A Travel Price Comparison for California Palm Springs vs. San Diego for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Palm Springs or San Diego?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Palm Springs and San Diego can help you decide which place is right for you.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a desert resort town located about two hours east of Los Angeles, most famously known as Hollywood's playground, where stars and starlets could escape for rest and relaxation but still be close enough to return for impromptu work.

It's no wonder that Palm Springs is increasingly popular as a weekend getaway for special occasions, and even for bachelor and bachelorette parties. Closer than the typical Las Vegas weekend for Southern California residents, Palm Springs provides a desert getaway with endless possibilities of activities, whether visitors want to gamble, shop, hike, or wander through an art gallery.

Climate in the high-desert is generally warm with highs in the 100s during the hot and dry summers, and lows in the mid 40s in the winter months, with sparse rainfall. However, if you're visiting during winter, be sure to pack versatile attire and layers as the days may be warm, but the nights in the low desert can get chilly enough to convince you to change into long pants.

San Diego

For many visitors and locals alike, San Diego is a paradise. Located in southern California, not far from Los Angeles, it has the perfect climate, wonderful beaches, and a culturally rich environment. It's surrounded by beautiful landscape and has a strong focus on wildlife conservation and eco-friendly living. Home to about 1.3 million residents, it is California's second largest city. It also has many universities, a large tech industry, and a thriving economy. Despite its size, many people perceive San Diego as a slower, more relaxed city with a pleasant vibe away from the chaos of a large city.

Which city is cheaper, San Diego or Palm Springs?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Palm Springs is $165, while the average daily cost in San Diego is $161. 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 Palm Springs and San Diego in more detail.



Accommodation

Palm Springs's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $192. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $96.

For a normal double-occupancy room in San Diego, $182 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in San Diego, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $91, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Palm Springs $96
    San Diego $91
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Palm Springs $192
    San Diego $182

Food

On average, meal and food prices in Palm Springs 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.

The price of a meal in San Diego can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $36 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $14 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Palm Springs $42
    San Diego $36

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Palm Springs

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

  • Private French-Inspired Cooking Class with a Fun Local: $72

Typical Food prices in San Diego

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to San Diego:


  • Mexican Lunch for Two
    $27
  • Breakfast at Starbucks
    $20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Diego

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

  • San Diego North Park Food Tour: $49
  • Liberty Station Food Tour: $49
  • Market and Guacamole Cooking Class in Tijuana Mexico: $89
  • Private Cooking Demonstration of Indian Fusion Cuisine in San Diego: $96
  • Farmers Market Tour & Social Cooking With A Chef: $100
  • San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise: $111
  • Dinner Cruise: $117
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours San Diego: $129
  • Secret Food Tours San Diego w/ Private Tour Option: $277

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Palm Springs is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $42 per person, per day, on local transportation in Palm Springs.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in San Diego than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $19 on transportation in San Diego on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Palm Springs $42
    San Diego $19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Palm Springs

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Palm Springs:

  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LOS ANGELES - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $970
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to SANTA ANA - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $729
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to ONTARIO -Round-Trip Private Transfer: $597
  • Departure Private Transfer Palm Springs/San Diego to Los Angeles LAX by Minibus: $556
  • Departure Private Transfer Palm Springs/San Diego to Los Angeles LAX by Luxury C: $524
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LOS ANGELES - Arrival Private Transfer: $485
  • Departure Private Transfer Palm Springs/San Diego to Los Angeles LAX by Exec SUV: $467
  • Departure Private Transfer Palm Springs or San Diego to Los Angeles LAX by SUV: $440
  • Palm Springs Private Transfer To San Diego, CA.: $398
  • Departure Private Transfer Palm Springs or San Diego to Los Angeles LAX by Sedan: $378
  • Los Angeles Private Transfer From Palm Springs.: $375
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to SANTA ANA - Arrival Private Transfer: $365

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Diego

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

  • Private Airport Transfer: from San Diego to San Diego Int. Airport (SAN): $35
  • Private Departure Transfer from San Diego to SAN San Diego Airport: $46
  • Private Airport Transfer: San Diego International Airport (SAN) to San Diego: $46
  • Private Arrival Transfer from San Diego Airport SAN: $48
  • Private Departure Transfer to San Diego Airport SAN: $48
  • Private Arrival Transfer from SAN San Diego Airport to San Diego City: $49
  • San Diego Airport (SAN) to San Diego hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $60
  • San Diego hotel/address to San Diego Airport (SAN) - Departure Private Transfer: $60
  • Transfer from San Diego International Airport to San Diego: $62
  • Departure Private Transfer San Diego to San Diego Airport SAN in Business Car: $63
  • Private 1-Way Private Airport Transfer: $66
  • Private Airport Transfer San Deigo Arrival And Departure: $67

Is it cheaper to fly into Palm Springs or San Diego?

Prices for flights to both San Diego and Palm Springs 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

Entertainment and activities in Palm Springs typically cost an average of $23 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Sightseeing expenses in San Diego, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $38 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Palm Springs $23
    San Diego $38

Tours and Activities in Palm Springs

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

  • Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Desert: $250
  • Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Springs: $250
  • Modern & More Bike Tours Palm Springs: $55
  • Mods & Icons Tour of Palm Springs: $127
  • Palm Springs All-City Tour: $323
  • Palm Springs Day Tour and Outlet Shopping from Los Angeles: $169
  • Palm Springs Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour: $29
  • Palm Springs Windmill Self-Driving Tour Interactive Fun Safe: $49
  • Playground of the Stars Palm Springs Tour: $323
  • Private Golden Days Tour of Palm Springs: $323
  • Private Tour of Joshua Tree National Park from Palm Springs: $495
  • The Legends & Icons Tour of Palm Springs: $114

Typical Entertainment prices in San Diego

For San Diego, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • San Diego Zoo
    $15
  • Sea World Parking
    $12

Tours and Activities in San Diego

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for San Diego.

  • La Jolla: Explore California's Riviera on a self-guided audio tour: $5.40
  • San Diego Zoo Hunt: Roar with Rex Adventure at the San Diego Zoo: $12
  • San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter Historic True Crime Tour: $16
  • San Diego Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • San Diego Balboa Park Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Behind-the-Scenes at Petco Park Tour: $23
  • San Diego Gaslamp District Ghost Tour: $24
  • Tijuana Walking Tour from San Diego: $28
  • San Diego Harbor Cruise: $28
  • Harbor Cruise: $28
  • Off the grid Christian tour.: $28
  • Old Town Scavenger Hunt, Walking Tour: $29

Alcohol

The average person spends about $10 on alcoholic beverages in Palm Springs 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 San Diego, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $17.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Palm Springs $10
    San Diego $17

Sample the Local Flavors in San Diego

Also in San Diego, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • San Diego Bar Hunt: Slammin' San Diego Bar Crawl: $12
  • Wine Tasting Or Beer Tasting: $15
  • San Diego Brewery Tour: $85
  • San Diego Micro Brewery Tour: $91
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $95
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $101
  • Private San Diego Brewery Tour: $107
  • All inclusive brewery tour-Fire Truck: $189
  • Luxury Private Wine Tasting Tour to Guadalupe Valley from San Diego.: $249
  • Private Wine Tour of Temecula from San Diego: $475


When comparing the travel costs between Palm Springs and San Diego, we can see that Palm Springs 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.

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Palm Springs vs. San Diego Travel Comparison

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