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For one enchanted evening, Honolulu is costliest

Las Vegas takes title of cheapest US city for a night on the town in TripAdvisor's third anual index.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 12, 2013 3:00PM

Elevated view of Waikiki beach with hotels. © Guy Vanderelst, PhotographerThis post is by MSN Money editor Bev O'Shea.


Thinking of taking your sweetie out for a big date night? If money is no object and you're traveling without passports, think Honolulu. It's ranked as the nation's most expensive city for a night on the town, according to a report from TripAdvisor

Trip Advisor's TripIndex 2013 tracks the cost of two martinis, a two-course dinner paired with a bottle of house wine, a room for two at a four-star hotel and a taxi to dinner and back to your luxurious accommodations (four miles round-trip).

In Honolulu, the total comes to $504.94 -- not counting airfare to get you there, of course. Honolulu jumped to the top from No. 4 last year. The next-most expensive cities for a night out were New York, Boston and San Francisco.

There are cheaper alternatives. The nation's least expensive city for a night out is Las Vegas, where the tab would be a budget-friendlier $272.94.

Overseas Sofia, Bulgaria, is the most economical city for a night on the town: Pulling out out all the stops will set you back only $158.42. And the world's most expensive city for a night out is Oslo, Norway, where a couple would spend $581.08 for similar fare. (Globally, Honolulu doesn't crack the top five.)

In general, the U.S. cities boasting the cheapest date nights are in the South, with Miami, Dallas and Atlanta following Las Vegas as least expensive venues. But that's not true of every destination down South.

Note the absence of perennial family favorite Orlando, Fla., where hotel prices are up a hefty 33% from last year. 

In Europe, bargains can be found in Eastern European towns including Warsaw and Budapest, while much higher prices will be found in Western cities such as Zurich, Stockholm, London and Copenhagen.

Other fun facts from the TripAdvisor survey:

  • Travelers can rest their heads for one night in a Honolulu hotel ($389.36) or stay three nights in a Las Vegas hotel for nearly the same price ($135.94, per night)
  • For the price of a round-trip taxi ride in London, England ($41.47) travelers can make a similar journey nearly 20 times in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ($2.13 each)
  • A couple can dine out in Taipei, Taiwan ($44.86, dinner for two), for the price of two cocktails in Seoul, South Korea ($44.50).

Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor, said the list is intended to help people plan their vacations to get the most for their money. Although the price of lodging is going up, she said travelers can still find "exceptional value for accommodations in popular American destinations such as Las Vegas, Miami and New Orleans."

Viva Las Vegas.

More from MSN Money:

Jun 12, 2013 6:31PM
Went to dinner last night at a local casino, order 2 prime rib dinners and 1 hot roast beef bill $28.00.   Can't beat Vegas for food prices...the prime rib so tender you could cut it with a fork.
Jun 20, 2013 4:42PM

i still like my red-neck, candle-lit tail-gate dinners. a nice female companion, two candles, a take out pizza or equivalent, a cooler of refreshing drinks and a couple of folding chairs at the tail-gate. no screaming babies, no loud mouthed drunks, no cursing from the kitchen!


just the soft music of night-birds, frogs and insects! maybe some good mood music on the portable c.d. player. it might be advisable to bring along a blow-up matress, air pump and some light blankets for later!


i do love living in sowega! 

Jun 20, 2013 5:48PM
Not sure where these people are eating their date night dinner! We can eat at Olive Garden or Carabbas for $60/ with wine, and a movie runs another $20 and the tip $12-$15. We really prefer buying some expensive sirloins and a bottle of wine and staying home. Cost runs about $40, no waiting, no tipping, and we enjoy grilling on our deck and then sitting on the patio afterwards with our wine and dessert. Works for us.
Jun 20, 2013 6:53PM
In and around Tucson,  there are dozens and dozens of great Mexican restaurants.  You can get a big plate of food in a nice place,  a drink to go with it,  and be under $30 for two.  I like that.  Drive the car,  no parking fees,  and maybe a live music event instead of a movie for $10 each or less and it's a good time.  In all,  you don't spend quite $50 for a beautiful,   fun evening out.
Jun 20, 2013 6:10PM
Taco Bell, Red Box, and Boones Farm.... same thing.
Jun 20, 2013 6:55PM
Where else can one have a romantic dinner with beautiful sunsets on the beach thrown in for free.  Get a bottle of good wine and great plate lunches that do not cost more than $10.00.  Sit on the beach and just enjoy the beautiful romantic setting one can ever get for free.  My wife and I do this every day.  And this is the reason why Hawaii is so  popular.  It does not have to be that expensive. 
Jun 20, 2013 5:02PM

Not sure where they got the idea of all that stuff for a date. Who uses a hotel for a "night on the town" unless you're already on vacation? And if you are... why include the hotel? You're obviously going to be there more than 1 night. I don't know anyone who goes to Honolulu for a single night.


Hubby and I have simple date nights. A nice dinner, maybe a glass of wine (for him, not me. I don't drink.), an ice cream cone on the beach (hey, living in So. Flo. has its perks!) and maybe a movie. Total cost would be less than $100. A lot less. If we REALLY wanted to splurge, we might go to a play or something and then take a walk downtown. The tickets to the play would still be the most expensive thing though.

Jun 20, 2013 6:13PM
This article sounds like something out of an old Playboy magazine from the sixties.  Where is the hi fi info, the classical jazz mood album, the poetry reading, smoking pipe, perfect martini, blah blah blah.
Jun 20, 2013 6:14PM
They obviously didn't do their homework for this article.  Here in Fairbanks, AK, one overnight stay at Chena Hot Springs Lodge (it's really a 1 star resort but its as close to 4 stars your going to get up here) with all the fixings excluding dinner; costs $495 for the "lovers getaway" package.  This package includes a 2 day, 1 night stay at their lodge, a tour of the geothermal plant, passes to the hot springs and pool and a bottle of Champaign.  Oh, and you have to make your own travel arrangements to the lodge, which is an hour and a half away from Fairbanks.  So all in all with gas at nearly $5 a gallon using 15 gallons round trip @ $75, dinner at $60 for two, and a few drinks for two at $7 per + $42 it all adds up to $672. 
Jun 12, 2013 5:02PM
Agreed that London taxi's are the most expensive I have ridden in, but everyone should try it once, then take the Undergound!!! 
Jun 20, 2013 7:48PM
Couldn't you say this about everything in Hawaii? Except maybe hash and coconuts?
Jun 20, 2013 5:20PM
Maybe I just don't know the definition of expensive. I recently visited Miami for the very first time. I spent $1100 in 4 days on just dining and drinking. I did absolutely no shopping. Although I had set the money aside to have fun with, I still thought that was a little expensive. If I didn't gamble, I would spend half of that doing the same thing in Vegas....which, I find relatively cheap.

Cape Town, RSA

The Cod Farther on the beach was absolutely fantastic meal, with wine (bottle of very good wine) was about $20.00. This is a very upscale restaurant where you pick the fresh cuts you want.

Jun 20, 2013 6:58PM
I wonder how much a Big Mac costs in Honolulu.
Jun 20, 2013 7:29PM



Two big macs with med fies and cokes just under $20.  Two movie tix at least $25. One popcorn and 2 drinks at least $20. Two post movie coffees at least $10.  Round trip subway or bus at least $10 unless you both have an unlimited monthly Metrocard.  

Jun 20, 2013 8:29PM
If you think a night out in Las Vegas is the cheapest in the USA then I've got a bridge to sell. What do you do after you have had a meal and a few drinks, go to bed? You just might end up having a cheap night. But the chances are, especially with 2 of you, you will be spending a lot more than $234.
Jun 20, 2013 6:20PM
Vegas rocks for cheap eats. But I do like to splurge once in a while. Vegas is good for that too. If you want to spend some coin there are some really nice restaurants. But I love prime rib so .......well you know.
Jun 20, 2013 6:32PM
as for me , I'm not much for foreplay..............just get it on.
Jun 20, 2013 9:24PM
False - check the study itself - the only reason Vegas gets the cheapest is because of the hotel room, which is based on stays between June 1 - August 31. Not exactly peak season in Vegas, but I'd bet is prime season in Hawaii. Vegas ranks at or near the top in the other studied categories, which I would suspect don't fluctuate as much depending on the season
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