It’s easy to think that everything is cheaper on average in Montana, but this isn’t true. In fact, across multiple variables, Montana actually has a slightly higher cost of living than the national average according to Sperling’s Best Places. On the other hand, there’s a difference between living costs and travel costs. In a couple different ways, tourists have advantages over residents when it comes to the pocketbook. Nevertheless, these incentives help maintain a healthy tourism industry and reflects the fact that people really enjoy the Montana lifestyle.
Lodging and Space: With all the extra space in the state, the misconception that it’s dirt-cheap to live in Montana starts with housing costs. The state’s vast natural resources are primarily used for commercial and ecological ends. The most desirable land and neighborhoods for homes, combined with larger than average properties, make for higher than average home values. Even still, the competition and moderate hospitality taxes mean that visitors can still find reasonable lodging rates, no matter if you’re planning on economy, luxury, or 5-start lodging option. More than just traditional hotels, you can also find numerous cabins and detached rentals through Air BnB or other lodging vendors.
Food and Gas: In fact, the state rarely cracks the top ten most affordable states. Food and gas will, on average, cost more in Montana than the national average. A few years ago, Montana used to be lower than the national average for gas, but that has changed recently. It’s no surprise that these and other transportation-heavy commodities have become more expensive given the vast expanses of land and relatively low population density of the state.
Recreation: Nature is free. Or at least it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t always work out that way. Compared to Broadway shows, retail shopping, and other recreation that may rack up hundreds of dollars a pop, a $30 7-day vehicle entrance fee will give you and your family admittance to Glacier National Park for the entire week. Along with a few other beautiful and interesting stops across the state, you’ll save a lot of money in your vacation budget.
Sales Taxes: As a side benefit, Montana has no sales tax. This affects tourists who are liable to spend more of their disposal income than usual while traveling. It also means people from neighboring states or people who are interested in flying one way and then driving back after seeing the state, you might think about buying a car while you’re in Montana.