Should you visit Big Sur or Vail?
Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Big Sur and Vail can help you decide which place is right for you.
Big Sur is the 90-mile stretch of the California Central Coast which runs from the Carmel River in Monterey County south to San Carpoforo Creek in San Luis Obispo County and 20 miles east into the Santa Lucius Foothills.
However you look at it, California's Central Coast is beautiful and undoubtedly a huge tourist trap. If you're not willing to fork over big bucks for overnight stays on coastal hotels, be prepared ahead of time with your camping gear and get ready to go off the beaten track to avoid crowds as best you can and save your wallet.
While the weather in Central Coast is overall, mild and temperate, between 50 and 70 degrees year-round. The highs and lows during the year are in August and January, respectively, with dry summers and wet winters, making April through October the best times to visit but be warned: there will be crowds.
Vail is one of the premier ski resort areas in the United States. Located in central Colorado, Vail is not far from Denver and situated in the heart of the Rockies. Here you'll find a quaint mountain town designed around tourism, especially for the winter, although plenty of visitors come in the warmer months, too.
High-end hotels, condos, and other accommodation options are surrounded by shops and restaurants that are all somewhat expensive compared to other costs in the United States. Because of this, Vail is definitely not considered an “affordable” travel option for many. However, good deals can be found if you look around and do some research.
Which city is cheaper, Vail or Big Sur?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Big Sur is $0.00, while the average daily cost in Vail is $233. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Big Sur and Vail in more detail.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $264 in Big Sur For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $278 in Vail For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
Vail food costs typically run travelers around $60 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.
Meals for one day
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Vail than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $16 on transportation in Vail on average per day.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Vail
Also for Vail, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private Airport Transfer Service - Vail Hotels to Denver Int'l Airport:
Private Transfer: Vail to Denver International Airport (DEN):
Transfer in private minivan from Vail city to Denver International Airport (DEN):
Private Eagle County Airport Transfer to Vail:
Private Eagle County Regional Airport Transfer to Beaver Creek:
Private Departure Transfer to Vail Airport EGE:
Shared Transfer from Vail or Beaver Creek to Denver Downtown:
Is it cheaper to fly into Big Sur or Vail?
Prices for flights to both Vail and Big Sur change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.
Sightseeing expenses in Vail, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $106 per day, per person.
Tours and Activities in Vail
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Vail.
Aspen Independence Pass Day Tour:
Blackhawk-Central City Casino Tour from Vail:
Dillon Marina & Shopping Tour:
Fall Leaves Tour from Vail:
Glenwood Adventure Park Tour:
Glenwood Hot Springs Tour:
Historic Mining Town Tour:
Listen to a Tour Guide While you Drive between Vail & Denver:
Vail Segway Tour from Vail Village:
2-Hour Small-Group Guided Segway Tour:
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Vail, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.83.
Sample the Local Flavors in Vail
Also in Vail, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
Vail Valley Brewery & Wine Tour:
Palisade Wine Tour from Vail:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Big Sur and Vail, we can see that Vail is more expensive. And not only is Big Sur much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Big Sur would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Big Sur and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Vail would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Vail than you might in Big Sur.
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