If you’re thinking about visiting the Pacific Northwest, you may be wondering just how much it costs for a visit. My husband and I recently spent ten days between Seattle and Vancouver with some day trips from those places, so I wanted to break down the cost of the trip to help you with your own planning. This was neither a budget trip or an extravagant splurge. We planned this trip to save money and cut costs whenever it was reasonable, but we definitely did not want to be uncomfortable or sacrifice experiences. We didn’t shy away from splurges like entrances to tours and exhibits, the occasional drink or nice dinner, etc. If you’re traveling on an extreme budget, I’m pretty confident you could get it down much more than this by not renting a car and by staying at hostels or couch surfing, getting a ride to the airport, etc. However, if you’re traveling in a similar style as us, this should give you a rough estimate on how a trip like ours costs. Happy Travels! (Note: All costs are in U.S. Dollars)
The trip was ten days in the Pacific Northwest. We flew round trip from San Diego to Seattle and rented a car. We stayed our first five nights in Seattle, our next four nights in Vancouver, Canada, and then drove back to Seattle for one final night. Along the way we explored the two cities and their surrounding areas, and did as much sight seeing, dining, and exploring as we could.
Transport to and from San Diego Airport: $160
It’s extremely expensive to park at San Diego airport, so we usually take the Super Shuttle instead. It was $160 for both of us round trip, but since I’ve spent that much parking at San Diego airport for a mere long weekend in the past, it was worth it. A cheaper option would have been to take the Coaster train to the 992 bus downtown, but we didn’t feel like dealing with it so we paid the premium.
The Flights: $ 327.92
I like to book my flights when airlines are having sales. As a result, I follow the social media pages for a lot of different airlines so I can make sure to get their announcements about sales.When Southwest Airlines announced they were having a sale, I jumped on it and booked our flights. I found an absurdly good deal. Two people from San Diego to Seattle round trip including the early bird check in add-on for a grand total (all fees included) of $ 327.92.
Where we Stayed: $1151.31
I like to stay in Airbnb properties whenever it makes sense to do so as they are usually more affordable and offer amenities like kitchens that hotel rooms don’t offer. The other thing is that there are often hidden costs at hotels like the charge for nightly parking, internet access, etc. Airbnb didn’t have this and our parking and wifi was, thankfully, free. Also, having a kitchen allowed me to save a considerable amount of money by buying some of my own food and preparing it myself, so this was a big money saver on our trip.
In Seattle, we stayed here for 5 nights: Central District’s Central Digs, and the total cost with all fees was $528.
In Vancouver, we stayed here for 4 nights: Private Suite and Breakfast, and the total cost with all fees was $420.
One fancy hotel: We stayed one night at the Hilton in Seattle on our final night because it was right next to the airport. I decided strategically to indulge a little bit on this one and get us a fancy room for our last night on vacation (treat yo’self!), so the one night including fees, etc. ended up costing $203.31.
The Rental Car: $730
This was the thing that hurt the most. Rental cars are always way more expensive than you expect them to be and even after renting cars on countless trips, I always get sticker shock. This trip was no exception. We saved a bit of money on the rental car by turning it in one day early. Since we were flying in and out of Seattle and spending the first part of the trip in Seattle and the second part of the trip in Vancouver, we needed to be back in Seattle for one night at the end of our trip to catch our flight the next morning. We booked that one night at a fancy Hilton hotel right across from the airport and turned in the car early. We spent the afternoon lounging around the Hilton’s pool and generally enjoying ourselves like the vacationers we were. The next morning, we took the Hilton’s courtesy shuttle to the airport.
Having a rental car to get us around was great, but the trip cost didn’t stop at just having a car…we had to fuel it up as well. We did a lot of driving, and spent about $200 over the course of the trip fueling up and driving all over the place.
Death by 1,000 cuts. You have to pay for parking all over both these cities. I estimate we spent about $60 in parking during our trip.
Sight Seeing: $296.36
I love to just wander around and find what I can find when I travel. That being said, I’m also not opposed to seeing famous sights, so I did a combination of both. Here is what we spent on sight seeing specific costs (entrance fees, etc.)
- Chihuly Garden and Glass – 2 general admission tickets at $27 x 2 = $54
- Ferry to Bainbridge Island– $16.40 for both of us, round trip.
- Mount Rainier Entrance Fee– $25 for the car, including both of us.
- Underground tour of Seattle– $40 for both of us.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge Park– $39.95 Canadian, which fluctuates to USD as exchange rates fluctuate. At the time of writing it was $30.90 USD per person (x2= $61.80)
- Grouse Mountain Gondola and Ski Lift Ride– $47.95 Canadian, which fluctuates to USD as exchange rates fluctuate. At the time of writing it was $37.08 USD per person (x2= $74.16)
- Boat Taxis– About $25USD for the day, unlimited, for both of us.
Ah, food. It’s half the reason I travel. My favorite cost-saving strategy when I travel is to grocery shop for most of my meals and then only indulge and eat out when it’s something I really want. I’m not going to deprive myself of any delicious local delights, but I also don’t see the need to spend $30 to go out to some mediocre breakfast just because I’m hungry when I could have just as easily scrambled a few eggs myself and saved that money for something better.
- Groceries: $160
- Booze: About $90
- Restaurants: $350
A few souvenirs and gifts to take home: We spent about $50.
Total Cost of the Trip: $3575.59
Hopefully this gives you a better idea of the cost of a trip like this. Your cost will vary depending on how much time you spend, whether or not you choose to rent a car, the cost of the flights you find, and the cost of the room you book for yourself. Also keep in mind this was the cost for two travelers to spend 10 days traveling. Your costs will vary depending on how many people you’re traveling with and what costs you may or may not be splitting.