Comparing prices for tourist itinerary in 5 cities

AP News
Posted: Jun 15, 2012 4:51 PM
Comparing prices for tourist itinerary in 5 cities

The Associated Press sent reporters out with a tourist's itinerary on a weekday in June in five cities around the world _ New York, Paris, Tokyo, Dubai, and Buenos Aires. Here are some of the prices and wait times they encountered, along with assorted challenges and surprises. Meals were purchased from vendors and cafes in tourist areas. Each category lists highest prices first.


Tokyo: $82.40, 20 minutes (from Haneda Airport, used by a growing number of international tourists. Fare from Narita Airport runs $300).

Paris: $73.50, one hour.

New York: $58 (fare advertised as $45 flat but tolls and tip are extra), one hour 15 minutes including waiting on line to get the cab.

Buenos Aires: $33.40, one hour 15 minutes.

Dubai: $13.60, 10 minutes.


A fast breakfast was easy and inexpensive in all the cities, around $4 to $6 with little wait time whether from a street cart, chain or small shop for coffee and a carb: a bagel in New York, pain au chocolat in Paris, medialunas (crescent rolls) in Buenos Aires, donut in Dubai and muffin in Tokyo.


Dubai: $28.59 for the Burj Khalifa, 12-minute wait. Tickets must be reserved in advance because they are often sold out.

New York: $23 for the Empire State Building, one hour on a half-dozen different lines for ticket, security and elevators.

Paris: $18 for the Eiffel Tower, usually less than a half-hour wait but the elevator broke down the day our reporter was there, resulting in a three-hour wait.

Tokyo: $10.30 for the Tokyo Tower, no wait.

Buenos Aires: No luck. The Obelisco was closed for renovation and the rooftop cafe at the PanAmerican Hotel is only open to hotel guests.


Paris: chicken and cheese panini and bottled mineral water from takeout vendor en route to the Louvre from the Eiffel Tower, $24.

Tokyo: bowl of rice and broiled eel, and bottled green tea, from fast food chain Yoshinoya, $8.

Buenos Aires: choripan (classic Argentine sausage with lettuce and tomato in a freshly baked baguette) and soft drink, in park near Recoleta church, $7. Additional irresistible afternoon snack, empanadas, three for $2.25.

New York: tasteless hot dog and bottled water from street vendor outside Central Park, $4.

Dubai: shawarma (grilled chicken in a pita bread with a few veggies, tahini and mayo) and bottled water, $2 from a vendor.


New York: Metropolitan Museum, known for Egyptian collection including mummies, hieroglyphics and Temple of Dendur; exhibits at the Costume Institute tend to be among the museum's most popular. Suggested admission is $25, but visitors may pay what they wish. Crowded but all lines moved swiftly.

Paris: Louvre Museum, home of the "Mona Lisa," $13. Closed Tuesdays, when our reporter happened to stop by. Wait times vary by time of day and season but buying tickets in advance _ as with most major attractions _ can speed entry.

Dubai: Dubai Museum, housed in an old fort made from sea rocks and gypsum dating from around 1800 (one of the oldest buildings in the city). Exhibits on regional traditions including home life, seafaring and pearl-diving, Bedouin life, and a dockside souq (market) circa 1950. Less than $1, no line.

Buenos Aires: Recoleta church and cemetery, with hundreds of beautiful monuments and tombs. Free, no line. Despite directions from a guide at the gate and a 15-minute hunt, the grave of Eva Peron proved impossible for our reporter to find.

Tokyo: Sensoji Temple, where visitors pray, light incense sticks, make offerings or buy religious charms. Free. Crowded but no line.


For free, our reporters enjoyed Central Park in New York; Ueno Park in Tokyo; Tuileries Gardens in Paris; the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, which is often filled with protesters and is a hub of political life since the 1810 revolution that led to Argentina's independence from Spain; and the Dubai Waterway, which leads to the old souk or marketplace, filled with winding alleys, glittering gold shops, merchants selling spices, incense, carpets, textiles and pots and pans, and an endless number of vendors hawking watches.

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Paris: Glass of chardonnay and steak tartare, $29 at Cafe Beaubourg near the Pompidou Centre. Service was fast but the arrogant waiter refused to repeat the wine options he'd blurted out.

Dubai: Draft pint of Stella Artois beer, felafel with tabbouleh and vegetable samosas, $29 at Barasti, beachside bar and grill in the new part of Dubai popular with tourists and expats near the man-made island Palm Jumeirah. Alcohol is not always easy to find in this Muslim country.

Tokyo: Seafood salad, miso soup, hot tea and a beer, $25 at popular sushi chain outside Japan's biggest fish market in Tsukiji, one of Tokyo's most popular tourist destinations.

New York: Glass of house red wine and good-sized burger and fries, $20 at Fanelli's on Prince Street, a busy Soho cafe popular with tourists and locals.

Buenos Aires: Glass of red wine, soup and prime Argentine beef, $17 at Piacere on Alvear. Meal took two hours and started at 8:30 p.m., considered early in Buenos Aires, where dinner is the most important meal of the day and should be enjoyed slowly.


Three-star hotel rates for June 20 found six days in advance on, excluding airport locations:

New York: $145 to $409; "most popular" result at, $278.

Paris: $118 to $705; "most popular" result at, $464.

Tokyo: $80 to $295; "most popular" result at, $295.

Buenos Aires: $58 to $210; "most popular" result at, $78.

Dubai: $39 to $181; "most popular" result at, $95.


Including taxi from airport, breakfast, lunch, dinner, visit to tall building, cultural site, outdoor space.

Paris: $164

New York: $134.

Tokyo: $132.

Dubai: $79.

Buenos Aires: $62.


Thomas Adamson in Paris, Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo, Adam Schreck in Dubai, Roger Dwarika in Buenos Aires and Beth J. Harpaz in New York collaborated on this report.