There is so much to consider when taking a vacation- budget, destination, accommodations, and how you are going to keep your sanity while traveling with children who think you should be able to reach anywhere in the world within thirty minutes.
And with the warmer months right around the corner, while many of us are anxious to plan our family vacations we no longer have the financial or airline freedom we did pre-pandemic.
So what is the most affordable way to get to the destination you have been waiting all year to escape to?
At first glance, it seems obvious that taking a good ol’ fashioned road trip is going to leave you the most cash in your pocket for that amusement park the kids won’t stop talking about.
But that may not be the case.
Taking to the skies has become so common that between budget-friendly airfare, airline points, and miles rewards, flying to your next destination may be more affordable than driving.
Crazy, I know!
There are, however, situations that make driving the obvious choice.
Is Fido traveling with you?
Taking a dog on vacation with you gives a whole new standard by which you need to plan.
Thankfully, Proud American Traveler has done the hard work for you and has the safest airline to travel on with your furry friend.
Although, there is no greater joy for a pup than having the wind in their snouts as they spray your car with saliva.
The other special scenario that may make car travel the wise choice is if you have a large family.
Yes, catching a last-minute seat to New York can cost you less than $100, but the chances of finding 6 last-minute seats at that price is slim.
Just make sure you are calculating appropriately before you decide to stick yourself in a van with kids for 12 hours each way.
You have to consider gas prices all along your route (heading north the gas prices are likely to rise across every state line), food, beverages, lodging, and entertainment along the way.
A trip from Philadelphia to Orlando is 985 miles.
In a car you would be driving well over 15 hours with pit stops, but while flying it would only take you 2 hours and 40 minutes approximately.
With the average gas price of $3.37 per gallon, the trip would cost of $276.34 in gas alone.
You could easily find one airfare ticket at that price, but not multiple tickets.
Lodging can run anywhere from “what is touching my foot under the covers” to “don’t touch anything kids because I can’t afford to replace it.”
Sure, with lodging and food considered for a large family the price will go up quick, but is it really worth it to fly instead and have to wrestle a mask on your toddler just to board an aircraft?
I don’t think so.
The nice thing is you have options.
The freedom to fly with a view of the quilted landscape below or drive with the diverse scenery of the rolling countryside and city streets gives you options.
Price isn’t everything when considering a vacation, but for the average American it definitely sets the parameters.