A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Vail vs. Sun Valley for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Vail or Sun Valley?

Should I visit Vail or Sun Valley? 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.

Vail

Vail is one of the premier ski resort areas in the United States. Located in central Colorado, Vail is not far from Denver and situated in the heart of the Rockies. Here you'll find a quaint mountain town designed around tourism, especially for the winter, although plenty of visitors come in the warmer months, too.

High-end hotels, condos, and other accommodation options are surrounded by shops and restaurants that are all somewhat expensive compared to other costs in the United States. Because of this, Vail is definitely not considered an “affordable” travel option for many. However, good deals can be found if you look around and do some research.

Sun Valley

Sun Valley is a beautiful resort city in the Wood River Valley area of Idaho, most famous for becoming a snowy wonderland every winter. The area was actually named the 2nd best ski resort by Ski Magazine and was a favorite place of escape for Ernest Hemingway. Whether you visit in winter or summer, you're always met with beautiful scenery that's perfect for exploring. The best time of year for winter activities is December-March, while June-August is best for hiking and exploring the area.

Which city is cheaper, Sun Valley or Vail?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Vail is $233, while the average daily cost in Sun Valley is $147. 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 Vail and Sun Valley in more detail.



Accommodation

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $278 in Vail For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $152 for a double occupancy room in Sun Valley.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Vail $139
    Sun Valley $76
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Vail $278
    Sun Valley $152

Food

Vail food costs typically run travelers around $60 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.

Food in Sun Valley costs travelers about $38 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Vail $60
    Sun Valley $38

Local Transportation

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Vail than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $16 on transportation in Vail on average per day.

The cost of a taxi ride in Sun Valley is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $49 per person, per day, on local transportation in Sun Valley.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Vail $16
    Sun Valley $49

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Vail

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

  • Private Airport Transfer Service - Vail Hotels to Denver Int'l Airport: $600
  • Private Departure Transfer to Vail Airport EGE: $128
  • Private Eagle County Airport Transfer to Vail: $210
  • Private Eagle County Regional Airport Transfer to Beaver Creek: $190
  • Private Transfer: Vail to Denver International Airport (DEN): $576
  • Shared Transfer from Vail or Beaver Creek to Denver Downtown: $99
  • Transfer in private minivan from Vail city to Denver International Airport (DEN): $291

Is it cheaper to fly into Vail or Sun Valley?

Prices for flights to both Sun Valley and Vail 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 Vail, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $106 per day, per person.

Entertainment and activities in Sun Valley typically cost an average of $33 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Vail $106
    Sun Valley $33

Tours and Activities in Vail

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

  • Listen to a Tour Guide While you Drive between Vail & Denver: $3.75
  • 2-Hour Small-Group Guided Segway Tour: $89
  • Vail Segway Tour from Vail Village: $89
  • Dillon Marina & Shopping Tour: $267
  • Glenwood Adventure Park Tour: $350
  • Fall Leaves Tour from Vail: $373
  • Glenwood Hot Springs Tour: $377
  • Blackhawk-Central City Casino Tour from Vail: $377
  • Aspen Independence Pass Day Tour: $545
  • Historic Mining Town Tour: $693

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Vail, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.83.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Sun Valley may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $39 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Vail $7.83
    Sun Valley $39

Sample the Local Flavors in Vail

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

  • Vail Valley Brewery & Wine Tour: $377
  • Palisade Wine Tour from Vail: $779


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

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Vail vs. Sun Valley Travel Comparison

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