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

Should you visit Washington or Charleston?

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 Washington and Charleston can help you decide which place is right for you.

Washington

Washington, DC is the capital city of the United States of America. It is also a city rich in history and culture. The city dates back to 1791 when the states of Maryland and Virginia donated the land to create the capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land that was ceded by Virginia and in 1871 it created a single municipal government with the remaining area. Today, Washington, DC has a population of over 600,000 people. The metropolitan area includes suburbs in Maryland and Virginia and has a population of about 5.8 million.

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 Washington?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Washington is $155, 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 Washington and Charleston in more detail.



Accommodation

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $182 in Washington For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.

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


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Washington $91
    Charleston $72
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Washington $182
    Charleston $144

Food

The average traveler spends about $30 per day in Washington for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

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
    Washington $30
    Charleston $46
Typical Food prices in Washington

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


  • Water
    $2.00
  • Snacks on Monuments Tour
    $6.15

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Washington

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

  • Washington D.C.: 3.5-Hour Georgetown Food Tour: $65
  • Washington DC: 3-Hour Italian Food Tour: $65
  • Washington DC Food Tour: Italian Cuisine in Dupont Circle: $65
  • Adams Morgan Food Tour: $76
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: DC Morning Food Tour on H Street: $79
  • Washington DC: Private Food Tour Experience: $79
  • Capitol Hill Walking Food Tour: $79
  • Washington, DC: The Original Brew Tour with Tasting & Dinner: $81
  • U Street Neighborhood Food Tour: $89
  • Washington DC Odyssey Dinner Cruise: $100
  • Private French Cooking Class with an Expert in the Heart of Washington DC: $108
  • Washington, DC 3-Hour Dinner Buffet Cruise: $122

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

To get around in Washington, the average visitor spends $37 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.

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.
    Washington $37
    Charleston $26
Typical Local Transportation prices in Washington

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Washington are as follows:


  • Metro Day Pass
    $9.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Washington

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

  • Washington Reagan Airport Transfer to Baltimore & D. C.: $15
  • Private Airport Transfer: Washington to Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA): $40
  • Washington to Washington R. Reagan Airport (DCA) - Departure Private Transfer: $61
  • Washington Airport Transfers: Washington to National Airport DCA in Business Car: $72
  • Departure Private Transfers: Washington to National Airport DCA in Business Car: $72
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Washington to Dulles International Airport (IAD): $77
  • Private Departure Transfer from Washington City to DCA Regan Washington Airport: $78
  • Departure Private Transfers: Washington to National Airport DCA in Luxury SUV: $78
  • Departure Private Transfers: Washington to National Airport DCA in Luxury Van: $82
  • Washington Airport Transfers: Washington to National Airport DCA in Luxury SUV: $82
  • Washington Airport Transfers: Washington to National Airport DCA in Luxury Van: $82
  • DCA Private 1-Way Transfer from D.C. City Center Hotels: $97

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charleston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Charleston:

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Washington or Charleston?

Prices for flights to both Charleston and Washington 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

In Washington, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $19 per person, per day.

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.
    Washington $19
    Charleston $17

Tours and Activities in Washington

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

  • Tidal Basin: Stroll around the cherry blossoms and monuments on an audio tour: $5.00
  • The National Mall: Discover the monuments and their memories on an audio tour: $5.00
  • The Kennedy Homes: Explore the colonial architecture on this audio walking tour: $5.55
  • Lincoln's Assassination: Explore Lincoln's final day on this audio walking tour: $5.55
  • Washington DC Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Washington DC: Arlington Nat. Cemetery Ticket & Tram Tour: $15
  • Washington DC Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Virtual Tour of Martin Luther King Memorial: $18
  • Virtual Tour African American Heritage in Washington DC: $19
  • DC: Museum of the Bible Exclusive Early Admission Ticket: $20
  • Washington, DC: US Capitol Building Entry with 1-Hour Tour: $20
  • Haunted History Ghost Tour: $21

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:

  • 2-Hour Guided Kayaking Eco Tour in Charleston: $48
  • 2-Hour Paddle Board Eco Tour of Charleston Lowcountry: $48
  • 90-Minute Historic Walking Tour of Charleston: $25
  • Amazing Ladies of Charleston Walking Tour: $35
  • Best of Historic Charleston Walking Tour: $35
  • Boone Hall Plantation Admission & Tour with Transportation from Charleston: $61
  • Bruce Knows Insider Walking Tour of Downtown: $26
  • Car Service: Airport to / from Cruise Port: $130
  • Charleston Attraction & Tour Pass for 1, 2, or 3 Days: $73
  • Charleston Boo Hag & Brews Walking Ghost and Bar Tour: $29
  • Charleston Chicora Walking Tour: $26
  • Charleston City Bus Tour with Charleston Museum Admission: $32

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 Washington, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $15.

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
    Washington $15
    Charleston $28

Sample the Local Flavors in Washington

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Washington:

  • Epic Washington DC Bar Crawl: By Let’s Roam: $12
  • Haunted Washington D.C. Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $27
  • DC: 'New York Times Journeys' Walking Tour with Beer, Cheese and Wine Tasting: $120
  • NOVA Private Custom Wine Tours & Tasting from DMV: $645
  • 6 Hours Northern VA Wine Tour: $920

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

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