la-tr-most-expensive-cities-1
21 Images

Most expensive U.S. cities for travelers

la-tr-most-expensive-cities-1
Wonder how much your next vacation is going to cost? Figures released by the U.S. General Services Administration may give you a rough idea. Each year, the GSA sets limits on how much federal employees traveling on business can spend on lodging, meals and incidentals, such as tips, basing their estimates on costs at midrange accommodations and restaurants. For more on the GSA’s per diem rates, read a recent Travel column on estimating travel costs.

Based on the GSA’s numbers, here are the 20 most expensive cities included in the survey.* Many are among the nation’s top tourist destinations, including New York City and San Francisco. Others are cities leisure travelers could probably skip.

If you’re traveling to one of these destinations, do your research to get the best deals on hotel rooms and meals. Also consider traveling during the low tourist season. Consult our budget travel page for more tips.

The cost averages listed below are for one person and one meal per day.

--Jason La, Los Angeles Times

*Figures are taken from the GSA’s estimates for the 2011 fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, for destinations most commonly visited by federal employees. For cities with costs broken down by season, the average was taken. Daily rates are given for each city. ()
lat-sal12-l0voqqnc20100420114855
1. New York City

Lodgings: $297
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $368

2009 population: 8.39 million

Read about New York City:
• Up on the roof, where the drinks -- and the Manhattan views -- are fine
• Walking in Holden Caulfield’s footsteps through Manhattan
• Pop-up eateries a hit with New York’s hip
• A tour of literary Manhattan

More info: www.nycgo.com

Pictured: Time Square (Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)
Harvard Square
2. Boston

Lodgings: $217
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $288

2009 population: 645,169

Read about Boston:
• Touring Cambridge, America’s original college town
• Boston’s up-and-coming destination

More info: www.cityofboston.gov/visitors

Pictured: Harvard Square (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles)
Cruising the Potomac
3. Washington, D.C.

Lodgings: $212
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $283

2009 population: 599,657

Read about Washington, D.C.:
• Washington, D.C., hotel upgrades a winning ticket
• A monumental cruise of the Potomac

More info: washington.org

Pictured: The Potomac River (Chris Wright / For The Times)
Santa Monica Pier, 2008
4. Santa Monica, Calif.

Lodgings: $209
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $280

2009 population: 87,563

Read about Santa Monica:
• Santa Monica restaurants, bars, clubs and events
• Santa Monica’s Basement Tavern at the Victorian a hidden pleasure

More info: www.santamonica.com

Pictured: Santa Monica Pier  (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
The Ledge at Willis Tower
5. Chicago

Lodgings: $191
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $262

2009 population: 2.85 million

Read about Chicago:
• Ode to Chicago summer
• Guide to O’Hare Airport

More info: explorechicago.org

Pictured: The Ledge at Willis Tower (Richard Derk / Los Angeles Times)
San Francisco
6. San Francisco

Lodgings: $183
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $254

2009 population: 815,358

Read about San Francisco:
• San Francisco Ferry Building a waterfront foodie heaven
• Cheap eats in San Francisco

More info: www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com6.

Pictured: Golden Gate Bridge (Los Angeles Times)
Pirate Soul Museum in Key West
7. Key West, Fla.

Lodgings: $174
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $245

2009 population: 22,463

Read about Key West:
• Key West pirate museum to move to St. Augustine
• Fantasy Fest in Key West

More info: www.fla-keys.com

Pictured: Pirate Soul Museum (COURTESY OF THE PIRATE SOUL MUSEUM)
Michelle Obama
8. Tarrytown / White Plains / New Rochelle, N.Y.

Lodgings: $164
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $235

2009 population: 11,169 (Tarrytown), 57,468 (White Plains), 74,281 (New Rochelle)

More info: www.westchestertourism.com8.

Pictured: Michelle Obama at Stone Barns Center in Tarrytown, N.Y. (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)
East Beach
9. Santa Barbara

Lodgings: $166
Meals and incidentals: $66
Total: $232

2009 population: 86,353

Read about Santa Barbara:
• Avocado madness and 10 handy Santa Barbara County facts
• Exploring Santa Barbara’s locally grown food
• 13 Santa Barbara restaurants to savor

More info: www.santabarbaraca.com

Pictured: East Beach (Richard Derk / Los Angeles Times)
Philadelphia
10. Philadelphia

Lodgings: $164
Meals and incidentals: $66
Total: $230

2009 population: 1.55 million

Read about Philadelphia:
• Historic Philadelphia gets new life at Franklin Square
• Budget Philadelphia: Let FREEdom ring

More info: www.visitphilly.com

Pictured: The Liberty Bell (R. Kennedy / Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp.)
Seattle restaurant scene
11. Seattle

Lodgings: $159
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $230

2009 population: 616,627

Read about Seattle:
• Seattle’s Arctic Club mines gold rush-era memories
• Tea revolution brewing in coffee-saturated Seattle
• In Seattle, it’s all about authentic dining

More info: www.visitseattle.org  (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Vail, Colorado
12. Vail, Colo.

Lodgings: $158
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $229

2009 population: 4,843

More info: www.colorado.com/Vail.aspx

Pictured: Vail Cascades  (Courtesy of Vail Cascade)
Shelly S.">Great Neck, New York
13. Floral Park / Garden City / Great Neck, N.Y.

Lodgings: $161
Meals and incidentals: $66
Total: $227

2009 population: 15,885 (Floral Park), 22,501 (Garden City), 9,935 (Great Neck)

More info: www.visitnassaucounty.com

Pictured: Great Neck, N.Y. (Shelly S.)
denver
14. Denver

Lodgings: $158
Meals and incidentals: $66
Total: $224

2009 population: 610,345

Read about Denver:
• Tips for a successful Denver family vacation
• Denver, Colorado, more than a conventional choice

More info: www.denver.org

Pictured: The Frederic C. Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Museum (Anne Cusack / LAT)
Aerial view
15. Baltimore

Lodgings: $152
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $223

2009 population: 637,418

Read about Baltimore:
• Five for fall in Maryland

More info: baltimore.org

Pictured: Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Sun photo by Lloyd Fox)
Wild Animal Park
16. San Diego

Lodgings: $147
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $218

2009 population: 1.31 million

Read about San Diego:
• San Francisco vs. San Diego: Which is the better getaway?
• San Diego’s naval side
• Serenity at Gaslamp Quarter’s Hotel Indigo

More info: www.sandiego.org

Pictured: San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park (Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times)
Nantucket Island
17. Nantucket

Lodgings: $156
Meals and incidentals: $61
Total: $217

2009 population: 11,322

Read about Nantucket:
• A peaceful, end-of-summer family vacation in Nantucket

More info: www.nantucketchamber.org

Pictured: Steamship Authority dock on Nantucket Island (Rob Benchley / For The Times)
Charlie Kellogg">Jamestown, Rhode Island
18. Jamestown / Middletown / Newport, R.I.

Lodgings: $145
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $216

2009 population: 25,598 (Newport)

More info: www.visitrhodeisland.com

Pictured: The Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge (Charlie Kellogg)
The Ritz-Carlton on Fort Lauderdale beach
19. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Lodgings: $143
Meals and incidentals: $71
Total: $214

2009 population: 184,892

Read about Fort Lauderdale:
• Florida shopping guide: Fort Lauderdale
• The Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel has a multimillion-dollar face-lift
• South Florida piers get face-lifts, retain charm to lure visitors

More info: www.sunny.org

Pictured: The Ritz-Carlton on Fort Lauderdale beach (RITZ-CARLTON)
Napa
20. Napa

Lodgings: $147
Meals and incidentals: $66
Total: $213

2009 population: 75,297

Read about Napa, Calif.:
• Brides could be walking down the vineyard aisle
• Ghost wineries of Napa Valley offer a taste of the past
• Napa Valley wine tastings and tours

More info: www.legendarynapavalley.com  (Robert Durell / For The Times)
1/21