Aspen, Amsterdam, or Austin – What are the most and least expensive places to visit these days?

Looking for a “last hurrah” before summer’s over? Here’s the ultimate list.

Photo (c) Jonathan Ross - Getty Images

If you’ve been putting off a vacation because prices are all over the place, there’s little change. Good deals on holiday airfares and possibly some locations in October/November might still be available, but that’s about it at the moment.

However, new studies – and added homework from ConsumerAffairs – offer a new insight: what the total costs at destinations you might consider going to look like.

Most expensive

A study by the team at  found that the top 3 most expensive vacation destinations are Gustavia, St Barth, Aspen, Colo., and Gstaad, Switzerland. For all three, the average daily rate (ADR) for a family of four is $2,634.45. For an individual or couple, it is $1,490.60. For all three, the average daily food cost is $105.

Luckily, it doesn’t cost anything for a traveler to drop their jaw when looking at a mountain or a beach, so since the attractions to these places are all nature-based, the average out-of-pocket “attractions” cost is under $6.

The mention of St. Barth in this list moved ConsumerAffairs to look at the Caribbean overall. If you think that the Caribbean isn’t expensive, sorry. We found three destinations in the cost-of-living’s Top 25:

  1. Hamilton (Bermuda)
  2. George Town (Cayman Islands)
  3. Nassau (Bahamas), and
  4. Barbados

Believe it or not, Hamilton, George Town and Nassau are more expensive than New York City, Honolulu, and San Francisco.

You probably can't pronounce the cheapest way to go to

Pronouncing the world’s top budget-friendly destination, but with the average daily transportation cost for a family of four coming in at $1, the average cost of attractions at $1.71, and the average daily food costs at $29, it doesn’t really matter how correctly you say “Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.” 

Here in the U.S.? Oklahoma City is A-OK, apparently. Check out this list:

One thing that the researchers found worth mentioning is the low-cost options that Eastern Europe has. Prague, for example, wound up in the least expensive category with an ADR well under $200.

There are a lot of options in Eastern Europe that people may not ever consider, but ones that haven’t lost their “Europe’ness” where larger cities like Paris may have. Temperatures in Eastern Europe destination are also running in the 70s, far cooler than places like Athens and Rome. 

One solid option is Krakow, Poland. The cost-of-living chart indexes Krakow at 46.1 overall – about half the cost of Boston, San Diego, Washington D.C., Seattle, and Miami – which is attractive by itself. But, with it having Europe’s oldest town square and university and the good fortune of never being damaged during World War II, it is worth extra consideration. 

Poland’s other budget magnet is Warsaw. Not only is it full of history, culture, and architecture, but you’ve got access to some incredible Polish food. When it comes to price, an individual can expect to only pay an average of $155 per day and the average price for a 7-day trip for a family of four – with airfare – is $5,192.

The last hurrahs of summer

Dovetailing with FloridaPanhandle’s research, Scholaroo has produced a much broader study for consumers who still want to take a trip before summer’s over, but stay in the U.S. Taking in everything from the average menu price to the number of airports, lakes and beaches, even the number of police and sexual assaults, researchers determined that these states are the 10 “most affordable” for summer travel:

  1. Wyoming
  2. Hawaii
  3. Florida
  4. North Dakota
  5. Tennessee
  6. Arkansas
  7. South Dakota
  8. Montana
  9. Texas
  10. Kansas

Like Aspen and Switzerland, the key for many of these is that they have stunning – and low-cost – nature on their side. Lots of beaches and oceans, forests, and national parks.

One last hurrah?

Summer's last breath is often summed up in these last-chance "hurrah" moments - a great lake swim, waterfall adventure, or boat trip. tells ConsumerAffairs that over Labor Day weekend, its analysts counted more than 60 options across the U.S. and Canada that fit the “last hurrah.” These adventures seem to hover between $180-$350 per day and often include accommodation, transportation/transfers, expert guides, and some meals.  

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