By Terry Trucco
Move over, Manhattan. The most expensive American city for travelers this summer is Honolulu.
This isn’t to say New York City is a bargain; it comes in number 2 in the third annual Tripadvisor Tripindex guide, which lists the 10 priciest and 10 cheapest US cities for travelers. Still, this is one index where first place isn’t coveted.
The 20 cities cited stack up based on the cost of a one-night stay in a four-star hotel, cocktails for two, a two-course dinner paired with a bottle of wine, and round-trip taxi transportation (two miles each way). Prices reflect summer hotel rates (June 1 – August 31, 2013).
Honolulu’s grand total comes to $504. 94, while New York squeaks into second place – literally by nickel and diming — at $504. 25. A Honolulu hotel room, it turns out, is pricier than one in Manhattan ($389.36 vs. $369.77). But at $32.33, cocktails in the Big Apple are costlier than those in the Big Pineapple ($25.33). Dinner for two in New York is also more expensive than a comparable meal in Honolulu ($81.50 vs. $69.93).
And everything is cheaper in Las Vegas, the least expensive American city where all of the above sets you back a mere $272.94.
The big price leap in the survey was for four-star US hotels – they’re up 18 percent over the same period in 2012. Cities that saw the biggest jump were Orlando (33 percent), Denver (32 percent), Honolulu (29 percent), Los Angeles (29 percent) and Seattle (26 percent).
Indeed, hotel prices helped fuel Honolulu’s leap over New York, Boston and San Francisco from fourth priciest overall in 2012 to the top spot in 2013.
Where are the bargains? For the third year, the South is the nation’s most affordable region claiming five of the 10 least expensive cities in the survey — Miami (#2), Dallas (#3), Atlanta (#4), New Orleans (#6) and Houston (#7). Travelers visiting these bargain towns can expect to shell out an average of $336.44, compared to the national average of $398.95.