Is Fort Lauderdale An Expensive City? Here Is What to Expect

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To put it bluntly, Fort Lauderdale is a destination with a hefty price tag. It is renowned for its upscale accommodations, designer shops, and vacation rentals. This luxurious lifestyle naturally comes at a considerable cost. 

The city’s cost of living is 22% higher than the national average. You should allocate approximately $205 per day for an individual traveler and $358 for a couple.

As you can see, these costs are crazy. A week in Fort Lauderdale costs a family an average of $4060; that’s ridiculous money.

While it is a fairly expensive destination, the amount of money you spend in Fort Lauderdale is determined by factors like your spending habits, the traveling season, and your preferences. Read on to find out how much it cost me and my partner to stay for a week in Fort Lauderdale.

How Much Are You Going To Spend In Fort Lauderdale?

When you decide to travel to Fort Lauderdale, you should be prepared to spend more than in other Florida party beaches.

Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale travel

This is because the city is quite high-end. Even so, there are different budget ranges for travelers so that everyone can at least get a piece of the Venice of America.


Taxis are available but can be pricy, charging about $6.6 per kilometer. However, a more cost-effective alternative is to rent a car.

Renting a car is more convenient and comfortable, but remember to account for the cost of fuel, tolls, and parking fees.

Also, the city offers bus services, both within the town and for longer distances. Jumping on a local bus will only set you back $3.3, a small fraction of your overall trip expenses.


Fort Lauderdale offers various lodging options available depending on your budget and preferences.

For solo travelers, you can find budget-friendly accommodations starting at $97 for an overnight stay. These options may offer basic amenities and a comfortable stay.

Alternatively, mid-range accommodations are available for approximately $144 for those willing to spend a bit more. They often provide a higher level of comfort, additional amenities, and a more convenient location.

Lastly, if you seek luxury, Fort Lauderdale offers luxurious hotels starting from $280 per night. These hotels boast upscale amenities, elegant décor, and impeccable service.

Daily Expenses

The amount of money you spend in a day in Fort Lauderdale depends on your preferences.

If you prefer fine dining in luxurious restaurants, you may spend up to $400 for a meal. For a moderate dining experience, expect to spend approximately $49 per person for an average meal.

Alcoholic drinks typically range from $4 to $75, while bottled water can be as low as $1 to $4. Rest assured, the tap water in Fort Lauderdale is safe to drink.

Budget Tips When Visiting Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale beaches
Fort Lauderdale beaches

Visiting Fort Lauderdale on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fun and relaxation – here are some budget tips that can help you make the most of your trip.

Travel during Low Season

The peak season in Fort Lauderdale occurs during spring which is between March and May.

During this time, the temperature is nice, and the rain holds off, so many people travel to the city to vacation. Thus, this is the most expensive time to travel to Fort Lauderdale.

If you want to travel to Fort Lauderdale on a budget, the best time would be between August and October, when there are fewer visitors.  Since the crowds are less during this time, you can capitalize on discounted accommodations and flights.

Another tactic to maximize your savings is planning your escapade during the weekdays rather than the bustling weekends. This choice lets you benefit from reduced prices offered by various hotels and attractions while avoiding the weekend crowds.

Moreover, numerous restaurants and bars in the area offer exclusive weekly happy hour deals, allowing you to save on beverages and dining.

Choose your activities wisely

Budget tips Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale budget tips

What most people don’t know is that you can visit several of Fort Lauderdale`s hidden gems without spending a dime.

Yes, you heard it right!

Some of the most sought-after activities in this captivating city are free, including:

  • Beaches
  • Snake Warrior’s Island
  • Anne Kolb Nature Center
  • Deerfield Island Park
  • Central Broward Regional Park

Get creative on Transportation

Like everything else in Fort Lauderdale, transportation can be expensive. This calls for clever tactics in navigating its many wonders while keeping a tight rein on expenses.

You can divide Fort Lauderdale into two lovely sections: downtown and the beach. Exploring downtown on foot is the best idea, plus it also allows you to soak in all the sights and experiences at your own pace without spending a dime.

However, walking might be a bit too much if you wish to venture from downtown to the beach (trust me, I’ve tried). In such cases, renting a bike is a fantastic option. Not only will it save you money, but it also keeps you active while you pedal your way to the beach.

The added advantage is that you can pick up and drop off bikes at different locations, making them a hassle-free mode of transportation.

Of course, if biking isn’t your style, an excellent bus system can take you from one end to the other. Hop on board and enjoy the ride without worrying about parking or directions. 

Another important thing that most people ignore is their travel insurance. When traveling, a lot of things can happen. These uncertainties can drive up the cost of your trip. As such, choose a reliable one that offers 24/7 travel assistance.

Find the Best Value Accommodation 

Every hotel’s price varies based on location, and those near popular spots like cruise ports and beaches tend to be pricier.  

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider staying on the city’s outskirts.

 Some of these accommodations that I would recommend include:

  • Tranquilo Hotel 
  • Tropi Rock Resort’s
  • Hotel Deauville 
  • Fortuna Hotel 

Explore like a Local

Rather than sticking to the typical tourist traps with inflated prices, venture off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the local culture.

This will save you money and provide an opportunity to truly experience the authentic essence of the destination you’re visiting.

For instance, if you’re in Pompano Beach, check out the Festival Flea Market. It’s an indoor market located further away from the touristy areas, but I’ve discovered amazing bargains there.

Bahia Cabana Bar and Grill, Kelly’s Landing, and Southport Raw Bar are local favorites that have been here forever.  

Final Thoughts

Fort Lauderdale offers budget-friendly options despite its luxury reputation. While some aspects can be pricey, such as accommodation and dining at high-end restaurants, plenty of budget-friendly options are also available.

By strategically planning your trip and taking advantage of free or affordable activities, you can fully experience Fort Lauderdale without emptying your wallet.

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