Hawaii is most expensive U.S. destination; D.C. is runner-up

The Top 10s

Most Expensive Destinations

 1. Hawaii $559

 2. Washington, D.C. $518

 3. Nevada $348

 4. New York $329

 4.  Rhode Island $329

 6. California $320

 7. New Jersey $311

 8. Massachusetts $310

 9. Florida $303

10. Delaware$294

Least Expensive Destinations

 1. Nebraska $191

 1. North Dakota $191

 3. Kansas $193

 4. Iowa $196

 5. Oklahoma $199

 6. South Dakota $203

 7. Arkansas $206

 8. Kentucky $210

 9. Alabama$211

10. Tennessee $214



With its palm trees, refreshing trade winds, clear blue skies and beautiful beaches, Hawaii is easily one of the most alluring vacation destinations in the U.S. Its also one of the most expensive states to vacation in, according to a new survey by AAA.

The survey measured only the price of hotels and restaurants and didnt address the price of gas, air fares, admission at attractions and activities at the destination.

Despite those caveats, it would cost a family of four -- two adults and two children -- $559 a day to visit the 50th state. Hawaii has been the most expensive destination in AAAs survey for five years running.

The next most expensive destination, based on AAAs 2006 U.S. Vacation Costs report, is Washington, D.C., which entered the list of the five most expensive destinations for the first time last year. A family of four would spend on average about $518 per day to visit the city.

On the bright side, admission is free to most Washington museums and other attractions, such as the U.S. Capitol.

Hot on Washingtons heels was Nevada, which costs a family of four $348 per night. Rhode Island and New York were tied at $329 per night.

By comparison, North Dakota and Nebraska were bargains. On average, a family of four would only spend about $191 per day to visit each state, making them the least expensive vacation destinations.

For a few dollars more, $193, vacationers can stay inexpensively in Kansas. Rounding out the five least expensive destinations were Iowa ($196) and Oklahoma ($199).

Overall, AAA found that travel expenses for a family of four would be at least 5% higher this summer, not counting the costs of transportation. A family can expect to spend, on average, about $261 per day on food and lodging this summer.

Lodging rates are expected to average $141 a night, up nearly 9% from last year, while meals will cost at $120 per day, up 2%.

Even though the survey didnt take rising gas prices into account, the cost of fuel does play a factor by forcing up lodging rates and meal prices, AAA said.

Rate increases for lodgings are mostly a result of supply and demand, especially in major markets, said Michael Petrone, director AAA tourism information, in a statement. For both lodgings and restaurants, rising energy costs as well as salary and benefit costs are certainly having an impact.

AAA has been tracking vacation costs since 1950, when the average cost was just $13 a day for a family of four.


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