Last Updated on: 19th June 2023, 07:17 pm
We just got back from our most recent New Mexico adventure which was a one-week trip to Santa Fe.
Here is exactly what our Santa Fe trip cost, plus tips for helping you create your own Santa Fe trip budget.
Since we live in Oklahoma, Santa Fe is an easy (for us) eight-hour car ride away.
Seeing how inexpensive our trip was, I’m very excited to plan many more trips to the “City Different” for a mix of Spanish Colonial and Puebloan history, adobe architecture, and southwestern flavors.
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Santa Fe Vacation at a Glance
Heading to Santa Fe and don’t have time to read this whole piece? Here are some quick recommendations for your trip!
Popular Santa Fe Tours
Where to Stay in Santa Fe
Inn at Santa Fe (Budget)
El Rey Court (Mid-Range)
Marriott Courtyard Santa Fe (Mid-Range – We Stayed Here!)
Hotel La Fonda (Luxury)
Discover Cars (for road trips and independent day trips)
Odds and Ends
Lonely Planet Southwest USA (I use this!)
Route 66 guide (I use this!)
Get a travel insurance quote with Safety Wings (I use them!)
How Much We Spent in Santa Fe: Our Santa Fe Trip Budget Breakdown
Here’s exactly how we spent our money in Santa Fe for one week. Below I go into more detail about each category.
Souvenirs & Gifts: $196.19
Our Total Santa Fe Trip Cost: $2536.17
*We used credit card points from our Marriott Bonvoy Amex to book our hotel room for free, but this is the price the room would have been if we had paid for it.
Santa Fe Budget Per Person
Our total trip cost was $2536.17.
Since our youngest is a baby, she accounted for very little of our overall trip budget. Our oldest is currently three years old, so his food costs were less than the adults and he was only charged for some of the attractions.
However, there are other times when having them with us resulted in higher costs, if only indirectly, as we needed a comfier, safer hotel room and paid for more convenience since traveling with two small children is tiring.
For budget purposes, I would count our trip as 2.5 people, making the cost of our trip to Santa Fe $1014.47 per person.
Accommodations Cost + Tips
As I mentioned earlier, we used Marriott Bonvoy Amex points to book our room for free. However, this would have cost $1008 if we had paid in cash.
We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard Santa Fe on Cerrillos Road. This is a 3-star hotel. The price is one which I consider mid-range, so your budget will be different than ours if you want a luxury hotel, a bed & breakfast, or a budget Santa Fe hotel.
What I liked about our hotel – other than it was free – was that check-in at the front desk was easy, the hotel amenities like an indoor pool were nice, and housekeeping did a fantastic job on our very messy room.
If you’d prefer a different hotel style, here are other popular Santa Fe hotels. Click to check average prices and availability or to book now:
Inn at Santa Fe (Budget)
El Rey Court (Mid-Range)
Guadalupe Inn (Mid-Range)
Drury Plaza Hotel (Luxury)
Eldorado Hotel (Luxury)
Four Seasons (Luxury)
Hotel La Fonda (Luxury)
Note that some hotels offer amenities like free wifi, free breakfast, and free parking. If yours does not, add those costs to your accommodations budget.
You also need to pay attention to whether your hotel is in the city center or on the outskirts of the city. This will affect your transportation budget. More on that later.
Another option when traveling in the southwest is to get an RV rental and camp.
There are many places that allow RV camping near Santa Fe, and this is a great way to enjoy a larger southwestern road trip.
Good to know: When I don’t use credit card points for travel, I look for Santa Fe vacation packages, hotel deals, and vacation rentals on Booking.com.
Attraction Costs + Tips
We spent $151 on attractions. I’m shocked our attraction budget was this low. I felt like I was always swiping my card for tickets.
Santa Fe is a museum-heavy place to visit. We went to four museums in the city, and some of the ticket prices for each museum are on the high side. For example, the Georgia O’Keefe Museum is $20 per person.
In Santa Fe, we spent money at these attractions:
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: $40
IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts: $20
Loretto Chapel: $10
New Mexico Museum of Art (1 adult): $12
Santa Fe Children’s Museum (2 adults and 1 child): $27
There is also a lot of free sightseeing in Santa Fe. For example, the Oldest House Museum and the San Miguel Chapel, two of the most popular things to do in the city, are both free, as are visits to the Santa Fe River parks and the Japanese American Internment Memorial.
We also spent money on attractions during day trips to Albuquerque, Los Alamos, and Taos. These cities also offer a good mix of must-see paid attractions and free things to do.
There is one big attraction that I wanted to do but ultimately skipped due to price: riding the Sky Railway in the Santa Fe Railyard. This scenic train ride looks fabulous (we did something similar in Alamosa, Colorado).
But ultimately, I couldn’t bring myself to spend $409 for our family to go on this special adventure – especially when our three-year-old would cost the same as a full adult. Maybe next time!
Other Santa Fe attractions that we put on our list for our next trip are a stop at the New Mexico History Museum, a local walking tour, and a performance at the Santa Fe Opera or Lensic Performing Arts Center.
I’d also love to come to town for the Fiesta de Santa Fe or another annual festival.
Dining Costs + Tips
At $917.88 , food was our second biggest trip cost. We didn’t scrimp too much when it comes to dining – that’s because the food in New Mexico is just too good!
We had one big meal per day, usually around lunchtime. We had a few nice dinners mixed in with nights of eating leftovers from lunch. We bought groceries for our hotel room for breakfast and snacks to have with us during the day.
Our final per-person food costs in Santa Fe were $367.15, or $45.89 per person per day.
We focused on eating at local restaurants that specialized in New Mexican or Native American cuisine. Some of our favorite places to eat in Santa Fe include the Plaza Cafe, Restoration Pizza, and the Tea House.
Make sure you try local favorites like posole, margaritas, and green chile.
I included breweries and wineries in our food budget. If you consider these to be attractions, I’ll mention that we spent about $30 for one wine and one beer tasting for two adults.
Gear Costs + Tips
We didn’t need any new gear for this trip. I had already purchased a travel crib for the baby for a separate trip, so using it again was a bonus.
We have all of our road trip gear pretty fine-tuned since we’ve done 40k miles of road trips all over North America in the past two years.
One piece of gear I get for every trip is a guidebook. I already had my Lonely Planet Southwest USA and Route 66 guide, so I didn’t have to get new ones. However, you might consider grabbing one or both.
Miscellaneous Costs + Tips
I always put $100 in the budget for miscellaneous problems and unexpected costs, and I’m always happy when it comes out to be less than that.
Of course, if you have a road emergency with no travel insurance, you could have a much bigger expense here.
During this trip, we were fortunate that the only major unforeseen issue was that we went to Albuquerque on a day trip and forgot our phone charger. Getting a replacement cost $26.93.
Pro tip: Get a travel insurance quote for your trip.
Souvenirs & Gifts Costs + Tips
We spent $196.19 on souvenirs and gifts, which was more than I expected.
If I’m being honest, I usually budget between $50-100 for souvenirs. We have a souvenir refrigerator magnet collection that I’m kind of obsessed with, plus we like to buy a gift for anyone who’s helped us out with our trip.
However, shopping in Santa Fe is just too much fun. Between the art galleries and the cool museum and brewery swag, I spent almost twice what I expected.
The $197 included a refrigerator magnet, jewelry for my mother and sister who helped us with the trip by watching our dog and taking care of our place, two t-shirts, a sweatshirt, and a plastic stegosaurus.
I was very, very disciplined and didn’t come home with an entire art gallery or collection of pottery – but I know I’ll be back!
When making your own Santa Fe souvenir budget, keep in mind that the town is the home of George RR Martin, so there are some cool first edition, signed books, and other Game of Thrones swag available.
There are also one billion art galleries in the arts district on Canyon Road to explore that specialize in everything from folk art to high-end painting, plus a ton of fun merchandise at the art and history museums.
That doesn’t even get into the beautiful jewelry for sale at the Palace of the Governors on Santa Fe Plaza, the fun southwestern clothing stores all around downtown Santa Fe, or the weekend Artisans Market.
To sum it up, I’m a saint for spending only $200 on souvenirs.
Transportation Costs + Tips
We went to Santa Fe as a road trip from Oklahoma City, but how you get there will determine a big portion of your transportation costs.
Ours can be broken down as:
This doesn’t account for things like wear and tear on the car, car insurance costs, or even the $100 oil change we needed before leaving for the trip.
But even with those hidden costs, I still prefer to road trip almost every time. Especially now that my son doesn’t qualify for a free lap seat airline ticket.
If you are coming from farther away, your transportation budget might need to be higher.
In addition to gas and parking, you will need to budget for these categories if you are flying:
Round-Trip Airfare (this will vary wildly depending on if you fly economy or first-class)
Car Rental (Get a car rental quote through Discover Cars)
Public Transportation (Airport Pick-Up, Ubers, Taxis, and Buses)
Note that if you are flying, you will most likely need to book a flight to Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF) or Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ).
If you come from Albuquerque, you will want to pick up a rental car at the airport to drive to Santa Fe.
Even if you are flying into Santa Fe, I highly recommend getting a rental car unless you plan to stay downtown and only see attractions within walking distance.
6 Tips to Save Money in Santa Fe
First, look for free attractions as well as discounts. Walking around the city center, visiting the Cross of the Martyrs, and stopping by many of the city’s important churches are all free activities.
Second, for discounted activities, if you will be visiting at least three of the four included Santa Fe sites, a New Mexico Culture Pass will save you money.
Third, we saved money on gas by using our Sam’s Club/Walmart + membership to access gas discounts at the Sam’s Club Fuel Center.
Fourth, we also saved money on food by doing a Walmart grocery order so we had groceries in our hotel room for breakfast and snacks.
Fifth, if you plan on going to multiple national parks and monuments during your time in New Mexico, check out my tips for using the America the Beautiful National Parks Pass.
Finally, if you want to go shopping in Santa Fe for art and handmade souvenirs, but find gallery prices to be untenable for you, check out the Artisans Market on Sundays.
Frequently Asked Questions about Santa Fe Trip Costs and Budgets (FAQ)
Here are the things travelers ask the most often about creating a budget for a trip to Sana Fe.
Is Santa Fe expensive to visit?
Santa Fe can be pricey, but it doesn’t have to be. You can find nice budget and mid-range alternatives for most budgeting categories.
How much does it cost to visit Santa Fe?
We spent $1014.47 per person for a week in Santa Fe. See above for our budget breakdown and how this budget can be more or less expensive.
How many days should I spend in Santa Fe?
We spent seven days in Santa Fe, but only three days were spent in the city itself. We also spent three days exploring other parts of New Mexico on day trips.
Three days was a great amount of time to appreciate the city’s attractions on a weekend getaway.
Is Santa Fe more expensive than Albuquerque?
We spent more money in Santa Fe than in Albuquerque. There were more incidental expenses like parking in Santa Fe. However, they are comparatively priced vacation destinations.
How much does it cost for transportation to Santa Fe?
We spent $236.17 on transportation, which included gas and parking. We didn’t fly, but if you will be flying and renting a car, these will be extra expenses.
Where are the best places to see in Santa Fe?
We loved exploring Old Santa Fe, including the San Miguel Chapel, the Palace of the Governors, and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts.
We also loved the Jean Cocteau Cinema, the Santa Fe Railyard, and nearby places like Camel Rock.
What are the most popular things to do in Santa Fe?
The most popular things to do in Santa Fe are located in the city center, including the Palace of the Governors, the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, Santa Fe Plaza, the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi.
How much should I budget for my trip to Santa Fe?
This depends on how far away you are and your budget style. If you are flying from New York or Washington D.C., your trip costs will be higher than someone driving in from Phoenix or Oklahoma City.
We spent $1014.47 per person for an eight-day/seven-night Santa Fe vacation. This is $126.80 per day.
This cost per day would be more if we were coming for a shorter amount of time or needed to add plane tickets or a rental car to our budget.
New Mexico Travel Resources
Here are all my New Mexico travel guides.
New Mexico State Guides
New Mexico National Parks Guides
Santa Fe Guides
5 Things to Bring to New Mexico
A Packable Down Jacket – everyone in our family has one. They’re light and easy to keep in your backpack or car, but they’re warm enough to make a huge difference if the weather turns cold.
A Lightweight but Durable Backpack – My Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Daypack was a steal for the price. It’s survived 17 national parks as well as trips to Mexico and El Salvador!
It won’t last forever, but it has more than proved its worth so far.
A Pair of Binoculars for trips where I’m going to be looking for wildlife. I use these binoculars, and my husband has a separate pair.
A Portable Charging Bank in case my phone dies. Having a portable charger for your phone is crucial, especially in a state like New Mexico where the signal comes and goes, draining your battery.
This is a safety issue as my offline maps may be the only way to navigate where there’s no cell phone data available, as well as the convenience of being able to use my cell phone camera.
A Basic First Aid Kit to handle minor issues while you are out. Don’t let a hot spot on your foot turn into a blister, or leave a small cut open to the elements.
I keep a small first aid kit in my backpack at all times when we are on the road.
Other items to consider: a personal breathalyzer since New Mexico is a driving-heavy destination with great breweries and wineries, a pocket knife for small emergencies, a bathing suit for water sports, and a water bottle with a filter if you’ll be out hiking or in nature.
For Your Trip to New Mexico – Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
Whenever I go on a trip, I always make sure to get travel insurance!
This is especially true whenever I explore big cities (and their inherent crowds) and the beautiful (but sometimes dangerous) outdoors – so two things I always do in New Mexico!
The company Safety Wing is the travel insurance company I always look to first, and I happily recommend them!
It makes my life easier knowing if something should happen, I’ll be able to take care of it!