Flying vs. Driving: Should You Fly or Drive to Your Summer Vacation Spot?

Photo of Flying vs. Driving: Should You Fly or Drive to Your Summer Vacation Spot? 1/1 by Angela Pattridge

Summer vacation time is nearly upon us, and it is the time of year when families around the country begin to ask the age-old question: Should we fly or drive to our vacation spot this year? Good arguments can be made for both sides, and the decision may be different for different families, depending on their specific needs and circumstances.

To help you answer this question and get the most out of your next summer vacation, here are a few of the most important benefits to each side of the argument.

Benefits of Driving

If cost is the most important aspect of travel, you may immediately lean towards driving. This option almost always has a lower initial cost than flying, and frugal families will be heavily influenced by this factor. Driving also presents the unique opportunity for a family road trip. When done correctly, these road trips can become just as exciting and memorable as the actual vacation destination.

However, this is where you will need to seriously think about your individual situation. Will you truly enjoy the prospect of being in one car with your family for several hours? If your children are older, road trips can be a blast, but parents with young children can quickly regret this choice once carsickness, arguments and repeated Disney songs begin to take their toll.

You will also need to consider the length of the trip when thinking of driving. Will you be able to reach your destination in one day of driving, or will it be necessary to stop for one or more nights at a hotel. Make sure that you figure lodging and meals into your road trip budget, as these can quickly add up. Gas prices are also an important consideration, and there are many helpful tools to locate the best prices along your route. You will also need to ensure that your car is in proper working condition and get car insurance quotes if necessary.

Benefits of Flying

The biggest benefits of flying over driving are quite obvious. You can reach your vacation destination in a fraction of the time, and with less headache. However, you will pay for this time and convenience, as airline tickets for an entire family will take a significant toll on your wallet.

If you are only concerned with reaching your destination as quickly as possible, and you are not intrigued by the idea of a family road trip, flying will provide the best option if you are able to fit the cost into your budget. But the costs do not stop at the ticket price. You will also need to consider the price of baggage fees, airport parking and a rental car upon arrival.

These additional fees can actually be the deciding factor for frugally-minded travellers. If you are uncertain about the overall cost difference, there are travel calculators online that can help you estimate the difference of flying or driving.

Another benefit is the fact that air travel is proven to be significantly safer than driving long distances. It is estimated that the odds of accident in a motor vehicle at 1 in 98, as opposed to a 1 in 7,178 chance in air travel.

The Verdict

In the end, the choice will depend upon your own specific needs. For those that are concerned mostly with the cost, driving will be the best choice. Even with the cost of gas, lodging and meals, driving will allow you to reach your destination at a fraction of the cost of flying. It will also present you and your family the unique opportunity to bond on a memorable road trip.

If the destination is more important than the journey, flying will be the best option if it fits into your budget. Plane tickets, baggage fees, rental cars and other costs will add up, but there is simply no comparison for convenience and time-saving.

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