A Travel Price Comparison for Ohio Columbus vs. Dayton for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Columbus or Dayton?

Should I visit Columbus or Dayton? 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.

Dayton

Located in southwest Ohio, Dayton is known as the "Gem City." It's the original home of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the brothers who designed the first airplane. You'll also find the Dayton Aviation Heritage Park here, which is one of the only multi-site National Parks in the United States. The cities climate has four different seasons, winter, spring, summer and fall. The winter months are quite cold and you can expect a decent amount of snow in the area. Spring remains cool and there are infrequent showers. This is also the peak time for tornadoes in the area. Summer is hot and humid and can be unpleasant at times, but fall is crisp and refreshing with occasional storms and infrequent tornadoes.

Which city is cheaper, Dayton 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 Dayton is $259. 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 Dayton 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 Dayton is about $400 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbus $58
    Dayton $200
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbus $116
    Dayton $400

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.

The average traveler spends about $49 per day in Dayton 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Columbus $39
    Dayton $49

Typical Food prices in Dayton

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


  • Noodle Company Lunch (for 2)
    $17
  • Indian Food Dinner (for 2)
    $34

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 $20 per day to get around in Dayton.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbus $40
    Dayton $20

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 Dayton

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Dayton:

  • James M. Cox Dayton Airport (DAY) to Dayton - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $266
  • James M. Cox Dayton Airport (DAY) to Dayton - Departure Private Transfer: $133
  • James M. Cox Dayton Airport (DAY) to Dayton - Arrival Private Transfer: $133

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbus or Dayton?

Prices for flights to both Dayton 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.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbus $37
    Dayton -

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

Alcohol

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


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbus $16
    Dayton -


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Columbus and Dayton, we can see that Dayton is more expensive. And not only is Columbus much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Columbus would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Columbus 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 Dayton would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Dayton than you might in Columbus.

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

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Columbus vs. Dayton Travel Comparison

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