fly or drive?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by DannyDisneyFreak, May 24, 2008.

  1. DannyDisneyFreak

    DannyDisneyFreak Por favor manténganse alejado de las puertas.

    Mar 8, 2005
    I was just curious and weighing our options, we are planning a trip in september and thinking of driving or flying. We have a Pontiac Aztek, it would be myself my DW and our DD who will be 4 1/2 by then, right now it is costing us approx. $55-60 to fill our tank, and we live in Niagara Falls, NY and would be driving to FL for this trip, we probably would not be able to drive straight through, b/c of our daughter, she would be tired, cranky, etc. We looked at airfare with jetblue and we could get it for 2 adults, 1 child for approx. $795 with tax. Would it be cheaper to drive, even if we had to stay in hotel for one nite? Does anyone have any suggestions?
  2. HayGan

    HayGan We could all use some pixie dust now and then :)<b

    Apr 28, 2004
    It depends on several things. First there is the cost of gas for your vehicle. Here is a handly website from AAA to calculate how much it will likely cost you to drive

    Second, do you want to have a vehicle on-site? If you do and you fly, that will add plenty on to your costs if you fly.

    Third, how far would you want to drive the first & second days? We are driving from Pittsburgh in August but have decided to leave at 4am and get to Orlando in the evening. We had thought of staying on the Georgia/FL border and were able to find rooms for around $60.

    Finally, do not forget to factor the extras in on both sides of the equation. For flying, how much will parking at the airport cost for the week or how much will you have topay to get to the airport. For driving, do not forget to factor in meals along the trip as well as an oil change/tire rotation that should be required shortly before or after your trip (depending on your vehicles maintenance requirements - given that it is US mfr vehicle I would guess every 3,000 miles which is close to your trip mileage.)

    If the difference is only about $100 - $200, I would pick flying. For us, airfare would be at least $400 more so we are definitely driving.

    Good luck deciding & have a great trip!
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  4. maryrego

    maryrego Mouseketeer

    May 3, 2006

    Im from Toronto and we have driven Many times
    Were going in Nov 2008

    The first thing I do is exhaust all flying options
    Air Tran and Southwest are Usually Cheapest

    If you drive to anywhere Spirit Flys there super cheap too.

    In Nov we booked our flights thru Air Tran from Rochester NY
    Cost for Me, DH and DSD9 was $400 + Taxes and Sec Fees + $500.

    Secondly we look at if we would need to rent a vehicle of Drive our own.
    If more people are coming ie) My Brother and his GF we rent a minivan

    Driving you need to look at the cost of:

    -Rental (if applicable)
    -Tolls ($15-20)
    -Tune up and Oil and Filter Change before you leave
    -Oil Change when you return

    Yes the oil change will make a huge difference in mileage
    This will save you $ in Gas so definitely do and oil and filter change before you leave

    Then we compare costs:

    We have driven
    My Honda Civic usually we spent $175-200 on gas today prices I would plan $250
    DH Mazda Protege slightly more then the Protege $200-$220 todays prices $260-275
    Rental Dodge Caravan $300-350 todays prices probly at least $350-400

    If you do drive you do not need a rental while you are down there.

    One of our best investments because we drive a lot was to get a portable DVD player in the car we paid about $150 3 years a go. It makes a huge difference for the drive DH likes it cause he can still here the movie. We bring tonnes of Disney movies and Disney Scene IT. You would be amazed before you know 3 movies have plaid and 6 or more hours have gone by.
  5. mom2my3kids

    mom2my3kids DIS VETERAN

    Sep 28, 2005
    We are up in the air right now as well, a rental van plus gas is going to cost us 1,000 for 11 days. Flying would be more right now plus a rental when we get there, but if I can get some dirt cheap flight at the last minute we may fly. But as of right now we are driving down, leaving on a Thursday late afternoon spending the night in Georgia and finish trip to beach the next day..
  6. maryrego

    maryrego Mouseketeer

    May 3, 2006
    We have found that it takes us from Toronto 18-20 hours
    We have split it in two on occasion but really prefer to do it in a day.

    We leave at 4am, we pack lunch for the way there, We stop at least once every 3.5 -4 hours aka my bladder thresh hold, We always try to use the facilities eat and fuel up when we stop. It doesn't always work that way. We usually eat in the restaurant even if its fast food. Spending 20 min eating in the restaurant doesn't hurt timing and it really refreshes you.

    We find leaving at 4am gets us to Orlando by 10pm-Midnight. We tend to miss alot of traffic this way and then when we get to the hotel were all really tired and have a good nights sleep. We don't plan any thing hectic the next day but when we do wake up usually around 9-10 were well rested and ready to go and we only lost one day vs two.

    Even if you stop Overnight still leave at 4am the first day traffic wise it puts you in a good position and if you can do that until about 6 pm the next day you only have 4-6 hours left.

    The I-75 way is much longer though We go the I90-I79-I26-I95 way just make sure when you go thru the hilly areas of VA and WV its during daylight other wise the curves and hills at night slow you down.

    Hope the tips help

    Feel free to PM me if you have any questions
  7. rangermom

    rangermom DIS Veteran

    Sep 10, 2007
    We are driving from Texas to WDW in October. Right now airfare is just too outrageous. It will coust us $2000 to fly our family of five. It will not come anywhere near that to drive there.

    Plus we leave 3.5 hrs to the nearest small airport and 5 hours from a big airport (where airfare is usually cheaper). So we have to add gas there and parking fees. We drove to DL last Nov and loved it. We scheduled plenty of time and stopped at some national parks along the way and this let the kids get out and stretch their legs. We actaully had no melt downs. We have three portable DVD players, toys, game boy, books, and plenty of snacks.

    We also feel that part of the expirence is getting there. When you only fly you miss seeing other things. DS (9) really wnats to go to the Audobon Zoo in New Orleans, so I think we may try to stay there a night.

    We also drive a Chrysler Town and Country that gets ok gas mileage but has plenty of room. Each kid has their own seat.:banana:
  8. musclemouse

    musclemouse DIS Veteran

    May 7, 2008
    Last night my son wanted me to talk about Disney World. This is a every night talk. We are going in December (my boys first trip) and he asked if we are flying or driving. I said we would probably drive. Then I started to think about it. I never came to a conclusion. Now that I have read this thread it's definately helping me with the planning process even more. Thanks for the info!
  9. musclemouse

    musclemouse DIS Veteran

    May 7, 2008
  10. Shelly F - Ohio

    Shelly F - Ohio Disney Extraordinaire

    Feb 22, 2004
    I just priced tickets yesterday and Spirit airline had $100 RT from Detroit to Orlando. I live in Cleveland Ohio and plan to drive the 2 hours to Detroit to save $125 a person on our airline tickets.

    Remember when driving you will have to factor in the price to run the air conditioning in the car.
    If you have to drive I would rent a hybrid car from Budget. A friend of mine just bought a prius and she gets 50 miles to the gallon!

    The other thing to think about is that you can fly to Orlando in about 3 hours from where you live verses the amount of time it will take you to drive. Thus giving you more time to be at Disney.
  11. musclemouse

    musclemouse DIS Veteran

    May 7, 2008
    WHOLY CRAP! :eek: You're serious?!

    Gotta check that out!

  12. cslittle999

    cslittle999 DIS Veteran

    Dec 26, 2002
    We're located about an hour North of Toronto and drove down on our last three trips. We've consistently found the trip to be 21 hours of driving time including stops (not the hotel stays obviously). Like maryrego we leave early in the morning. Unlike her we make one stop on the way down and two on the way back. There are four of us (two adults, two kids) and the total driving cost (gas, hotel, meals) is about $1000 ($300 for gas, $300 for hotels and the rest for food). We have a Dodge Grand Caravan. We do two stops on the way back because we can't face leaving WDW that early in the morning. We like to do a buffet breakfast (Boma the last two trips) and then leave. Obviously the driving trip could be done cheaper. We do have a 12v/120v fridge that we bring along with food for lunch and snacks. We buy food for the trip back in Orlando. Obviously this could be done cheaper but I won't skimp on the hotels. I've stayed in way too many bad, cheap hotels.

    This trip we're flying down because the trip is short. The air fare is $798 on SW plus we'll have to pay around $50 for airport parking. We want a grocery stop in Orlando to keep the meal costs down so we're getting a towncar instead of using ME for another $140. Amazingly close in price.

    I think what we've decided is that if the trip is short then we fly. If the trip is long then driving makes more sense because we can bring more stuff and have a vehicle while we're there.

    If you're driving take the I90-I79-US19-I77-I26-I95-I4 route. It should be around 550 miles from Buffalo to the NC border which gets you out of the mountains. We typically stay overnight around Charlotte and that leaves about an eight to nine hour drive the next day. We like a big first day and then a short second day because it lets us check-in and then go to DTD to have dinner and soak up some Disney atmosphere.
  13. ceecee

    ceecee DIS Veteran

    Apr 6, 2001
    We drove one time from Ohio and swore never again! With gas prices so high and the wear on your car and a hotel room, I would fly if at all possible. Especially with a 4 yr old. We had to stop 3 times when we went to TN when DD was 5 and we had a DVD player and a gameboy! Plus you are just so tried from driving it takes a day to get back from that. If you are staying on site you won't need a car when you get there anyway and the buses are so nice, we enjoy the time away from driving.
  14. a1tinkfans

    a1tinkfans Spreading Some Pixie Dust Today!

    Aug 12, 2006
    I was able to go on AAA and you plug in your address and your final destination with your vehicle type. (explorer)
    We're on LI, NY and for us it was $478.00 r/t for gas, that was without tolls, motel and food and the TIME...airfare was $700 so we're flying again.
    As a child we did the trip with 5 kids in the back of a station wagon, straight thru to Ocala, Fla where my parents and cousins all had lovely mobile homes on a lake. What memories........
  15. gottagodisney

    gottagodisney Mouseketeer

    Jan 10, 2005
    Well, I don't envy you with the decision making. I have been going through this same debate for about a month now. Finally made a choice last nt. and bought the plane tickets ! Yeah!

    After our last trip, I said that the next trip we would drive down. This was of course, before our latest bundle of joy (8months). I thought the trouble of airlines (the drive to the airport 1hr. away, getting there at the crack of dawn with everyone and all their stuff- or not, the security check, ect.) didn't give you that much more time than driving. Plus, then on the way back you could leave on your own schedule if driving.

    The clencher was for me the gas prices. Even figuring what AAA has for expense now is just going to go up over summer, and who knows what it will be come September. I really got lucky with SW air as they had specials on direct flights to MCO from Austin, TX. Paid $764 total (inc. TT&L) for 4 adults roundtrip from AUS>MCO. Cost for Gas only roundtrip on AAA site would be about $400.

    When all is said and done, that $400 car trip would probably end up costing at least $600 with snacks, tolls, ect. not to mention all of the maintenance that would need to be done on car to assure a breakdown free journey. I just talked myself into feeling better about spending almost $800.00 yesterday! :rotfl2:
  16. cheesekate2005

    cheesekate2005 DIS Veteran

    Nov 6, 2005
    We drove to WDW from Albany NY Feb 08 and August 07, and we are driving again Feb 09. We know we want a car at WDW, so even if we get a pretty good flight deal, we would have to add on the rental car. Plus, we load up on everything we need for the trip (snacks, bottled water etc) and don't worry about paying resort prices or taking a trip to the grocery store (I don't like it to cut it on my park time!). Some trips we drive straight through (leave at 4 am and make it to WDW in about 19 hours, before bedtime) and sometimes we have stayed over at Best Westerns on the road (about $65 with AAA discount).

    It's a very personal choice...there is no right or wrong way to do it!
  17. margtvl

    margtvl Earning My Ears

    Aug 23, 2007
    We live just outside of Dallas and are going in September. There are 3 of us and we got Air Tran for $519 total for all 3 of us. Something that factored in was the extra couple of days of vacation time we would have to use driving.
  18. treeface

    treeface Mouseketeer

    Sep 19, 2004
    We are driving from IN at Christmas. We leave on Friday after putting the dogs in the kennel, and drive to southern GA, then a short drive on Saturday puts us at SSR ahead of my Mom who is flying with my two nieces (they are still in school that Friday) and DSD who will fly from TX. We will not do the parks that Saturday, just a relaxing dinner and maybe some shopping at DTD (and a nice walk to stretch out from traveling).

    We will drive straight through on the way home, about 18 hours. We have done this many times and DS travels as well as we do. We have flown a few times also, but driving is usually easiest for us (price is about the same). I do fly when I go by myself (usually once or twice a year).
  19. Pigeon

    Pigeon DIS Veteran

    Jan 12, 2005
    We're in Albany, NY, too. I'd chew my left leg off before I'd drive again. If I couldn't afford to fly, I'd seriously rather stay home.

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