Drive vs Fly with Three Sub-5 year olds

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by Todd Baker, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. TangledHairDon'tCare

    TangledHairDon'tCare Mouseketeer

    Jul 29, 2018
    We have been on multiple flights and road trips with our 4yo and we'll be driving for our next trip. We flew for our trip in Nov and while I enjoyed the shorter travel time, I hated stressing about what I was bringing and how much my suitcase weighed. I like to bring a lot of stuff to make our hotel room comfortable (fan, nightlight, pillows, blankets etc) and its so convenient having the car if we need to run to the store for something. Plus, if we're driving we can be more flexible about when we leave. I've even conned DH into adding extra days onto our vacations...if I can score a good priceline express deal while we're there I'm going to try and do it again in September!
    Our drive is about 16 hours and we're splitting up 9 hours and 7 hours. I don't book a hotel until we're on the road so if we think we can go longer we will. Having a shorter drive on arrival day is nice. I will download a bunch of stuff on the ipad (movies and new games), plus we have this travel tray that attaches to the car seat if she wants to draw or play with toys. Snacks are also hug! I'll get her favorites and some that she doesn't get very often like fruit snacks. I've also tried to find playgrounds along the way to help burn some energy. One time, we even stopped at a zoo for a couple of hours!
    Todd Baker and PollyannaMom like this.
  2. PollyannaMom

    PollyannaMom I was a click-clack champ!!

    May 16, 2006
    If the money can be found, I think my vote is to fly.

    a) You said they don't do well in hotels, so at the very least you don't want a lot of different hotels. (And you definitely don't want to start off at Disney already exhausted.)

    b) I hate "wasting" a big part of the trip on the road. (At their ages, I still see it as a waste, even though I do think there's probably a sweet spot later on for family road trips.)
    Todd Baker and Woody412 like this.
  3. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

    Aug 14, 2009
    Hi I flew with my DD from 18 months up until just two years ago she was (15). She has always had trouble with motion sickness whether it is car or plane. We would deal with that no matter what, however I found the motion sickness on the plane was a little worse than the car to deal with it. At 2.5 hours flying that is not bad.

    The last couple of years my DD was starting to have problems with her ears and flying. I had tried everything and nothing was working. Two years ago on our flights to Florida the pain was so bad in her ears she literally cried for 2.5 hours like she was being stabbed in the ears. It was the worse time I ever spent. I was helpless and couldn't do anything. From then on we have driven to Florida and are not flying unless there is somewhere we are going that we cant' drive too. I wouldn't put her through that again or myself.

    We live 18 hours away. We drive 12 hours stop for the night. The next morning we get up and have a six hour drive. I have always dreaded driving long distance, it is not my thing. However, the drive wasn't as bad as I thought. I had two teenagers, which in itself can be a problem sometimes. They are not as easily distracted as little ones. We are driving again this June.

    Here is the thought if you fly. If one of your children has problems that are so bad that they can't or won't get on a plane you will have to rent a car and drive home. That is the worse case and if you are okay with that then go for flying if you can afford it. Unfortunately you won't know till you try if you opt too.

    We were willing to rent a car to come home if we needed too.
    Todd Baker likes this.
  4. MainMom

    MainMom DIS Veteran

    Sep 25, 2011
    Is it 2.5 days each way? 5 days driving total? If this is the case then flying is my vote.

    We are self-employeed. Days gone mean less money. I’m not spending my precious days off driving when I can be there in 1 3hour flight. I think I would feel this way if I was also using paid vacation days. How can I maximize my time off? Not driving!

    I have flown with my young kids (now teens) and nieces and nephews on many trips and many first flights. They were all amazing and totally fascinated with the experience. Get them a window seat, bring snacks, iPads, coloring books, anything to keep them occupied. I bet they do fine.
    Todd Baker and PollyannaMom like this.
  5. Betty Rohrer

    Betty Rohrer DIS Veteran

    May 19, 2010
    if you plan to use carseats on plane remember that the seats where there are 2 in the row carseats have to be closest to window you will most likely not be allowed to have an adult sit between the 2. also booster seats are not allowed to be used on plane. granted the flights I took with kids that age were longer but when my kids had had enough of sitting that last hour or 2 seemed to be forever where driving you could stop, get them out and let them run. you say your wife is not fond of flying how is she going to do if you are seated between 2 and she is in middle of another row because child will not sit next to a stranger
    Todd Baker likes this.

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