Don’t Just Look to the Friendly Skies

seniors who enjoy to travel by car

Top Three Reasons to Consider Driving on Your Next Trip.

Summer soon will be upon us, along with the peak of the travel season. While it is true that people travel for all sorts of reasons year-round, summertime is the peak season for those heading to vacation destinations. According to the U.S. Travel Association, a majority of Americans who take vacations do so during the summer months

When planning a getaway, the method of transportation is a huge factor in your vacation budget. If you are planning a trip that is of considerable distance – say Europe – then flying is really the only viable option for getting to your destination in a timely fashion. But for those individuals who are planning to vacation a little closer to home, driving may be a better option than flying for many reasons.

Reason #1 – Cost

Even if the price of gasoline is higher than it was a few months ago, driving can still be a cheaper alternative than flying. At the time this blog was being written, the national average for the price of a gallon of gasoline was $2.37, according to AAA. The price of a round-trip airline ticket for a domestic flight was $366.92, according to Airlines for America, which included baggage costs and other fees.

For a couple traveling from New York to Florida, the average cost of roundtrip airline tickets is $267 per person, or $534 combined. To drive the same distance, using the current gas price of $2.48 per gallon, would cost $245 combined.  While flying may be quicker than driving – 3 hours versus 18 hours – it may be worth the extra time in the car to save $289. That’s money that could be spent on more than a few meals or entertainment options once you arrive at your destination.

Reason #2 – Hassles Associated with Flying

Let’s face it – the friendly skies aren’t so friendly anymore.

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, we’ve all had to endure enhanced security procedures just for the privilege of stepping onto an airplane. This can mean, among other things, long lines and wait times during the check-in process at the airport. Travelers are now encouraged to arrive at the airport two hours before their designated flight departure time for domestic flights – three hours for international flights – to ensure enough time to get through the check-in, baggage drop off and security screening processes.

And then there is the security screening. It used to be that travelers could expect to go through a metal detector and maybe get an additional scan with a handheld device if something seemed amiss. Now, it is more than likely that you will have to endure not only the metal detector, but enhanced pat downs by a TSA agent. And this doesn’t just happen if there is an issue. Sometimes, people are randomly selected for the additional screening as part of the enhanced security protocol.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of going through an enhanced pat down, let me assure you, it’s more than a bit uncomfortable. There is nothing quite like having someone pat down your body in places you would not otherwise allow a stranger to touch just for the privilege of being able to fly. Some airports offer the option of going through a body scanning machine instead; however, these machines have been controversial since their introduction due to the amount of radiation they emit. Neither option is a great way to start your vacation.

And then there is the plane itself, with its recycled air (that is ideal for spreading germs and causing dry skin and sinuses), other people’s children and even a few rude adults. Being confined in a small space for several hours in these conditions can be anything but pleasant. On a place, you don’t get to choose your travel companions. In a vehicle, you have a lot more control over who is sitting next to you for the duration of the trip.

Reason #3 – Control the Pace

One of the best reasons to drive – aside from the cost savings – is the ability to control your trip from start to finish. You decide when to take travel breaks. You decide when to stop for dinner. You decide if you want to spend an extra day in one place instead of moving on.

When traveling by vehicle, it’s a lot easier to adjust your schedule to suit your needs, including last-minute issues that arise halfway through the journey.

See an attraction you weren’t aware was there until you happened to spot it along the side of the road? When driving, it’s easy to make a quick detour to accommodate an extra sight or break along the way.

If you plan to drive to your destination, you may wish to give yourself a lot of extra time to build in these unexpected accommodations. This can include spending an extra hour or two exploring an attraction you hadn’t planned on visiting, or even staying an extra night in a place if you’re having a lot of fun there.

Being on vacation should be enjoyable and relaxing. Make sure you choose the travel method that will produce that experience.

Have some tips for traveling you wish to share with our readers? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section.

Mary Spann

Mary Spann

Mary Spann is the founder and president of Upside of Downsizing®. In addition to her 26 years in construction, interior design, and home staging, Mary also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, making her uniquely qualified to assist with the downsizing process. Mary learned the key components of construction and interior design at an early age. Her father was a prominent custom home builder in Minnesota and Texas, and her mother was a successful interior designer and a real estate broker.
Mary Spann

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