Travel Cost Comparison USA vs. France

USA or France: which country is more expensive?

This comparison of travel costs between France and the USA examines average prices across multiple categories. Please visit each country's individual budget page for more detailed information.

  • USA Prices
    France Prices
  • Average Daily Cost Per person, per day
    USA $225
    France $162
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    USA $107
    France $92
  • Food Meals for one day
    USA $41
    France $34
  • Water Bottled water for one day
    USA $14
    France $2.74
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    USA $37
    France $27
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    USA $51
    France $28
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    USA $18
    France $12
Should you visit the USA or France?
Many American travelers question whether they should travel internationally to a country like France, or stay in the United States and travel domestically. While the United States offers a diverse and fascinating culture and landscape, international travel is a unique experience that can really influence your perspective on the world and other cultures.

Traveling in France is relatively easy. There's an extensive and reliable transportation network with trains and buses that travels between major cities and tourist spots. The country itself has a friendly and interesting culture with lots of museums, beautiful countryside, and a delicious cuisine. Interestingly, once you're in the country, France is also a cheaper travel destination than the United States. Hotels and hostels are reasonably priced and it's not hard to find affordable restaurants to keep your costs in check.
When is the best time to visit the USA and France?
Yosemite Valley Yosemite Valley
The United States is a vast country that covers a wide variety of landscapes and climates. You can really find somewhere to visit any time of the year. The southern United States and parts of California can be nice destinations during the colder winter months. Many cities, like New York and Chicago, also have interesting holiday decorations if you're planning to be in the country during that season. Summer months can become very hot in the south, but the northern states are a bit more pleasant, even during the hottest months. In general, national parks are most crowded during the summer months.

France is a beautiful place to visit during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. During these times, temperatures are pleasant and crowds tend to be less than during the peak summer months. The summer season can get crowded with travelers and cruise ship passengers and prices typically peak during these times. It has become a bit more difficult to get off season discounts in France for accommodation or tours. Even during the coldest winter months many hotels are popular with business travelers or tour groups, which can drive prices up. Deals on airline tickets can still be found during these low times.
Why is the USA more expensive than France?
In general, prices in France are cheaper than the United States because of the ease of travel and the presence of an impressive network of hostels and budget hotels. In France, public transportation is readily available and it's easy to navigate the country by train or bus. There's also an a wide variety of budget hostels and hotels to choose from, so even the most budget conscience travelers can find somewhere to stay.

In general, the US is an expensive place to visit. The high cost of living and the vast size mean that transportation costs can be quite expensive. If you really want to see a lot of the country, flying is really your best option. Amtrak is the most well known train system, but it is limited in where it goes and prices are quite high. If you want to explore the country's impressive national park network, a rental car is a must.

Hotels in the United States are also quite expensive. There are very few hostels throughout the country, particularly when compared to European countries like France, so accommodation prices can be higher than you might expect. If you're driving, there is an extensive network of budget hotels along the interstates so prices between cities can be reasonable.
What are the most expensive and cheapest cities and regions in the USA and France?
The Port of Cannes, France The Port of Cannes, France
In general, the larger cities and most popular destinations are the most expensive places to visit in both France and the United States. In France, Paris can be a bit more expensive than the countryside. Coastal areas are also quite expensive, particularly during peak travel months.

In the United States, the larger cities are some of the most expensive places to visit. New York City and San Francisco are notoriously expensive because of their high hotel costs and expensive restaurants. Still, there are plenty of affordable restaurants in these larger cities so it is possible to save some money. There is also plenty of free entertainment in larger cities, which can help you keep costs down.
How you can save money when visiting the USA and France?
Pick just a few places to visit for longer periods of time. Particularly in the United States, traveling between cities can be very expensive so choose just a few places to visit that aren't far apart. This will dramatically cut down on travel costs.
Spend time walking around the city or town you're in. Take at least a day where you don't visit a museum, show, or take a tour. Instead just head out on the town with a map and soak up the atmosphere. Many cities also offer free entertainment options so look out for these resources.
Consider camping. If you're visiting national parks in the United States, throw a tent in the back of your car and head for a campground. This is a fun way to experience the outdoors. Also look into any national park passes that may be available.
Eat where the locals eat and look for discounts. Lunch time is the best time to eat out because there are often discounted meals available and lunch specials that are a fraction of the cost of dinners. For dinner, grab some food at a local market and enjoy a picnic.

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