A Travel Price Comparison for California Sacramento vs. Santa Barbara for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Sacramento or Santa Barbara?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Sacramento or Santa Barbara, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Sacramento

Sacramento is the capital city and one of the oldest cities in the state of California. It was founded in 1849 in the midst of the Gold Rush, and has since grown to a population of over 500,000 people. The atmosphere is more laid back than most major cities, and its heritage is rooted in the Gold Rush and Transcontinental Railroad era.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is located in California, less than 100 miles from Los Angeles. It sits between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, giving it a stunning backdrop. The town has a population of just 90,000 but it still offers visitors many cultural, culinary, and shopping experiences that surpass many large cities. There are wide beaches along a beautiful coastline, impressive wineries, and many top rated restaurants. Many people see Santa Barbara as a hangout for the rich and famous, but with a university and diverse population, the city is much more relatable than you might expect, although travel prices here are still somewhat high.

Which city is cheaper, Santa Barbara or Sacramento?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Sacramento is $225, while the average daily cost in Santa Barbara is $130. 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 Sacramento and Santa Barbara in more detail.



Accommodation

The prices for places to stay in Sacramento can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $88, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $176.

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $71. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Santa Barbara the cost is $142 on average.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Sacramento $88
    Santa Barbara $71
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Sacramento $176
    Santa Barbara $142

Food

While meal prices in Sacramento can vary, the average travelers spends about $42 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Sacramento should cost around $17 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Sacramento is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

The price of a meal in Santa Barbara can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $37 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $15 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
    Sacramento $42
    Santa Barbara $37

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sacramento

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

  • Downtown Sacramento Historical Food Tour: $82
  • Midtown Sacramento Arts and Food Tour: $85

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Barbara

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

  • Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour: $99

Local Transportation

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Sacramento than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $41 on transportation in Sacramento on average per day.

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $33 per day to get around in Santa Barbara.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Sacramento $41
    Santa Barbara $33

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sacramento

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

  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Sacramento hotel/address - Arrival Private Transfer: $72
  • Sacramento City to Sacramento Airport (SMF) - Departure Private Transfer: $72
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Sacramento Executive Airport to Sacramento City - One Way: $73
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Sacramento hotel/address- RoundTrip Private Transfer: $144
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Sacramento Executive Airport to Roseville City - One Way: $144
  • Private Sacramento Transfer Hotel to Airport: $150
  • Private Sacramento Transfer Airport to Hotel: $150
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Arrival Private Transfer: $228
  • Private transfer from Sacramento to SFO: $340
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $455

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Barbara

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Santa Barbara:

  • Santa Barbara-Ojai: Private Transfer To the Los Angeles.: $345
  • Santa Barbara Municipal Airport One Way Transfer: $48
  • Santa Barbara Area Private Transfer To Los Angeles.: $335
  • Private Transfer from Santa B├írbara to Terceira Lajes (TER) Airport: $87

Is it cheaper to fly into Sacramento or Santa Barbara?

Prices for flights to both Santa Barbara and Sacramento 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

Sightseeing expenses in Sacramento, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $15 per day, per person.

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $22 per person, per day in Santa Barbara. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Sacramento $15
    Santa Barbara $22

Tours and Activities in Sacramento

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

  • Sacramento Urban Murals: Cycle the streets of Sacramento with an audio tour: $5.00
  • California Gold Rush: The Sacramento Grid on a Self-Guided Bicycle Audio Tour: $8.30
  • Sacramento Historic River Cruise: $20
  • Sacramento Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Sacramento Sutter District History and Food Walking Tour: $78

Tours and Activities in Santa Barbara

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

  • 5-Day Wild West Tour From Los Angeles: $809
  • Authentic Funk Zone Tour: $125
  • Beginner or Intermediate Mountain Bike Tour of Santa Barbara: $105
  • Channel Islands 3-Day Private Eco Cruise: $6,500
  • Kayak Tour of Santa Barbara with Experienced Guide: $50
  • Private All-Inclusive Wine Country Tour for Couples from Santa Barbara: $550
  • Private Party Bus Tour in the Santa Ynez Valley: $245
  • Private Santa Barbara Winery Tour in Mercedes Convertible for up to 18 Guests: $848
  • Private Santa Barbara Winery and Estate Tour in Tesla SUV: $381
  • Private Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Tour: $326
  • Private Walking Ghosts Tour at Santa Barbara: $35
  • Santa Barbara Downtown Cocktails and History Walking Tour: $85

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Sacramento spend on average $9.31 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

The average person spends about $9.46 on alcoholic beverages in Santa Barbara per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Sacramento $9.31
    Santa Barbara $9.46

Sample the Local Flavors in Sacramento

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

  • Sacramento Bar Hunt: Sacramento Sprint Bar Crawl: $12
  • Bk Best Wine Tasting Tours Amador County 4 Hour Chevrolet Suburban Passengers 7: $385
  • 4 Hour Private Amador County Wine Tasting Tours Mercedes Sprinter Passengers Van: $409
  • Amador Wine Tour from Sacramento: $436
  • 6 Hour Wine Tasting Tours Napa Valley Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passengers Van: $625

Typical Alcohol prices in Santa Barbara

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Santa Barbara:


  • Camping
    $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Barbara

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

  • Santa Barbara Private Wine Tasting Experience: $69
  • Santa Barbara Ghost and Wine Tasting Private Tour: $75
  • Private All-Inclusive Santa Barbara Brewery Tour: $125
  • Santa Ynez Wine Tour from Santa Barbara: $129
  • Private All-Inclusive Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Barbara: $135
  • Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour: $139
  • Cupcake and Wine Tour: $149
  • Santa Ynez Valley Cupcake and Wine Tour: $159
  • Small-Group Santa Barbara Wine Tour to Private Locations: $163
  • All-Inclusive Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Barbara: $167
  • Small-Group Wine Tasting Tour of Santa Barbara Wine Country: $169
  • Santa Barbara Small-Group Wine Tour to Private Locations Not Open To Pubic: $180


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

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Sacramento vs. Santa Barbara Travel Comparison

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