A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Columbus vs. Charleston for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Columbus or Charleston?

Should I visit Columbus or Charleston? 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.

Columbus

The capital city of Ohio, Columbus sits at the meeting point of America's Rust Belt, Bible Belt, Appalachia, and the Plains. It is also home of Ohio State University, which is a major financial and economic force in the city. You'll likely need a car to navigate the city, although there is a bus system, COTA, which can take you to some of Columbus' highlights.

Charleston

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.

Which city is cheaper, Charleston or Columbus?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Columbus is $126, while the average daily cost in Charleston is $136. 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 Columbus and Charleston in more detail.



Accommodation

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $116 in Columbus For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.

A hotel room in Charleston is about $144 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbus $58
    Charleston $72
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbus $116
    Charleston $144

Food

The average traveler spends about $39 per day in Columbus for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Columbus $39
    Charleston $46

Typical Food prices in Charleston

Some typical examples of dining costs in Charleston are as follows:


  • Lunch in downtown Charleston for two
    $21
  • Breakfast
    $26

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Charleston

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Charleston.

  • Charleston Harbor: Luxury Dinner Cruise & Live Music: $66
  • Downtown Charleston Culinary Walking Food Tour: $73
  • Savor the Flavors of Charleston Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Charleston's Savor the Flavors of Upper King Street Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Charleston Chef's Kitchen Guided Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Charleston: $129
  • Undiscovered 1/2 Day Food, Wine & History Tour with Cooking Class: $154
  • 3-Hour Secret Food Tour in Charleston w/ Private Tour Option: $277

Local Transportation

To get around in Columbus, the average visitor spends $40 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $26 per day to get around in Charleston.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbus $40
    Charleston $26

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Columbus

Also for Columbus, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Arrival Private Transfer: $87
  • Columbus to Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) - Departure Private Transfer: $87
  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $174

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charleston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Charleston:

  • Private transfer: Charleston to Charleston Airport (CHS): $622
  • Private Departure Transfer to Charleston Airport (CHS): $52
  • Charleston city to Charleston Airport (CHS) - Departure Private Transfer: $124

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbus or Charleston?

Prices for flights to both Charleston and Columbus 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

In Columbus, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $37 per person, per day.

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.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbus $37
    Charleston $17

Tours and Activities in Columbus

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

  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Columbus: $11
  • Columbus Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus Ticket: $21

Typical Entertainment prices in Charleston

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Charleston are as follows:


  • Patriots Point (for 2)
    $60

Tours and Activities in Charleston

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Charleston are as follows:

  • 2-Hour Guided Kayaking Eco Tour in Charleston: $48
  • 2-Hour Paddle Board Eco Tour of Charleston Lowcountry: $48
  • 90-Minute Historic Walking Tour of Charleston: $25
  • Amazing Ladies of Charleston Walking Tour: $35
  • Best of Historic Charleston Walking Tour: $35
  • Boone Hall Plantation Admission & Tour with Transportation from Charleston: $61
  • Bruce Knows Insider Walking Tour of Downtown: $26
  • Car Service: Airport to / from Cruise Port: $130
  • Charleston Attraction & Tour Pass for 1, 2, or 3 Days: $73
  • Charleston Boo Hag & Brews Walking Ghost and Bar Tour: $29
  • Charleston Chicora Walking Tour: $26
  • Charleston City Bus Tour with Charleston Museum Admission: $32

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Columbus spend on average $16 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

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.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbus $16
    Charleston $28

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: $12
  • Ghost Walking Tour and Pub Crawl in Haunted Charleston: $27
  • Haunted Pub Crawl of the Market: $37


When comparing the travel costs between Columbus and Charleston, we can see that Charleston 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.

Budget Your Trip

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Columbus vs. Charleston Travel Comparison

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