Should you visit California or Alaska?
Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for California and Alaska. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.
California is the most populous state in the U.S. and is known for a variety of attractions such as Hollywood, warm beaches, the San Francisco bay area, Redwood trees, national parks, and stunning mountain vistas. With a variety of locations and activities to offer, California has become one of the premier travel destinations in the world.
Alaska joined the United States of America as the 49th state. The US purchased the area from the Russian Empire in 1867 for just 7.2 million dollars (about two cents an acre). It became an organized territory in 1912 and a state in 1959. It is separated from the rest of the country by Canada and, although it is the largest state, it is the least densely populated and for many years had the lowest population. It covers an area equal to California, Texas and Montana combined and lies on the Arctic Circle. Many people consider Alaska to be the United State's "final frontier" because of its vast wilderness. It is also where you will find the highest point in North America.
Which city is cheaper, Alaska or California?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in California is $198, while the average daily cost in Alaska is $195. 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 California and Alaska in more detail.
For a normal double-occupancy room in California, $184 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in California, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $92, such as in a hostel.
If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $108. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Alaska the cost is $216 on average.
On average, meal and food prices in California cost around $37 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $15.
In Alaska travelers spend around $45 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.
Meals for one day
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in California
For California, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Carlsbad Village: 3-Hour Local Food Tour:
Napa or Sonoma Dinner Transportation:
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in California than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $32 on transportation in California on average per day.
The average price of local transportation around Alaska is $41 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in California
Also for California, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
San Diego: Private Transfer to/from San Diego Airport (SAN):
Low Cost Private Transfer From San Francisco International Airport to San Mateo City - One Way:
Private Airport Transfer from SFO to San Francisco:
Departure Private Transfer to San Francisco Cruise Port by Business Car:
Orange County: 1-Way Private Transfer to/from Anaheim Resort:
Low Cost Private Transfer From San Francisco International Airport to Oakland City - One Way:
Private San Francisco Transfer: Hotel to Airport or Cruise Port:
Low Cost Private Transfer From San Francisco International Airport to Union City - One Way:
Low Cost Private Transfer From San Francisco International Airport to Mountain View City - One Way:
Low Cost Private Transfer From San Francisco International Airport to San Francisco City - One Way:
Low Cost Private Transfer From San Francisco International Airport to San Jose City - One Way:
Sedan Airport Transfer from Walnut Creek to SFO (one way):
Is it cheaper to fly into California or Alaska?
Prices for flights to both Alaska and California 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 California, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $49 per day, per person.
Alaska's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $52 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.
Tours and Activities in California
For California, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
La Jolla: Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour:
Los Angeles: Skip-the-Line Battleship Iowa Museum Ticket:
San Diego: Holiday Lights and Sights Trolley Tour:
Downtown Los Angeles: Food, Arts and Culture Walking Tour:
90-Minute San Diego SEAL Tour:
San Diego: Whale Watching Tours:
Los Angeles: Downtown Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour:
Guided Tour of Historic Virginia City and Carson City from South Lake Tahoe:
San Diego: Self-Guided Scooter Tour of Downtown & Old Town:
El Dorado Wine Country Tour from South Lake Tahoe:
Snowshoe Lake Tahoe Tour:
Golden Gate Park and Haight-Ashbury Tour from San Francisco:
Tours and Activities in Alaska
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Alaska are as follows:
Denali Park Zipline Adventure:
Prince of Wales Island Bear-Viewing Tour By Air From Ketchikan:
Typically, people visiting California spend on average $17 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
The average person spends about $16 on alcoholic beverages in Alaska per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
Sample the Local Flavors in California
Also in California, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
Healdsburg Wine Tasting and Food Pairing Guided Walking Tour:
Golf Somm - A Sommelier-Led Golf and Wine Tour in Napa Valley:
6-Hours Customized Private NAPA Valley Wine Tour From San Francisco Bay Area:
6-Hour Customized Private LIVERMORE Valley Wine Tour From San Francisco Bay Area:
6-Hours Customized Private RUSSIAN RIVER Valley Wine Tour From San Francisco Bay:
6-Hours Customized Private SONOMA Valley Wine Tour From San Francisco Bay Area:
Napa Wine Tour:
Sonoma Wine Tours:
Napa Valley Wine Tour Planning and Transportation:
8-Hour Napa Valley Wine Tour:
Sprinter Wine Tour:
Sonoma County and Napa Valley Private Wine Tour:
When comparing the travel costs between California and Alaska, we can see that California is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.
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