A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Columbia vs. Rapid City for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Columbia or Rapid City?

Should I visit Columbia or Rapid City? 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.

Columbia

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.

Rapid City

Rapid City is a large city in western South Dakota that is considered the gateway to the Black Hills National Forest. Rapid City is often used as a base for all types of outdoor activities, including tours to the infamous Mount Rushmore and surrounding parks. The city has a budding art scene and offers the perfect combination of a metropolitan city surrounded by stunning natural scenery. Rapid City experiences the best weather from June-September with temperatures in the 70's and 80's Fahrenheit. Temperatures drop to the low 20's F in the winter and the area receives the most rain pour in April and May.

Which city is cheaper, Rapid City 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 Rapid City is $93. 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 Rapid City in more detail.



Accommodation

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $96 in Rapid City For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbia -
    Rapid City $48
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbia $0.00
    Rapid City $96

Food

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.

In Rapid City travelers spend around $19 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Columbia $4.02
    Rapid City $19

Local Transportation

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Rapid City than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $42 on transportation in Rapid City on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbia -
    Rapid City $42

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbia or Rapid City?

Prices for flights to both Rapid City 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.





Entertainment

Sightseeing expenses in Rapid City, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $21 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbia -
    Rapid City $21

Tours and Activities in Rapid City

For Rapid City, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Full-Day Tour: $84
  • Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Bus Tour with Live Commentary: $84
  • Bus Tour of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills: $123
  • Bike Adventure on the Mickelson Trail - Private: $267
  • Southern Black Hills Bicycle Tour - Private: $267
  • Private Black Hills Monuments Full-Day Tour: $299
  • Black Hills: Private Tour of Mt. Rushmore & Flume Trail Hike: $299
  • Badlands National Park Private Tour: $299
  • Private Mickelson Trail Bicycling Tour/ Two Person Minimum: $299
  • Private Jeep Safari and Hiking Tour/ Two Person Minimum: $307
  • Private Badlands National Park Day Tour: $315
  • Private Mt Rushmore & Southern Black Hills Tour: $329

Alcohol

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.

Typically, people visiting Rapid City spend on average $5.54 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbia $70
    Rapid City $5.54


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Columbia and Rapid City, we can see that Rapid City 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 Rapid City would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Rapid City than you might in Columbia.

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Columbia vs. Rapid City Travel Comparison

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