Driving v. Flying

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by DownNeckBoy, May 5, 2004.

  1. DownNeckBoy

    DownNeckBoy Mouseketeer

    Mar 11, 2001
    I know that I have seen threads on this topic before, so please forgive me for asking. At what point is it more economical to fly rather than drive? (Factoring out the speed of flying versus driving.) In my case, the drive would be over 1,000 miles, but I can't seem to find airfare (that is convenient) for less than $800. Any thoughts?

  2. GAM

    GAM Earning My Ears

    Apr 22, 2003
    There are many variables to consider. The $800-how many people is that for and when are you going? What airport(s) are you considering and how flexible are your dates? If your trip is awhile off you can plan on driving but keep an eye on discount airfare sites and if you see a deal jump on it. But first figure out how much you would be spending if you had to drive (depending on what kind of vehicle you drive how many miles per gallon of gas, what are gas prices likely to be at the time of the trip, will you make a stop at some point and spend a night at a hotel/motel along the way etc.) Try to figure out what it will cost to drive then see what the difference in airfare is and keep in mind the difference in time spent, the aggravation factor and your own budget. Are you traveling with children? Will you be able to get enough sleep prior to the trip etc. Take everything into consideration before you make a final decision.
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  4. TinkHappy

    TinkHappy DIS Veteran

    Jun 21, 2000
    OK, here are my thoughts (I have been struggling with this also)...I broke this down and compared to last year (we drove) and added $$ for inflation.

    To fly (for our cruise and arrive the night before):

    $800 for the flight (four of us from BDL to MCO)
    $150. for the hotel the night we arrive (friday night)
    $ 75. for Dinner
    $ 40. for breakfast
    $190. R/T for 4 people town car (inc. tip)
    $ 70. to park at the airport

    =$1325.00 (my addition might be off)

    To Drive

    $250.00 for gas (R/T-we drive a Suburban)
    $300.00 for hotel (this includes the friday we arrive for 3 nights)
    $320.00 for food (including snacks at rest stops)
    $ 41.00 for tolls
    $ 70.00 for parking (at the cruise terminal)

    =$981.00 to drive

    We are of the minority and we really enjoy driving, it's part of our vacation. Plus, I would miss eating at The Waffle House...We LOVE the Waffle House!!
  5. alexturner74

    alexturner74 Mouseketeer

    Jan 30, 2003
    ummm... "scattered, smothered, covered, diced & topped"

    So yummy:tongue:
  6. Nick@ VB+OKW

    Nick@ VB+OKW Registered

    Aug 27, 2003

    Two hrs vs 20 hrs.[​IMG]
  7. angel's momma

    angel's momma DIS Veteran

    Jan 8, 2004
    We do too :) It's one of the things we're looking forward to on our drive. We haven't been to one since before DD6 was born, and we really miss it.

    One plus for driving is that you can take more things easier.
  8. TinkHappy

    TinkHappy DIS Veteran

    Jun 21, 2000
    Oh Ya!!! Excellent point. That is one of the other reasons we like to drive. Plus, going on DCL, we always come home with more then we left with. Last time I had to purchase a large suitcase on board :eek: ...My DH was none too happy :confused3 , He got over it!!:p
  9. DisKim

    DisKim DIS Veteran

    May 23, 2003
    I noticed you are from NJ. So am I. I was going to drive as you can see by my counter which I still have not changed. We got great rates with Soutwest. We are only paying a little over $400 for four people to fly. That works out even, if not less, than driving for us. Check into flying out of Philadelphia. The rates seem to be better than Newark. Good luck.
  10. DownNeckBoy

    DownNeckBoy Mouseketeer

    Mar 11, 2001
    Thanks for the replies. There are 4 of us and we are in the NYC area. That makes Philadelphia a little out of the way for us. I think that it would take at least 2 hours to get to Philadelphia, plus the time to be there ahead of time and the cost of either a car/limo to Philadelphia or parking for 12 nights.

    Is the parking at Philadelphia Airport cheap? It's fairly expensive in the JFK/LGA/EWR area, which is one of the things that I am factoring in to my calculations.


    I agree that 2 hours v. 20 hours seems fairly simple, but with four passengers and the cost of 4 AP's in WDW, every little bit of saving should be consdiered.

  11. disneymom3

    disneymom3 <font color=green> I think I could adjust!! <br><f

    Mar 11, 2002
    Well, we must travel cheaper than some people. The most we have ever paid for a night on the road is $65. That was at a nice Ramada with a continental breakfast. Our approximate budget is as follows:

    Gasoline: $300 R/T including gas in Orlando, two trips to the beach, but this was a year and a half ago, so gas was cheaper.

    Hotel on the road: AAA discount, $68 (second driving trip we did a hotel through Hotel Kingdom for $35 but didn't like that as it tied us down to where we needed to stop at night.)

    Food: I pack all snacks for the road and we bring a cooler with drinks etc. We also bring a picnic lunch for the first day's stop. That night we do fast food in the hotel room. Breakfast is Pop Tarts in the car the first day, hotel continental breakfast the second day. So, including the caffeinated beverages and snacks that DH buys, through the night, the first day food costs are around $40. One trip we stopped at a restuarant for dinner so that was about $40 more. Second day we need to get lunch so we either stop at a grocery store and get something from the deli or have brought along the whole loaf of bread and whatever for sandwiches. Usually have grapes and/or apples in the cooler. By the time dinner arrives, we are at our villa in Orlando and do micro mac and cheese or something similar for dinner and pop the kids in bed. So, we are up to maybe $80. Double that to include the trip home and add a little more and we are looking at maybe $200.

    Tolls and incidentals: $50 (incidentals maybe Tylenol forgotten at home, Oranges at a roadside stand, etc.)

    Okay, so we drive from about 6:00 at night through the first night on the road and stop for one hotel on the road the next evening around 5:00. Yeah, I know, some people think it's a bad idea, but since DH used to drive overnight for part of his job and he sleeps the whole day before, it's worth it to get that 10 hours of driving done while the kids are sleeping or at least quiet. We generally spend about 28 to 30 hours of travel time including breaks, gas stops, lunch etc, but not including from stopping at the hotel to leaving the next morning.

    Total travel costs for us are about $600-$650 RT.

    For flying, there are 5 of us, two of whom were under 3 the last time we drove and travel great in the car, but are not so easy to contain in an airplane for some reason. Last trip we flew and all three kids have asked repeatedly that we drive next time. We live in Mpls so get pretty crappy airfare so we estimate at $300 per person. Plus $115 for parking at the airport and $200 for a rental car (we need a minivan with three kids in carseats.)(Aprroximately $1800.)

    So, yeah, we spend a lot of time on the road and while I know some people think it sounds awful, we like it. There are some rough patches along the way, but a snack or little prize or new CD usually gets us through those. We do not have a DVD player for the car and never will. I would rather travel on our own time schedule, with all the stuff we want to bring and comfortable in our own car rather than getting two small kids and one medium size one through the airport etc.

    I know some people will also factor in the cost of wear and tear on your car, but it's not going to come close to the $1200 difference, so I don't get that specific.

    Man, now I want to go again!
  12. drogerstn

    drogerstn DIS Veteran

    Dec 19, 1999
    I don't usually include food (maybe a fraction of the food costs) in my comparisons because we eat everyday whether we are at home, traveling, or at our vacation destination. There are some cost differences with food and disneymom3 addresses this pretty well.

    If we have a set number of days for our vacation, our costs, excluding travel, are usually higher when we fly since we will spend an extra day or two at WDW.
  13. zippehsmom

    zippehsmom <font color=red>and Hannahs too!!<font color=orang

    Aug 11, 2000
    Another thing to consider is your time. For DH he can't usually get 2 weeks off in a row, and driving for anything less than 2 weeks is not worth it to me.

    However, with that being said he does have 2 weeks off this year and we were going to drive because we could not find decent airfare. Well, while perusing the net oneday I decided to check out flying from Flint (they recently added MCO nonstop). It is a much smaller airport than DTW, but closer and a great rate came up $176. Well DD and I had a ticket to exchange and we ended up only paying $20 each for our flight, DH had a credit to use and only paid $119 for his and DS fare was $176. So for us flying for less than $350 was a lot cheaper than driving. Gas alone was going to run us $250 and that was when I checked about 2 months ago.

    So now we're flying!:D

  14. mep319

    mep319 <font color=green>Go EAGLES! Go FLYERS!<br><font c

    Dec 27, 2001
    Parking at Phila is not cheap...depending on where $8-12.00 per day. If you are coming from NY I'd suggest a hotel...frequently you make out better b/c they throw in the parking for free. I personally wouldn't think it would be cheap enough to warrant the drive.
  15. Esmerelda

    Esmerelda DVC'r 10/04/Dis Veteran

    Aug 19, 1999
    Ok...here was our scenario:

    originally we were driving from Ohio.

    rental van for 9 days (we added extra day of both sides of 7 just for the driving part) $537.00 w/taxes and all else

    gas for 1,000 miles at $2.00 gal (pretty much the average) both ways $235.00 total (van gets 17 mpg)

    food: breakfast/lunch going down $50.00 (4 of us)
    coming back breakfast/lunch $50.00

    not to mention the wear and tear on your body...you get stiff sitting in one position...plus the other crazies on the interstate (did you know you have a higher chance of a fatality on the interstate as opposed to an airplane...really!).

    Flying scenario:

    4 roundtrip tickets Indy to MCO nonstop on Southwest $548.00 w/taxes etc....

    rental car for 7 days w/National $189.00

    the difference: $872.00 - 737.00 = $135.00

    Its cheaper for us to fly plus we don't have to take as many days off from work and we arrive rested....not stiff...lol

    I would much rather fly personally so I am glad mine worked out as well as it did.

    happy planning,
    Esmerelda :hyper:

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