Corporate Housing BlogTravel Tips › Top 20 Most Expensive Cities for Business Travel in the U.S.

For years, New York, Boston, and San Francisco have battled it out to top the list of most expensive cities for business travel in the United States. Recently, San Francisco had solidified its position as the most expensive city. But this year, there’s a new (old) leader: New York City.

That’s according to the latest Business Travel News Corporate Travel Index. The publication considered average hotel and car rental costs, along with the average cost of breakfast, lunch and dinner. From that data comes this list of the most expensive cities for business travel in the U.S. The figures below are per-day costs.

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities for Business Travel

Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan, New York City

Welcome to New York City, the most expensive city for business travel in the U.S.

1. New York City

Hotel: $385.05

Rental car: $48.92

Food: $115.04

Total: $549.04

Note: Perhaps not surprisingly, NYC’s hotel cost topped the nation. But that’s largely because rates soared 17.5% year over year.

2. San Francisco

Hotel: $379.37

Rental car: $46.95

Food: $107.71

Total: $534.03

3. Boston

Hotel: $337.64

Rental car: $53.45

Food: $119.88

Total: $510.97

4. Washington, D.C.

Hotel: $320.41

Rental car: $43.45

Food: $98.51

Total: $462.37

Note: D.C.’s food cost was ranked surprisingly low, 43rd overall, sandwiched between Columbia, South Carolina, and Tampa, Florida. However, D.C.’s hotel rates jumped 30% year over year.

5. Chicago

Hotel: $275.38

Rental car: $50.90

Food: $117.44

Total: $443.72

Note: According to Business Travel News’ data, the Windy City saw the largest year-over-year jump in overall business travel expenses, a whopping 16.8% increase.

6. Los Angeles

Hotel: $256.63

Rental car: $51.97

Food: $111.36

Total: $419.96

7. San Jose, California

Hotel: $261.72

Rental car: $45.72

Food: $110.95

Total: $418.39

8. Seattle

Hotel: $253.25

Rental car: $47.94

Food: $110.38

Total: $411.57

9. Honolulu

Hotel: $241.39

Rental car: $46.54

Food: $122.89

Total: $410.82

Note: Honolulu was ranked as the most expensive city for eating out in all of America.

10. Santa Barbara, California

Hotel: $233.50

Rental car: $48.31

Food: $113.85

Total: $395.66

Next 10 Most Expensive Cities, Total Per Diem

Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut, the 12th most expensive city for business travel in the U.S.

11. White Plains, N.Y.

Total: $394.04

12. Hartford, Connecticut

Total: $383.70

Note: Hartford is ranked the third most expensive city in the nation for food, at $120.74 per day.

13. Miami

Total: $379.38

14. Philadelphia

Total: $375.01

15. Minneapolis

Total: $372.39

16. Austin, Texas

Total: $370.01

17. Dallas

Total: $363.93

Note: Business travel in Dallas involves a trade-off. Its average nightly hotel rate is the lowest among the top 20 cities, at $190.59. But its food cost is the second highest in the nation, at $122.62 per day.

18. Oakland, California

Total: $363.61

19. Nashville, Tennessee

Total: $357.94

20. Baltimore

Total: $357.04

What If You’re Looking to Save Money?

Often times for business travelers, of course, you have to go where the action is. That’s likely to land you in one of these most expensive cities for business travel. But, if you ever have a choice, you might consider one of the cheapest cities for business travel instead.

Also keep in mind that Business Travel News priced out hotel rates. The average daily hotel rate among the 100 cities ranked was about $177. Equivalent daily rates are lower in corporate housing, which generally is leased by the week or month. The average daily rate for corporate housing was $150 in 2016.

So, if you’re traveling for business this year, first check CorporateHousing.com for temporary housing in your destination city and its surrounding metro area.

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About Mark Edelen:

Welcome. I’m Mark, the organic SEO analyst for CorporateHousing.com, After55.com and ForRentUniversity.com. I’m here to share tips for business travelers from our partners at ForRent.com. You’ll find me on Twitter, tweeting about search and digital media trends, @MarkEdelen.

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  1. […] City, San Francisco, Boston. No, this article is NOT about those destinations, which are among the most expensive cities for business travel. Sending an employee to those cities for work can cost more than $500 a day. Not surprisingly then, […]

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