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Your Take: Flying vs. Driving Your Next Trip

One of the common dilemmas we face is whether we want to drive or fly whenever we go home for the holidays. We’ve done both, experienced the headaches of both, and my opinion is that flying is “better.” But is it? I always thought that the price would be similar, given fuel costs and tolls, but I never actually did the math (this is for one person, with two people the price to fly is considerably higher).

Then I discovered a fly or drive calculator [3] that would do all the math for me (thanks Kim Lankford of Kiplinger [4]!).

This tool is great because it takes pretty much every factor into consideration. Getting a ride to the airport or parking at the airport? How many hours would you drive a day? (factors hotel stays) How much would your plane ticket cost? What about transportation once you get there? I checked how much it would cost to go from Baltimore to where my parents live in New York. Flight, door to door, would be 3 hours while driving would take a little over five hours. Flying would cost $160, driving would cost $82 (I noticed that it didn’t take tolls into consideration, tolls are substantial too if you go through NYC – which I would do). Is it worth $80 to save two hours and deal with an airport? Or is it better to drive?

So, my initial opinion was that flying was better but it’s not. It’s a little more expensive… but I think I’d probably pick flying (plus, you can usually get a Southwest flight for around $120 round trip).

Do you prefer to fly or drive?