How Much Things Cost in the US

When you're travelling overseas, having an idea of how much everything is going to cost can be really handy. Especially somewhere like the US, where you have to factor tax and tipping into everything you buy. Oh boy! To give you an idea, we've listed some prices for things you need and want on a holiday like transport, food, tours and more.

All the prices we've quoted in this article are in New Zealand dollars, but you can visit our currency converter to find out what the exchange rate is between the NZD and USD right now!

Before you head off, learn about:

  • Is it expensive to visit the US?
  • How much you need to bring to the US
  • The cost of food
  • Accomodation

Is it Expensive to Visit the USA?

There are a lot of differences between the US and New Zealand, in terms of how much things cost. Let's compare the price of some standard things in New Zealand and the US to give you an idea.

New Zealand vs US

In this table, we have a comparison of some things you might do in the US. The prices are approximate and include an estimation of tax and tipping, but remember that tax changes from state to state.


Cost in NZ

Cost in the US

Breakfast with Coffee $15 NZD $8-20 NZD
1 full day of public transport $2-12 NZD $6 NZD
Full priced Movie ticket $12 NZD $23 NZD
Museum Entry $28 NZD $35.10 NZD
A pint of beer $9.5 NZD $13 NZD

To find the best way to buy USD, you can read our guide here.

How much money do I need to bring?

The answer to this question really depends on the type of holiday you're planning in the States. Will you be backpacking and staying in hostels? Will you be living it up at the Plaza in NYC? If you want to do it on a budget, you easily can or you can splurge and go on a luxury holiday.

It all depends on what you're doing, where you're staying and how long you're planning to travel.

Here we have listed an estimate of how much money you'd need, per person, per day depending on your holiday.

Budget holiday: Up to $110 NZD

Middle of the range holiday: Up to $300 NZD

Luxury holiday: Up to $750 NZD

How much does food cost in United States?

Food is a pretty important part of a holiday, and a great way to get to know a country. No one heads to the USA thinking they might lose a few kgs, you need to be prepared to eat your weight in fried food. You can really decide how much you want to spend on food everyday. You could get by on as little as $10 NZD or if you're fine dining you could spend hundreds! Below we've listed some general prices for eating and drinking out.

Eating out:

  • First course: $13 - $25 NZD
  • Main course: $20 - $40 NZD
  • Dessert: $13 - $20 NZD


  • Coffee: $5 NZD
  • Beer: $10 - 15 NZD
  • Glass of wine: $10 - $30 NZD

Some other examples:

  • 1 litre milk: $1.20 NZD
  • Big Mac meal: $8 NZD
  • In-N-Out burger: $9 NZD
  • NYC's famous cheesecake: $10 NZD


You can really be flexible about how much you spend on accomodation when you get to the United States. If you're keeping it low key and don't want to spend much, there are hostels in most major cities, or you could live it up! Below are some rough guides to how much you can expect to pay.

Accomodation on a budget, like hostels cost about $50 to $110 NZD a night.

Mid-range accomodation like a double room in a 3 star hotel will probably cost between $150 and $270 NZD a night.

A double luxury hotel room will cost between $250 to $1000 NZD per night.

Using the following sites will give you an even better idea of how much the accomodation you're after will cost you.

Oscar Murray
Read more
Last updated
March 8th, 2021