Should you visit Charleston or Columbia?
If you're trying to decide where to visit between Charleston or Columbia, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.
Charleston is a beautiful, southern city and seaport town in South Carolina. It has a wonderful, historic downtown area that the city government works hard to maintain. Located on a peninsula that is created by two rivers, the city is a stunning setting with much character. It is a popular place to visit for its culture, architecture and cuisine. In recent years Charleston has gained popularity and it continues to grow as both a regional and international travel destination. With its rising popularity comes increasing costs. Travel costs continue to go up as restaurants and hotels raise their prices, particularly during the peak travel season and holiday periods.
Both the largest and capital city of South Carolina, Columbia is literally the center of everything. Geographically it is located in the middle of the state, and it is the home to the University of South Carolina, the Army's Fort Jackson, as well as a variety of museums that celebrate the city's art, history, and culture.
Which city is cheaper, Columbia or Charleston?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Charleston is $136, while the average daily cost in Columbia is $0.00. 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 Charleston and Columbia in more detail.
A hotel room in Charleston is about $144 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.
While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $26 per day to get around in Charleston.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charleston
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Charleston:
Private Departure Transfer to Charleston Airport (CHS):
Charleston city to Charleston Airport (CHS) - Departure Private Transfer:
Private transfer: Charleston to Charleston Airport (CHS):
Is it cheaper to fly into Charleston or Columbia?
Prices for flights to both Columbia and Charleston 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.
On average, meal and food prices in Charleston cost around $46 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 $18.
The price of a meal in Columbia can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $4.02 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $1.61 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.
Meals for one day
Typical Food prices in Charleston
Some typical examples of dining costs in Charleston are as follows:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Charleston
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Charleston.
Downtown Charleston Culinary Walking Food Tour:
Savor the Flavors of Charleston Walking Food Tour:
Charleston's Savor the Flavors of Upper King Street Walking Food Tour:
Charleston Chef's Kitchen Guided Walking Food Tour:
Charleston Harbor: Luxury Dinner Cruise:
Savor the Flavors Upper King Street Food Tour:
Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Charleston:
Undiscovered 1/2 Day Food, Wine & History Tour with Cooking Class:
3-Hour Secret Food Tour in Charleston w/ Private Tour Option:
Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $17 per person, per day in Charleston. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.
Typical Entertainment prices in Charleston
Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Charleston are as follows:
Patriots Point (for 2)
Tours and Activities in Charleston
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Charleston are as follows:
Charleston's Haunted Ghost Tour - Smart Phone Guided Tour:
Charleston Scavenger Hunt Adventure:
Charleston's Pleasing Terrors Night-Time Walking Ghost Tour:
Downtown Charleston Walking Tour with Certified Local Guide:
Historic Charleston Guided Sightseeing Walking Tour:
Highlights of Charleston Guided Walking Tour:
Charleston French Quarter Historic Guided Walking Tour:
Drayton Hall Plantation Admission Ticket in Charleston:
Small-Group Tour: Charleston Old Walled City Historical Walking Tour:
Charleston Terrors Walking Ghost Tour:
Charleston Ghosts of Liberty Guided Walking Tour:
90-Minute Historic Walking Tour of Charleston:
Tours and Activities in Columbia
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Columbia are as follows:
Savannah: History & Ghosts Guided Tour with Beverage Stops:
Cascade Locks: 1-Hour Columbia River Sightseeing Cruise:
Portland: Columbia River Gorge 3-Hour Small Group Tour:
Cascade Locks: Columbia Gorge Sunday Brunch Cruise:
Portland: Columbia Gorge Flight Tour:
Portland: Multnomah Falls Scenic Air Tour:
The average person spends about $28 on alcoholic beverages in Charleston per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
The average person spends about $70 on alcoholic beverages in Columbia per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
Sample the Local Flavors in Charleston
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Charleston:
Charleston Bar Hunt: Charleston Chase Bar Crawl:
Ghost Walking Tour and Pub Crawl in Haunted Charleston:
Haunted Pub Crawl of the Market:
Sample the Local Flavors in Columbia
Also in Columbia, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
Savannah: Pub Crawl and Ghost Tour:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Charleston and Columbia, we can see that Charleston is more expensive. And not only is Columbia much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Columbia would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Columbia 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 Charleston would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Charleston than you might in Columbia.
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