A Travel Price Comparison for California Palm Springs vs. Santa Monica for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Palm Springs or Santa Monica?

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 Santa Monica 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.

Santa Monica

When it comes to visiting Los Angeles, Santa Monica is high on the must-see-and-do list. Chances are you'll recognize the iconic ferris wheel from Pacific Park in films and TV shows, and nothing beats the relaxed yet bustling vibe of this laid-back city.

Santa Monica is a popular and diverse beach town, cultural hub, fitness venue, shopping district, and neighborhood full of unique and trendy restaurants, all rolled into one. Visited by more than 6 million people a year, it's no wonder you'll always find a crowd there.

So whether you're up for a high-end shopping spree, bicycling down the waterfront, an eclectic food crawl or simply a stroll down the promenade, Santa Monica is sure to have something in store for you.

The weather in Santa Monica is moderate, with average summer highs in the low to mid 70s and winter climate that rests comfortably around the low 50s. Though flip flops and sandals are considered year-round footwear in Los Angeles, bring comfortable walking shoes for browsing galleries, malls, and boutiques. Santa Monica is the perfect place to break out your California-casual wardrobe.

Which city is cheaper, Santa Monica 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 Santa Monica is $168. 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 Santa Monica 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.

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $98. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Santa Monica the cost is $196 on average.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Palm Springs $96
    Santa Monica $98
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Palm Springs $192
    Santa Monica $196

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.

On average, meal and food prices in Santa Monica 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Palm Springs $42
    Santa Monica $42

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

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Monica

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

  • Taste of Santa Monica Walking Food Tour: $84

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.

The average price of local transportation around Santa Monica is $40 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Palm Springs $42
    Santa Monica $40

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Palm Springs

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Palm Springs:

  • Palm Springs International Airport One Way Transfer: $37
  • PALM SPRINGS to Palm Springs Airport (PSP) - Departure Private Transfer: $98
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to PALM SPRINGS - Arrival Private Transfer: $98
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to PALM DESERT - Arrival Private Transfer: $106
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to INDIAN WELLS - Arrival Private Transfer: $124
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LA QUINTA/INDIO - Arrival Private Transfer: $124
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to PALM SPRINGS - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $197
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to PALM DESERT - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $212
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to INDIAN WELLS - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $249
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LA QUINTA/INDIO - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $249
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to ONTARIO - Arrival Private Transfer: $299
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to SANTA ANA - Arrival Private Transfer: $365

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Monica

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Santa Monica:

  • Santa Monica to Los Angeles Airport (LAX) - Departure Private Transfer: $61
  • Private Transfer From Santa Monica Area To Los Angeles Airport (LAX).: $79
  • Santa Monica to Long Beach Airport (LGB) - Deparure Private Transfer: $113
  • Malibu or Pacific Palisades Private Transfer To Los Angeles.: $115

Is it cheaper to fly into Palm Springs or Santa Monica?

Prices for flights to both Santa Monica 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.

Santa Monica's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $30 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Palm Springs $23
    Santa Monica $30

Tours and Activities in Palm Springs

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

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

Tours and Activities in Santa Monica

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

  • Virtual Guided Cultural Tour of Los Angeles: $5.00
  • Self-Guided Tour of Santa Monica in Los Angeles: $19
  • Bvc 02 -half Day Tour Santa Monica.: $45
  • Experience a beach séance with a medium in Santa Monica: $48
  • Half Day Tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beach: $53
  • Malibu Celebrity Homes Tour: $55
  • The OJ Simpson Tour: $55
  • Santa Monica & Venice Bike Tour: $70
  • Half-Day Private Gas-Powered Scooter Tour in Los Angeles: $70
  • Santa Monica and Venice Beach Bike Adventure Tour: $74
  • Small Group Electric Bicycle Tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beach: $79
  • Half-Day Private Gas-Powered Skateboard Tour in Los Angeles: $85

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.

The average person spends about $17 on alcoholic beverages in Santa Monica per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Palm Springs $10
    Santa Monica $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Monica

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

  • Vintage VW Hippie Tour to Malibu with wine tasting: $148


When comparing the travel costs between Palm Springs and Santa Monica, we can see that Santa Monica 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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Palm Springs vs. Santa Monica Travel Comparison

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