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

Should you visit Raleigh or Charleston?

Should I visit Raleigh 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.

Raleigh

Raleigh is the capital city of the state of North Carolina. The city has a population of about 450,000 and is home to many colleges and university including North Carolina State University, Shaw University, Saint Augustine's College, Meredith College and Peace University. The city has a wide range of museums, restaurants, theaters, and parks. There's also an extensive greenway system that is great for biking or running.

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 Raleigh?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Raleigh is $151, 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 Raleigh and Charleston in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $83. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Raleigh the cost is $166 on average.

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


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Raleigh $83
    Charleston $72
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Raleigh $166
    Charleston $144

Food

While meal prices in Raleigh can vary, the average travelers spends about $46 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Raleigh should cost around $18 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Raleigh is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

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
    Raleigh $46
    Charleston $46
Typical Food prices in Raleigh

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Raleigh:


  • The Pit Authentic BBQ (for 3)
    $84

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Raleigh

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

  • Raleigh, NC - Walking Food Tours: $62

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

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $30 per day to get around in Raleigh.

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.
    Raleigh $30
    Charleston $26

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Raleigh

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Raleigh:

  • Raleigh to Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU) - Departure Private Transfer: $124

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charleston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Charleston:

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Raleigh or Charleston?

Prices for flights to both Charleston and Raleigh 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

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $30 per person, per day in Raleigh. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.

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.
    Raleigh $30
    Charleston $17

Tours and Activities in Raleigh

Here are a few actual costs in Raleigh for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Trolley Pub Public Tour of Raleigh: $41

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:

  • Charleston's Haunted Ghost Tour - Smart Phone Guided Tour: $5.00
  • Charleston Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $16
  • Charleston's French Quarter Guided Walking Tour: $20
  • Shem Creek Culture Tour: $20
  • Downtown Charleston Walking Tour with Certified Local Guide: $21
  • Charleston's Pleasing Terrors Night-Time Walking Ghost Tour: $21
  • Historic Charleston Guided Sightseeing Walking Tour: $21
  • Highlights of Charleston Guided Walking Tour: $22
  • Charleston Historical Walking Tour: $22
  • Charleston French Quarter Historic Guided Walking Tour: $22
  • Drayton Hall Plantation Admission Ticket in Charleston: $22
  • Small-Group Tour: Charleston Old Walled City Historical Walking Tour: $23

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Raleigh may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $22 per day on alcoholic beverages.

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
    Raleigh $22
    Charleston $28

Sample the Local Flavors in Raleigh

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Raleigh:

  • Raleigh Bar Hunt: Rowdy Raleigh Bar Crawl: $12

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 Raleigh and Charleston, we can see that Raleigh 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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Raleigh vs. Charleston Travel Comparison

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