Why is Boston so expensive

Cost of a trip to the USA. How expensive is a round trip along the east coast?

. A detailed breakdown of the cost of our trip along the east coast.

There are many fantastic places to discover on the east coast of the USA. Unfortunately, such a trip is not exactly cheap. In particular, getting around by rental car and the numerous great, but also expensive attractions drive up the costs. In this post I would like to break down the expenses of our 3-week round trip in the east and answer the question of how expensive our trip was overall.

So that you get a relation for our costs, it is important to say how long we were on the road, what we did and which stations we went to. We were in May and June 2017 for almost 3 weeks on the east coast with the rental car. A typical road trip in the USA, as many do. Our journey began in northern Boston and led us through Niagara Falls, New York, Washington and Shenandoah National Park to southern Miami in Florida.

Important key dates of our trip were:

  • Duration: just under 3 weeks, 19 days (including arrival and departure days)
  • Period: May and June 2017
  • Group size: 2 persons
  • Rental car: upper average (VW Jetta SE TSI)

My personal expenses for the entire trip amounted to 2847 €. My travel companion paid roughly the same amount. I think a good one The rule of thumb is therefore 1000 € per week and per person to be taken into account.

Prep costs

There are some one-time charges prior to the trip. This can be the passport or technology (such as an adapter). But since we are traveling to the USA for the second time, these things no longer had to be purchased. I only bought a 32 GB microSD for my smartphone because I needed space for the large offline maps to navigate. The bottom line is that the preparation costs are rather low. Also note that this cost item is highly individual - it can look very different for you.

ESTA entry authorization12,73 €
travel Guide24,99 €
32 GB microSD13,99 €
total51,71 €


The greatest cost was associated with mobility. These are, of course, mainly flights and the rental car. The rental car in particular was very expensive at € 1294. The reason for this is that the price has almost doubled because we pick up the rental car at a different station (Boston) and drop it off (Miami). This is the so-called one-way surcharge. This is what the car rental companies are paying for like a king. Furthermore, we have also had a higher class of car and additional insurance on site. In addition, a surcharge must also be paid for the second driver (~ 100 €). In addition, there are costs for refueling, parking and the toll roads. However, later on we avoided the toll roads more and more if there was no major detour involved.

outputtotalCost per person
Train to the airport18,75 €18,75 €
Train return from the airport21,75 €21,75 €
Outbound flight (Berlin -> Reykjavík -> Boston)877,96 €438,98 €
Return flight (Miami -> Cologne -> Berlin)457,98 €228,99 €
Rental car (One-way from Boston to Miami)1293,53 €646,77 €
toll61,92 €30,96 €
Refueling192,98 €96,49 €
Park122,86 €61,43 €
total3047,55 €1543,92 €


The second largest cost item was accommodation. Here are a few comments:

  • We have stayed at both hotels and Airbnbs.
  • It has been shown that you can save massive amounts of money with Airbnb. Of course, it also applies here that beautiful Airbnbs in a central location are also more expensive. But still significantly cheaper than hotels in a comparable location. No surprise so far.
  • Since we were mobile thanks to the rental car, we were able to travel to cheaper hotels outside the cities.
  • Our Airbnb in Newark (near New York) was very cheap. There was a reason for that: I can't recommend the area to anyone. I didn't feel safe, and beyond that, we still had a long way to New York.
outputArtnightstotalCost per personCost per person per night
Bostonhotel2267,43 €133,71 €66,86 €
Niagara FallsAirbnb290,00 €45,00 €22,50 €
Newark (near New York)Airbnb4194,00 €97,00 €24,25 €
WashingtonAirbnb2196,00 €98,00 €49,00 €
Culpeper (at Shenandoah NP)hotel2210,82 €105,41 €52,71 €
SavannahAirbnb1102,00 €51,00 €51,00 €
Jacksonvillehotel185,95 €42,98 €42,98 €
MiamiAirbnb4235,00 €117,50 €29,38 €
total1381,20 €690,60 €
Average (18 nights)38,37 €

Overall we have 691 € (per person) paid for the accommodations. With 18 nights we come to the average cost per person and per night of 38,37 €. Incidentally, this is significantly cheaper than the € 46.70 from our round trip on the west coast. This is mainly due to the cheaper Airbnbs. These averages are certainly a good guide if you are looking for accommodation yourself.

If you want to find out more details about our route, have a look here: Our route in the east of the USA.

Entrance fees to the National Parks

A trip along the east coast is much more city-heavy than in the west, where you typically approach more nature. Nevertheless, we visited three beautiful parks. It is important that you buy the ticket for each car. The more people you are traveling with, the cheaper it will of course be per person.

National Parkcosts per car
Shenandoah National Park22,30 €
Skidaway Island State Park (Parking)4,46 €
Everglades National Park22,24 €
total49,00 €
Total per person24,50 €

Entrance fees to attractions and sights

In particular, the sometimes salted entrance fees for attractions and sights in the cities add up over the course of a 3-week round trip.

Museum, sightEntrance fee per person
Maid of the Mist boat tour, Niagara Falls16,35 €
Statue of Liberty Pedestal Access, New York16,99 €
Empire State Building, New York31,35 €
Luray Caverns24,08 €
Kennedy Space Center€ 47.60 (excluding € 8.90 parking fees)
Speed ​​boat tour, Miami33,91 €
Robbie's Marina Tarpon Peer, Florida Keys1,79 €

pocket money

I summarize all other costs under the item pocket money. This is mainly food and shopping, but also souvenirs and tickets for public transport (used in New York and Miami). Overall we came up 378,08 €what for 3 weeks USA very economical is (also compared to our trip on the west coast). We never went to restaurants, we mostly skipped lunch and breakfast was often already included in the accommodation (hotel and some particularly good Airbnbs). And when we had breakfast, we bought some cereal and milk in the supermarket the night before. You can save a lot here - but it's not for everyone ;-). It should also be noted that food in the USA is more expensive than in Germany and higher tips (TIPs) are expected in restaurants. I also didn't buy too many souvenirs and we didn't go shopping either.

outputMy expenses
Food, groceries300,01 €
Souvenirs60,74 €
Public transportation17,33 €
total378,08 €


If you add up all the costs of the trip, the following picture results:

outputMy expenses
Prep costs51,71 €
mobility1543,92 €
Accommodations690,60 €
National parks24,50 €
Attractions172,07 €
pocket money378,08 €
total2860,88 €

I hope my cost breakdown will help you plan your own tour of the US East Coast.