View Full Version : fly or drive

03-23-2004, 11:46 AM
Hi - need some advice. We're off to Disney in November, my husband, myself, two and a half year old and my mother. We were planning on driving I-75 but now my mom wants me to look into flying. The downside to that is price and travelling with a toddler (car seat, stroller, stuff) however, it would be faster and easier than driving down. To those who have done both which would you recommend?

03-23-2004, 12:08 PM
It's hard to recommend driving if you can easily afford to fly. We always drive as it saves us about $500-600 in flights and another 200-300 in car rentals. To us it is worth it to be in a car for 21 hours straight. Your mileage may differ.

Highlights of driving

- Cost -
- Sense of accomplishment
- unbelievable scenery
- awesome food stops
- American AM radio


- stinkyness
- marital strife
- lower back ache
- extreme case of boredom at times
- some danger of falling asleep at wheel if warning signs are not heeded
- American AM radio

Good Luck

03-23-2004, 02:40 PM
Mo, We've driven down 3 times and will probably do it again in the future but we currently have an infant and have decided to fly this time around. Babies and 20+ hours in a car would not be fun!!!We leave on Apr. 10 and are flying with Jetsgo. We got a great deal and it's a direct flight, only 2 and a half hours! If we didn't have to be at the airport 3 hours earlier it would be a breeze!Pretty sad when you have to spend more time at the airport than on the actual plane! I'll let you know when we return if I thought flying was better or not. TTFN. Jen::yes::

03-23-2004, 04:29 PM
We have done both. Obviously I prefer flying because of the time factor and I hate the drive. When we choose to drive it is to save money, to me there really isn't too many other benefits. As far as the hassle with taking the stroller etc on the plane you could counter that argument with how to entertain a toddler for a 20+ hour car ride.

When flying you do have to factor in the car rental on the other side assuming you will need one. We usually stay in an off property condo making the rental a must.

You could save money on flying if you are within a reasonable distance to a US airport....e.g. for our Sept trip we can fly out of Buffalo or Detroit for around $230 CDN incl all taxes etc, while it would cost 420-450 to fly out of Toronto. With 12 people in our group that's alot of money.

My point is (and I do have one!) is to compare prices figure out savings and then make your choice. I'm not positive but I would think the only 2 reasons anyone would choose this drive would be financial or a fear of flying.

03-23-2004, 05:45 PM
Here is the formula that we use when figuring out whether it is cheaper to fly or drive to Florida. We live one hour from the Detroit border for reference purposes.

Drive to Florida (4 days on the road)
motels for 2 nights @ $75./night 150.00
Food for four $75/day 300.00
Gas 200.00
total cost to drive $650.00

Fly to Florida
car rental 175.00
Gas 60.00
Food for travel days 100.00
Parking at airport for our car $7.00/day 50.00
say for a 7 day trip
Total cost to fly $385.00

Plus the cost of the airplane tickets ??????? = total cost to fly.

All prices are quoted in USDollars, since we usually fly out of Detroit.

Sometimes we drive, sometimes we fly, depends on how much time we have available to be away.

You have to decide which way is best or least expensive for yourself::yes::

edited to change from 3 nights of motel rooms to 2 nights

03-23-2004, 05:59 PM
We prefer to drive and I have done it with a 2 1/2 year old and just myself. I've also flown with a 2 old. I preferred the drive. He started to scream half way through the flight and it was awful. He wanted to eat food off the floor and was not a happy camper when it wasn't allowed to. Everyone else on the flight wasn't a happy camper either. :D

When he got antsy on the drive I could stop and let him run around for a while -- in the airplane this wasn't possible.

A plus to this is that my now almost 18 year old doesn't mind long drives in the car. We have family in the Maritimes and to fly costs a fortune so we drive. We also drive to WDW.

One big plus to driving is that you can take whatever you want. We also take pop, water, snackies etc. so our food costs on the road aren't that much.

There is the speed of flying though so you really have to weigh the decision on personal preference.

03-23-2004, 06:04 PM
Wow, not much savings if you get a hotel for 3 nights.

We drive straight thru and straight back....total costs?

Gas - 7 Fill ups there and back $126.00

We leave at 7pm. Stop once in Windsor for Tim Hortons. $2.70
Hit the tolls $2.50. Stop in Ohio for coffee and snack $5. Drive throughout the night and usually drink about $4 worth of coffee. We stop in KY at a Cracker Barrel in the mountains; $17.00. Then we don't stop until Georgia where we eat at Steak and Shake for lunch $19.00. And that is that. $50.20 each way. (all figures are pulled out of thin air, but are accurate within $10.)

So total cost $226.00? Thats not bad. Cheaper than one flight.

03-23-2004, 06:38 PM
You guys all have really good points however I think I want someone to decide for me LOL. I think it will come down to who wears me out first, my husband (voting to drive) or my mother (fly). If we flew, we'd definitely need a direct flight - anyone know if there are any out of Syracuse or Ottawa?

03-23-2004, 07:52 PM
oops you are right soupy.

That should be 2 nights not 3. The three nights is if we go down for a cruise and want to arrive the night before. I forgot to adjust that when I put that in there. So you can subtract $75.00 from that total.

We don't do the drive straight through thing cause we are too old and wouldn't survive it :p

Your prices must be for 2 people cause how do you eat at a restaurant with four people for so cheap.

03-23-2004, 08:29 PM
We drive and also leave around 7 PM. Stop in Windsor for a washroom break and then again in Dayton at Timmies for coffee and a snack so about 5-10 dollars depending on who is up etc. We have an electric cooler so we don't need to buy meals on the way like breakfast and lunch so that saves us about 30 to 40 dollars yes we had the expense ov buuying the cooler but we have owned it for 4 years now and use it all the time. We stop for the night in Valdosta at 42 dollars for the night and spend roughly about 150 dollars for fuel. We leave Valdosta around 9 Am and stop at the Florida welcome centre and get our free Orange Juice etc and then we go on to Disney from there we arrive between 12 and 1 plus with stoping for the night everyone gets a good nights sleep. We travel with 3 ids 7, 2, 1 the only thing is the weather isn't always the greatest we have had no problems untill this past trip when Ohio was all iced over on the I-75 on the bridges but that is the worst thing we have ever run into.

Hotel in Valdosta 42.00/night
Timmies in Ohio 5-10.00
Gas 150-190.00 Total there and back not each way
Lunch and breakfast 0
Second breakfast included in cost of hotel.
so roughly 250.00 to drive there and back

03-23-2004, 08:41 PM

Don't you eat dinner when you travel???? I didn't see that included in your price and you do have to include some $ for your breakfast and lunch even if you did bring the food with you. Oh and we travel with older teens, so they eat a bit more than little ones and therefore cost a bit more too.

Do you have a van? All of those electric coolers that I have seen would take up a lot of trunk space if you tried to put it in there with the luggage also.

03-23-2004, 10:05 PM
We have used my mothers van but we also have a rooftop carrier for putting stuff in (ie) all the luggage. As for dinner we try not to eat out when we stop but last time we got Pasta from the italian place next to the hotel and it was about 10-12 dollars for 3 large orders of Fettucini Alfredo and garlic bread. For our breakfast we bring cereal from home that was allready paid for so we don't actually count this as a cost and we made egg salad sandwiches and PB& honey sandwiches and we also went to the Mcormicks factory store in london and picked up some snacks about 20 bucks worth.

03-24-2004, 05:42 AM
DSNY FN -- Aren't the electric coolers great? We've had a couple over the past 15 years or so -- our first one held about 6 cans of pop. :D We have saved countless dollars over the years and the cooler has paid for itself long ago. We use it in the room and always have cold water to drink as we take a case of water with us.

We also make egg salad sandwiches and don't spend a lot on food except that we have to stop at the two Timmies in Ohio.

Cruisin' Kroezes -- The coolers actually come in various sizes. There are ones that are tall and narrow that are designed to fit between the two front seats in a van but it is smaller than the one that's the size of a regular cooler. We do now have a van but always took one when we drove a car to Florida and elsewhere.

03-24-2004, 08:25 AM
Yes we love our electric coolere it works very well and as you have said it helps cut down on the cost of buying food on the road. We have a full sized one and put in juice boxes for the kids some water and some pop. Along with what we will need for lunch etc we also bring a small container of milk with us for the cereal in the AM when we stop to eat breakfast. We have driven my moms van the last 2 trips but prefer to drive our car we find it more comfortable than the van. We usually drive 500K then stop for gas we top up the tank in West Lorne then do not stop untill we hit Kentuky for gas then in Georgia. The cooler has paid for itself 10 times over with how often we use it we take it with us on our trips to Niagara falls and to Toronto etc and to CWL then we just leave the park to eat lunch they are great I am not sure why more people do not have them.

03-24-2004, 08:43 AM
For us the decision is not a financial one. First I can't fly because of extensive ear surgery. When I do I have a heck of an earache for over a week. I'm not spending my vacation with an earache. Secondly, I do waaay too much shopping to fit everything into my suitcase on the trip home.

We bring a lot of our food in our cooler. We stop at the rest areas and make sandwiches etc. We always stay at a Hampton Inn that provides a free breakfast.

We have an 8 and a 2 year old. Both are prone to car sickness, but thank heavens for Gravol. My son is now quite good at getting it in the bucket. We have a travel plan that works for us. I have stated publicly though that I won't go for less than 10 days if we are driving. The last two times we went for a week and it just isn't long enough. (I don't think that has anything to do with the driving though, it's just that a week is not a long enough holiday.)

So, if you have no flying/money/shopping/wrangy kids issues then go for the flight. Otherwise drive. Oh yeah, do what is right for you.

Either way, enjoy your trip. We'll be driving to our second home this November.

03-24-2004, 08:48 AM
Also when you drive through Georgia there is a great rest area at the Macon By-Pass that we always stop at the place is great always really clean and tidy great tables to sit at. An last but certainly not least extremly clean washrooms the kids love to get out and run around and collect the large pine cones from the trees. we also like to look at the liscence plates on the cars to see where everyone is from.

03-24-2004, 09:35 AM
There are only two of us....no little ones...

Great idea about the cooler. I will have to look into getting one for our drive in October. Pop and chips/snacks can add up pretty quickly when you buy them from a gas bar.

We flew in Sept 97 and our trip just did not seem the same. We vowed to drive from then on out. It is an adventure and gives some really great memories. In February we were coming thru Kentucky and we stopped for some gas. There were a couple of sherrif's cars and some police milling about talking to a couple of joes in handcuffs. We fuelled up and went in to pay but the girl running cash was in tears. She told us that the two guys were really drunk and tried to rob her, not two minutes before we pulled in. She said they did have guns but never pulled them. The cops were right around the corner busting some drunks at the local stip bar and just happened to be driving by when she hit the alarm. We asked the girl why she was still open and she just kinda shrugged and said what are you gonna do? We waited a bit for her father to show up and then we booked outta there. Can't get that kind of drama on the airplane (knock wood)

03-24-2004, 09:59 AM
Originally posted by normmo
You guys all have really good points however I think I want someone to decide for me LOL. I think it will come down to who wears me out first, my husband (voting to drive) or my mother (fly). If we flew, we'd definitely need a direct flight - anyone know if there are any out of Syracuse or Ottawa?
Mo Some direct flights from Ottawa, I understand; only connecting flights out of S'cuse. I understand there is one direct flight daily out of Rochester NY (which I realize is a good poke) on AirTran. JetBlue serves both ROC and S'cuse via JFK, which means that you could do the trip for under us$200 per person, and you're in leather seats with individual satelite TV the whole way.:smooth: But then, you're so close to Ottawa there, it's hard to argue if you can get a decent fare on a direct flight.::yes::

On the other hand, if you have decent weather, it is hard to beat the scenery on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Interstate 81, I think) thru the mountains. Soupy11's analysis of the of the pros and cons (which was both so true and so amusing :rotfl: ), pretty much hits the nail on the head.

Good luck! :sunny:

03-24-2004, 12:10 PM
Blue Ridge parkway is a great motorcycle destination as is Deals Gap US129 318 turns in only 11 miles. There are some really nice roads to travel down that way and it makes for an enjoyable trip just try not to do it in the winter the northern area of that trip can be a little crazy with the snow.

from Canada
03-24-2004, 03:56 PM
We drove down last month for the first time. Previously we have flown twice. Our kids are 6,9 and 12. I would drive again, I feel the cost savings far out weighed the flight advantages for us. Also, depending on the time of year you fly, your flight may be cancelled or delayed. For example, in 2002 (Feb) we left our house at 6 am for a 10 am flight out of Toronto. The flight was delayed (but thank God not cancelled) due to weather. We arrived at hotel at 6pm. So it took us 12 hours to "fly". And, for about $3000 less and 12 more hours we could have driven.
Mind you, you may also run into bad weather driving, but then you usually have the choice to continue on or not. Also, if we only has to pay for 2 adults and 1 child, then flying might be better. Good luck with your decision