Travel Cost Comparison USA vs. Germany

USA or Germany: which country is more expensive?

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

  • Average Daily Cost Per person, per day
    USA $226
    Germany $121
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    USA $108
    Germany $61
  • Food Meals for one day
    USA $41
    Germany $32
  • Water Bottled water for one day
    USA $14
    Germany $2.37
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    USA $37
    Germany $18
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    USA $52
    Germany $21
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    USA $18
    Germany $13
Should you visit the USA or Germany?
Many American travelers question whether they can afford a trip to a European country like Germany. Surprisingly, aside from plane tickets, once you arrive, it's possible to spend less money traveling around Germany than traveling around the United States. An impressive transportation system coupled with a comprehensive network of hostels in Germany help keep costs down for even the most budget travelers. The vast size of the US and the lack of hostels throughout the country make the US a disproportionately expensive country to visit.

Germany also offers visitors a unique culture and history that you can't find within the US. The country's cosmopolitan cities, beautiful castles, and natural beauty make it a wonderful place to spend some time.
When is the best time to visit the USA and Germany?
Boston Harbor Boston Harbor
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 are lovely places to visit during the colder winter months. Many cities also have interesting holiday decorations if you're planning to be in the US during that season. Summer months can become very hot in the south, but the northern states are usually more pleasant, even during the hottest months. In general, national parks are most crowded during the summer months.

Germany is also a great country to visit year around. The winters can be cold, but the holiday season creates a special atmosphere that is wonderful to experience. Summers aren't as hot in Germany as they are in southern Europe, so even during the peak summer months, the temperature isn't too extreme. Prices are a bit higher during the peak summer months though, and crowds are more intense. Spring and fall are great times to visit, as temperatures are usually pleasant and the prices are a bit more affordable.
Why is the USA more expensive than Germany?
In general, the US is an expensive place to visit. The high cost of living and the country's 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, so accommodation prices can be more 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 Germany?
Marienplatz Town Hall, Munich, Germany Marienplatz Town Hall, Munich, Germany
In the United States, the larger cities are some of the most expensive places to visit. New York City and San Francisco are both 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.

Cities in Germany, like Berlin, are also among the more expensive places to visit in the country. Even so, some smaller towns have a limited number of accommodation options, so it's difficult to find affordable places to stay, which can drive up prices in the countryside.
How you can save money when visiting the USA and Germany?
Choose your travel times wisely. Consider when you're going and when the crowds will be at their worst to save money.
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.
Understand all of your transportation options. Buses are often cheaper than trains, and in the United States, flying is often about the same price as taking a train. Research options and get creative.
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.
Pack your own food so you don't have to stop at restaurants in route to your destination. Restaurants between towns and cities usually aren't the highest quality, so pack a lunch that you can enjoy during your travels.

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