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

Should you visit Washington or San Diego?

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 San Diego 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.

San Diego

For many visitors and locals alike, San Diego is a paradise. Located in southern California, not far from Los Angeles, it has the perfect climate, wonderful beaches, and a culturally rich environment. It's surrounded by beautiful landscape and has a strong focus on wildlife conservation and eco-friendly living. Home to about 1.3 million residents, it is California's second largest city. It also has many universities, a large tech industry, and a thriving economy. Despite its size, many people perceive San Diego as a slower, more relaxed city with a pleasant vibe away from the chaos of a large city.

Which city is cheaper, San Diego 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 San Diego is $161. 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 San Diego 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.

For a normal double-occupancy room in San Diego, $182 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in San Diego, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $91, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Washington $91
    San Diego $91
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Washington $182
    San Diego $182

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.

The price of a meal in San Diego can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $36 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $14 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
    Washington $30
    San Diego $36
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 San Diego

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


  • Mexican Lunch for Two
    $27
  • Breakfast at Starbucks
    $20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Diego

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

  • San Diego North Park Food Tour: $49
  • Liberty Station Food Tour: $49
  • Market and Guacamole Cooking Class in Tijuana Mexico: $89
  • Private Cooking Demonstration of Indian Fusion Cuisine in San Diego: $96
  • Farmers Market Tour & Social Cooking With A Chef: $100
  • San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise: $111
  • Dinner Cruise: $117
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours San Diego: $129
  • Secret Food Tours San Diego 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.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in San Diego than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $19 on transportation in San Diego on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Washington $37
    San Diego $19
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 to New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) - Departure Private Transfer: $535
  • Washington to New York J.F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) - Departure Private Transfer: $535
  • Washington City to New York City - Private Car Transfer: $516
  • Washington to Newark International Airport (EWR) - Departure Private Transfer: $491
  • Washington City to Philadelphia City - Private Car Transfer: $392
  • Washington, DC: Potomac Mills Outlet Private Transfer: $357
  • Private transfer from or to IAD , DCA , PHL , MDT airports , VA and Philadelphia: $320
  • Washington Airport Transfers: Washington to Dulles Airport IAD in Luxury Car: $218
  • Washington, DC: Private Airport Transfer(SUV): To or From: (DCA) Reagan National: $180
  • Washington City to Baltimore City - Private Car Transfer: $168
  • Airport Transfer to and from Dulles International IAD Airport: $160
  • Departure Private Transfers: Washington to Baltimore Airport BWI in Luxury Van: $159

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Diego

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

  • Private transfer: San Diego to San Diego Airport (SAN): $622
  • Private transfer: San Diego Airport (SAN) to San Diego: $622
  • San Diego Private Transfer To N. Hollywood/Burbank area.: $398
  • Tijuana Border Crossing Private Transfer To Los Angeles.: $398
  • San Diego Private Transfer To Palm Springs.: $398
  • Private Transfer from San Diego to Hollywood Burbank: $397
  • San Diego Private Transfer To Los Angeles.: $389
  • San Diego to Long Beach Airport (LGB) - Departure Private Transfer: $357
  • San Diego to Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) - Departure Private Transfer: $342
  • Private Transfer From San Diego To Orange County.: $298
  • Private San Diego Transfer: Cruise Port to Airport or Hotel: $192
  • Private San Diego Transfer: Airport to Hotel or Cruise Port: $128

Is it cheaper to fly into Washington or San Diego?

Prices for flights to both San Diego 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.

Sightseeing expenses in San Diego, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $38 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Washington $19
    San Diego $38

Tours and Activities in Washington

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

  • "HEROES OF FREEDOM" PRIVATE TOUR (4 Hour Military Tribute): $658
  • "SHINING CITY" PRIVATE TOUR (3 Hour Evening Tour): $658
  • 2 Day Grand Tour with George Washington's Mount Vernon: $95
  • 2-Day Colonial Williamsburg Guided Tour from Washington DC: $330
  • 24/48-Hour Washington, D.C. Hop-on Hop-off Tour: $49
  • 3-Hour "DC After Dark" Night-Time Guided Bus Tour with Stops at Top Attractions: $35
  • 3-Hour Private Jeep Tour of Washington D.C.: $495
  • 3-Hour Washington DC "Monuments By Night" Guided Night-Time Sightseeing Bus Tour: $49
  • 3-Hour Washington DC "Morning Monuments" Guided Sightseeing Walking & Bus Tour: $64
  • 3-Hour Washington, D.C Urban Adventure Scavenger Hunt: $44
  • 30-Minutes Supercar Driving Pilot Experience in Washington DC: $275
  • Advance Tickets to Washington, D.C.'s Newseum: $24

Typical Entertainment prices in San Diego

For San Diego, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • San Diego Zoo
    $15
  • Sea World Parking
    $12

Tours and Activities in San Diego

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

  • 1-Hour Voodoo Escape Room Experience in San Diego: $35
  • 1Hr GPS Guided Scooter Tour: Harbor/Gaslamp Quarter: $63
  • 2 Hour Whale Watching Kayak Tour for Two: $77
  • 4 Hour Whale Watching/Eco Adventure: $163
  • 90-Minute San Diego SEAL Tour: $42
  • Affordable, Luxury Sailing Tour of San Diego's Bay and Coastal Waterways: $112
  • All Day San Diego City and Shopping Tour: $95
  • All Inclusive Beer Tour-Party bus: $169
  • Behind-the-Scenes at Petco Park Tour: $23
  • Brothels, Bites and Booze: A Culinary Tour of San Diego's Questionable Past: $69
  • Catamaran Sailing Cruise on San Diego Bay for up to 12 Guests: $1,200
  • Catamaran Sailing Cruise on San Diego Bay for up to 6 Guests: $600

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.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In San Diego, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $17.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Washington $15
    San Diego $17

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 San Diego

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

  • San Diego Bar Hunt: Slammin' San Diego Bar Crawl: $12
  • Wine Tasting Or Beer Tasting: $15
  • San Diego Brewery Tour: $85
  • San Diego Micro Brewery Tour: $91
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $95
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $101
  • Private San Diego Brewery Tour: $107
  • All inclusive brewery tour-Fire Truck: $189
  • Luxury Private Wine Tasting Tour to Guadalupe Valley from San Diego.: $249
  • Private Wine Tour of Temecula from San Diego: $475


When comparing the travel costs between Washington and San Diego, we can see that San Diego 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. San Diego Travel Comparison

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