Driving vs Flying on a Summer Vacation

The season of summer means different things for different people, but for many it means that the kids are out of school, things tend to slow down at work, and it is prime time to take a vacation. Plenty of savings tips to make your vacation an enjoyable one.

For most individuals, couples, or families, taking a much-deserved summer vacation means traveling to an exciting destination. If you are in the midst of planning your next big trip – whether it will take place during the summer or another time of year – you might just be trying to figure out the best method of travel. Two of the most common methods of medium or long distance travel in the United States are driving and flying.

Both of these modes of transportation have their own considerable sets of pros and cons. If you are still trying to decide the best method of transportation for your summer vacation, it is helpful to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of these popular modes of transport.

Traveling by Car – The Pros

Whether you are traveling by coupe, sedan, SUV, or minivan the pros and cons of this classic American style of transportation are all pretty much the same:

  • When you are in your own private vehicle, you can choose just about any route you like. You can take the fastest route to your destination, or if you want to take your time you can plan out an interesting and/or more scenic way to get where you are going. You can even make the drive a vacation in and of itself.
  • With driving you also get to make your own schedule. You can leave when you want – no worries about missing a plane – and stop whenever you like. This adds much more flexibility to your itinerary.
  • When you drive to your destination, there is no need to worry about renting a car, paying for taxis, or figuring out public transportation at your destination.
  • Unlike a plane, you can bring pretty much whatever you want in your own vehicle – which means you can pack without having to worry about TSA restrictions.
  • While driving you can stop as often as you like to stretch your legs and get some fresh air.
  • The food at rest stops might not be the best, but it generally beats airline food in both price and quality. Stopping at restaurants is also a common option.

Traveling by Car – The Cons

  • Before leaving, you have to make sure your vehicle is in good condition for a long trip. For older vehicles, this can be an expensive and timely proposition.
  • While airline fares can get expensive, gas prices are nothing to sneeze at these days. Especially for long trips, your overall gas bill may end up higher than you could have imagined. You can help counterbalance this by finding coupons for major gas station chains.
  • While it is possible to take breaks along the way, being stuck inside of any vehicle for long periods of time – generally much longer than even a cross-country flight – can have adverse mental and physical effects.
  • The price for food and lodging can also add up over the course of a long drive. This is another issue that can be helped by searching for coupons and discounts on restaurant and convenience store chains.
  • Driving almost always takes longer than flying.
  • When driving, somebody has to drive, as opposed to flying where everybody can sit back and relax.

Flying – The Pros

  • Flying is generally the fastest mode of transportation. This is advantageous when you want to spend time enjoying your destination instead of spending a hefty chunk of time en route.
  • Although it has become a cliché at this point, it is no less true: flying is statistically safer than driving.
  • Flying gives you a wider choice of travel options, including overseas destinations, especially if you charter a jet through a company like Jettly.com which will allow you to explore places commercial airlines don’t fly to.
  • Airfare can get expensive, but there are also plenty of great deals to be found.
  • If you are traveling with children, many kids find plane travel as exciting as they find car travel tedious.
  • Some airlines offer surprisingly extensive in-flight entertainment options.

Flying – The Cons

  • While flying is fast, getting to and from the airport always takes a decent amount of time and money, unless you get a good coupon for car fare.
  • You are restricted as to what you can bring in your carry-on bag, and checking bags gets pricey.
  • When flying you must work around your airline’s flight schedule, which means considerably less flexibility when planning.


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