Thursday, January 15, 2009

Traveling By Air... not this time

Driving Map From Middletown, Ohio to Cape Coral FloridaI don't mind driving, I actually enjoy it. Every family vacation I'm the designated driver and we usually take my Expedition so that the whole family (Me, my wife, our daughter, and my mother and father) has room to relax and we have plenty of space for luggage and a cooler. It really makes the trip pleasant.... for awhile.

The problem is when we start talking about 12+ hours in the car. My 2 year old daughter does well as long as she is entertained, but 12 hours is a lot for a little one. So, when we decided we'd be making a trip to Cape Corel, Florida this year I jumped online to find airline tickets. We were flexible on dates so I was able to find round trip air fares anywhere from $380 a person, to as low as $160 a person. This excited me, until I did the math... $160 times 5 people (we need a separate seat for my daughter now...)... is still $800. Which isn't bad except when we land: we need a car. A 10 day rental on a decent sized vehicle (which we need to hold all of our luggage), is another $500 or more. That brings the total for the trip to $1,300. That's also assuming we can get each person to only pack 1 suitcase... which is doubtful. Assuming we need 2 or 3 extra pieces of luggage on the plane, that's an extra $100 or so. We're now at $1,400 at least.

So next, I looked into driving. From Middletown, Ohio to Cape Coral, Florida is around 1,100 miles. Assuming gas is at $2.50 a gallon and my truck drinks it at a rate of a gallon every 14 miles... it will cost $392 in gas, round trip. That's $1,000 less than flying. Even considering any incidentals like more stops for meals, etc, we'd still save a fortune.

So... in this rough economy... how can I really justify spending $1,000 more on a trip than I have to? I can't. And that is why this year we will be driving to Florida and using our savings to enjoy activities that we otherwise might not have done.

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