When the president or vice president travels, each one travels with a lot of support staff and security staff. Traveling to foreign countries and meeting with foreign leaders is part of the job for these offices, so fiscal conservatives can’t label the trips as waste.
But necessary as the trips may be, they cost a pretty penny. If you’ve ever wondered just how much a standard presidential or vice-presidential visit costs, a recent contract disclosure sheds some light. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to London in February required 136 rooms and 893 room nights (meaning some or most of the 136 rooms were booked for several nights).
The hotel was the Hyatt Regency London the Churchill.
The U.S. State Department does not have the time to shop around for the best hotel that can meet the security needs of a vice-presidential visit:
Security concerns prohibit sufficient advanced notification of VIP travel to allow for sufficient time to conduct full and open competition. . . . They have an extremely short turnaround time when authorization has been granted for negotiations to commence and site selections to be finalized with both the local vendors and Posts before the actual Presidential visit occurs.
Total cost of the hotel rooms for Biden’s London stay: $459,338.65. Mind you, that’s just the cost of the hotel rooms for the president, his advance staff, security personnel, etc., not transportation or any other costs.
Biden was in London for one night.
This was, of course, before the sequester took effect.