It seems to me that every time we decide to take a trip in my family we have to decide whether we are going to drive or fly. Granted most of the trips are in the six to ten hour range and most of the flights are generally pretty short and either non-stop or have one short layover so we may be in a minority but often we end up with numerous pros and cons for both sites. I’m more of a fan of driving than flying and here are five of the reasons why.
Cost-wise you would think that driving is cheaper. However, with the cost of gas on the rise, take a close look at how much you’ll be shelling out at the pump before you hit the road. The chances are it is less than the cost of a plane ticket but it is always worth checking. Obviously, the more people you are taking with you the bigger the margin becomes and spreading the cost of gas between a few people makes it easier on everyone’s wallet.
Cost in time is a little in favor of the flight because if you choose to drive then you have committed to spending several hours in a car, rather than spending only an hour flying. But is that hour in the air really the only time you spent? Obviously not, you leave the house to drive to the airport, arrive an hour early to check in, spend an hour flying, then spend time waiting for your baggage at the far end, and still have to find a way to get from the airport to your destination. For short flights you spend more time sitting in the airport waiting than you do flying. This means that you will quickly end up spending the same amount of time flying as you will driving.
Flying is also a lot less flexible than driving. If you’re taking a trip after work then it can be very tough if you suddenly have something drop on your desk just as you were about to leave. You have to rush to get it down and then still rush over to the airport hoping to catch your flight. If you’re driving then there are no worries – just hop in the car when you’re ready and roll off. If you leave an hour late then you arrive an hour late, no big deal.
Driving also allows you to see things along the way that you would never normally see. There are interesting stories in small towns and rest stops just waiting to be discovered that you may not have seen along the way. Taking the time to stop at local attractions sometimes means finding a gem but always means that the vacation starts the second you pull out of the driveway, not once you get to the other end.
Let’s face it, with driving as well you are in control of your own destiny. If choose to fly then you are at the mercy of the airline with regards to take-off time, delays, luggage and all sorts of other issues. Wouldn’t you rather have that within your own control? I know I would. My luggage is in the trunk and that’s where it stays until we arrive. I have no concerns that some unnamed person will take it away to New York City while I’m on my way to Chicago. No laughing matter when you find out your underwear is halfway across the country.
So everyone can make their own decision about whether to drive or fly and the choice may not be simple as it seems to be for me, but next time you decide to take a family vacation bear in mind that sometimes, it is easier, quicker, cheaper and more interesting to just hop in the car and go.