Travel Cost Comparison USA vs. Indonesia

USA or Indonesia: which country is more expensive?

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

  • USA Prices
    Indonesia Prices
  • Average Daily Cost Per person, per day
    USA $225
    Indonesia $39
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    USA $107
    Indonesia $22
  • Food Meals for one day
    USA $41
    Indonesia $9.98
  • Water Bottled water for one day
    USA $14
    Indonesia $0.91
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    USA $37
    Indonesia $3.89
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    USA $51
    Indonesia $6.91
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    USA $18
    Indonesia $4.48
Should you visit the USA or Indonesia?
Many American travelers question whether they should travel internationally to a country like Indonesia, 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. Especially if you're considering a place like Indonesia, which is full of stunning beaches, jungle adventures, and a friendly culture.

Indonesia is a relatively inexpensive destination known for beautiful tropical beaches, exotic jungles teeming with wildlife, and large urban areas full of culture and markets. Visitors to Indonesia are often surprised at the number of activities to do and places to visit, as once they step away from the beach, they find historic temples, eco-tourism adventures, jungle and mountain hiking, and more.

In the U.S., on the other hand, one can visit a diverse set of destinations such as beaches, mountains, and large cities. Although the prices are much higher than Indonesia, the U.S. offers many types of landscapes that don't exist in Indonesia.
When is the best time to visit the USA and Indonesia?
The valley of Zion National Park The valley of Zion National Park
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, as temperatures are still fairly warm. Many cities also have interesting holiday decorations if you're planning to be in the country during that season. Skiing and winter sports are also popular in the mountains.

Summer months can become very hot in the southeast, but the northern states are often quite pleasant, even during the hottest months. In general, national parks are most crowded during the summer months. Visiting the busiest parks during the shoulder seasons is recommended if you want to avoid the crowds.

Much of Indonesia is very close to the equator and quite tropical. Therefore, the seasons are divided between wet and dry depending on seasonal winds. The dry season is from May to September, while the wet season is from October to April. A few places have an exception to this (such as Sumatra), but you can expect warm tropical temperatures everywhere in the country.
Why is the USA more expensive than Indonesia?
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 to where it goes and prices are quite high. In some situations, flying is cheaper than taking the train. 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 interstate highways, so prices between cities can be reasonable.

The overall low cost of living of Indonesia, combined with low wages and a massive population has left the tourism industry with plenty of competition, especially compared to some of its Asian neighbors. For western travelers from the U.S., Australia, or Europe, this means that Indonesia is a dream destination for a cheap price (once you pay for a plane ticket). With some of the most beautiful tropical destinations in the world available for extremely low prices, it's easy to see why this is a popular destination.
What are the most expensive and cheapest cities and regions in the USA and Indonesia?
Ubud, Bali Ubud, Bali
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. Free entertainment in the larger cities can be common, and this can help you keep costs down.

Tourism has driven up prices in some areas of Indonesia, namely Bali, Lombok, and some of the surrounding islands known for their beaches and scenery. If other travelers are flocking to an area, then expect prices to be higher.

In the larger cities of Indonesia, it's possible to find a wide range of accommodation, restaurants, and activities at a variety of prices. Budget hotels and hostels are often found not far from high-end luxury hotels. If you want luxury, you can expect to pay a fair amount more for it, but it is still usually of good value and quality.

In the countryside, prices can be very cheap, especially in off-the-beaten path locations.
How you can save money when visiting the USA and Indonesia?
Many larger cities in the US have cheap public transportation systems that can save you money. Consider this when you plan your trip, especially if you intend to rent a car for a portion of your trip.

Hotels in the center of cities are more expensive, so look for options that are a little further out, especially if public transportation is available.

In the US, making reservations for hotels will usually save you money. Shop around for the best prices.

Eat the street food. In Indonesia, small eateries known as "warungs" are everywhere in urban areas. They offer delicious food at a cheap price. Also, buying food at local markets is significantly cheaper than at restaurants or larger stores.

Flying between the islands of Indonesia can get expensive. Instead, pick just a few islands and stick to them, or look for the less expensive ferry boats. Use public transportation whenever possible.

In Indonesia, expect to negotiate for many things, especially at markets. It's also possible to negotiate for hotel rooms with independently owned places.

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