Should you visit Columbia or Lancaster?
Should I visit Columbia or Lancaster? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.
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.
The largest city in Pennsylvania's Dutch Country, Lancaster is surrounded by scenic landscape and a unique culture. The area is predominately agricultural in nature and you will find lush farms growing crops and produce most seasons. The Amish communities are spread throughout the area and although they remain relatively isolated, they are acknowledged by fellow community members and their customs are respected. The Amish community prides themselves on minimalist living. They do not use electricity and travel around in horse and buggy, a sight which you will grow accustomed to while you're in the area. They are excellent farmers and craftsmen and you can find shops that proudly sell Amish made goods. Their close are old fashion in nature. Women generally wear long dresses and bonnets while men wear black suits and hats. The Amish community has their own churches and their own schools. There are a handful of places where you can learn more about the Amish community in the area. The Amish Experience F/X Theater offers shows and the People's Place Quilt Museum shows some handicrafts. It is possible to take an Amish Country tour or visit the Mennonite Information Center for more information.
Which city is cheaper, Lancaster or Columbia?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Columbia is $0.00, while the average daily cost in Lancaster is $146. 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 Columbia and Lancaster in more detail.
The prices for places to stay in Lancaster can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $73, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $146.
Lancaster's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $55 per person, per day on transportation in Lancaster.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lancaster
Also for Lancaster, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private Transfer from Lancaster to Manchester Airport (MAN):
Private transfer: Lancaster to Lancaster Airport (LNS):
Is it cheaper to fly into Columbia or Lancaster?
Prices for flights to both Lancaster and Columbia 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.
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.
On average, meal and food prices in Lancaster cost around $42 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 $17.
Meals for one day
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lancaster
For Lancaster, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Private Walking Food Tour in Lancaster:
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Lancaster can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $15 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Tours and Activities in Columbia
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Columbia are as follows:
Cascade Locks: 1-Hour Columbia River Sightseeing Cruise:
Cascade Locks: Columbia Gorge Sunday Brunch Cruise:
Portland: Columbia Gorge Flight Tour:
Portland: Columbia River Gorge 3-Hour Small Group Tour:
Portland: Multnomah Falls Scenic Air Tour:
Savannah: History & Ghosts Guided Tour with Beverage Stops:
Tours and Activities in Lancaster
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Lancaster.
Lancaster County: National Toy Train Museum Admission Ticket:
Evening Ghost Tour by Candlelight:
Ghost Tour of Lancaster:
Premium Amish Country Tour including Amish Farm and House:
Truly Authentic Lancaster Experience!:
Amish Experience Visit-in-Person Tour of 3 Farms:
Sweet & Savory Tour of Lancaster City!:
Authentic Tour & Meal with an Amish Family!:
Lancaster County: Tour and Meal with an Amish Family:
Lancaster City VIP Restaurant Tour:
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.
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Lancaster, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $9.14.
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 Columbia and Lancaster, we can see that Lancaster 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 Lancaster would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Lancaster than you might in Columbia.
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