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

Should you visit Columbus or Detroit?

Should I visit Columbus or Detroit? 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.

Detroit

Detroit is the largest city in the Midwestern state of Michigan. Near Downtown, the neoclassical Detroit Institute of Arts is famed for the Detroit Industry Murals painted by Diego Rivera, and inspired by the city's ties to the auto industry, giving it the nickname "Motor City." Detroit is also the birthplace of Motown Records, whose chart-topping history is on display at their original headquarters, Hitsville U.S.A.

Which city is cheaper, Detroit 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 Detroit is $107. 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 Detroit 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.

The prices for places to stay in Detroit can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $51, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $102.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbus $58
    Detroit $51
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbus $116
    Detroit $102


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.

In Detroit travelers spend around $36 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
    Columbus $39
    Detroit $36

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Detroit

For Detroit, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Fresh Mediterranean Inspired Cooking Class in a Unique Detroit Home: $94
  • Detroit Revival Food Tours: $139


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.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Detroit than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $30 on transportation in Detroit on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbus $40
    Detroit $30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Columbus

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

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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Detroit

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

  • Transfer from Detroit Metropolitan Airport to Detroit: $100
  • Private Transfer: Detroit to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW): $622
  • Private Transfer from Detroit City to Detroit (DTW) Airport: $122
  • Private Transfer from Detroit (DTW) Airport to Detroit City: $122
  • Private Transfer From Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to Detroit City: One Way Arrival Transfer: $149
  • Private Departure Transfer to Detroit Airport DTW: $43
  • Detroit City to Detroit Airport (DTW) - Departure Private Transfer: $106
  • Detroit Airport (DTW) to Detroit City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $212
  • Detroit Airport (DTW) to Detroit City - Arrival Private Transfer: $106
  • Detroit - Wayne County Airport One Way Transfer: $80


Entertainment

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

Sightseeing expenses in Detroit, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $17 per day, per person.


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

Tours and Activities in Columbus

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

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

Tours and Activities in Detroit

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

  • 2020 Preservation Detroit Saturday Eastern Market Tour: $18
  • 90 minute Segway Experience: $64
  • Detroit Beer History Walking Tour: $39
  • Detroit Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $30
  • Detroit Walking Tour Including Rides on the People Mover: $29
  • Corktown is Popping! Small Group Walking Tour: $29
  • Downtown Detroit Walking Tour with a Local: $29
  • Foods and Flavors of Detroit Private Tour: $130
  • Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Entry & Guided Tour: $15
  • The Rise, Fall & Renewal Walking Tour: $29
  • Pre Mother's Day Detroit Shopping Tour: $49


Alcohol

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

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


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbus $16
    Detroit $16



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

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Columbus vs. Detroit Travel Comparison

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