Article | 1:56 min read

How to Decide Whether You Should Drive or Fly


When you’re planning a vacation, one of the first decisions you frequently face is “how should we get there?” The decision usually boils down to flying versus driving, and answering the following questions can help determine which is best for your trip.

Couple at airport pulling luggage

Determine what you'll need when you get there

Whether or not you need a car at your destination can make the flying versus driving debate a little bit easier. If you're vacationing to an area where having a car is a necessity, you will need to remember to include the cost of a rental car in your budget, as well as remembering to reserve one so you don't run into any surprises when you arrive.

However, you may be traveling to a resort with complimentary shuttle services, or will be in a big city where public transportation is readily accessible. This may push your decision towards flying, as you won't have to deal with the extra costs and time constraints of a rental vehicle.

Consider the size and age of your family

If you're traveling with two teenagers, navigating the pitfalls of flying will probably be much easier than trying to make it through security with four young children. If the thought of your children making a disturbance on the plane leaves you uneasy, flying might not be the best choice.

Given the cost of an airplane ticket, a large family can greatly increase the cost of air travel. Even if you don't own a car well equipped for a road trip, you may be able to rent one for the cost of a single plane ticket, depending on the length of your vacation.

Consider the “hidden” costs of driving

When planning the costs of driving instead of flying, most people take into consideration the cost of gas and maybe even food when stopping on a road trip, but there are other costs associated with driving your car. Forbes notes other expenses, such as maintenance and tire cost per mile and depreciation per mile [1]. While these aren't expenses you pay out of pocket immediately, you will be faced to pay them down the road.

Utilize a trip calculator

If you're still struggling with the decision, there are a number of online travel calculators that give you an idea of the cost of flying versus driving for your next vacation. While the decision might not seem too important, making the right decision may save you money that you can use to make your vacation even more special!


[1] Flying vs. Driving: The Great Vacation Debate, Forbes


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