Should you drive or fly on your next family vacation?

I’ve given tips on ten ways to save money on you road trip.

I’ve also showed you how to save when you fly on you family vacation this summer.

So how do you know if you should drive or fly?

Some people are road warriors.  Perhaps they choose to drive because of a fear of flying.  Others are fascinated with Pixar flick “Cars”  and think driving is a more righteous form of transportation.  For some, driving brings back wonderful memories from the yesterday years.

Others, however, prefer to take to the skies.  They are annoyed by hours in a car.  Looking at the calendar they conclude that time is of the essence.  Some just enjoy the experience of gazing out the window at the city lights as they pass by.

And then there are the group that just don’t know.  Every vacation they ask the same question again –“should we drive or fly?”

Here are some tips to help you calculate the real price difference between driving and flying.

Estimating the cost of flying is quite simple.  Just go to a site like Sidestep and do a quick search that includes Hotwire.  Then jump over to Southwest and see what they are offering.  Now you have your flying cost.

When driving you need to account for:

Price of Gas:  This is a no brainer.  If traveling in the US just use the Trip Cost Calculator.

Price of wear and tear (or car rental): 28.7 cents per mile wear, tear, tires, and depreciation.  See data here.  Check to see how that cost compares to renting.

Price of hotels:  Add the cost of hotels if you won’t be staying with family or friends at your destination.  Let’s imagine you were going to go to a friend’s house for a week.  When driving, it takes two days so you have an overnight on the way there and one on the way back.  You need to add two nights hotel to your total cost because if you flew you wouldn’t pay anything for hotels.

Price of Meals and snacks along the way: Same as above.  If you drive and need to stop for meals that you wouldn’t need to buy if you flew, include that in the price.

Now you should have a pretty accurate comparison between the price difference and flying difference.  Now you just need to decide which you prefer in light of the actual numbers.

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