found ways to avoid most of the major tolls. Obviously, the time of day you are traveling plays a major factor in the amount of time it takes. Try not to Drive anywhere near a major city during rush hour unless you’re ready for lots of traffic. Here’s what I do:
Traveling north on I-95, take I-695 West when you reach the Baltimore beltway. You’ll meet back up with I-95 north of Baltimore, having avoided all three Baltimore tolls, and adding only about 10 minutes to your trip (avoid this way during rush hour).
Once north of Baltimore, you have two options. You can take I-95 north over the Tydings bridge, where there will unfortunately is a $5.00 toll, or you can take the advice of helpful reader Matt, and buy a pass for the Hatem bridge for $5.00, allowing unlimited crossings for one year. If you have this decal, exit on Exit 89 (the last exit before the toll) then get on US 40 East. After crossing the bridge, take a left on MD 222 to get back onto 95 North. (Thanks Matt!)
Before long, you’ll get to Delaware. Right before you get to the Delaware border, exit onto Rt. 279 North, Elkton Road. Turn Right on Rt. 2/Rt. 4 (Christina Parkway). Turn right on Rt. 896 (South College Avenue). Get back onto I-95 North, having avoided the $3.00 toll.
Ignore all signs for New York and New Jersey, and instead follow signs for Philadelphia. You’ll take I-95 north right through Philly, and head north towards Trenton (do not take this route during rush hour). Cross into Trenton on I-95, the only bridge into New Jersey from Pennsylvania without a toll.
From there, immediately exit onto Rt. 29 going East and South. This road has stoplights, but runs pretty quickly, and will take you across town without trouble. Rt. 29 then turns into I-195, and then meets the New Jersey Turnpike, where you can head north towards New York City. You’ve just avoided over $10 in tolls, depending on where you were coming from.