When Does It Make Sense To Fly VS Drive? (Questions To Help You Decide)

Last Updated on October 13, 2022 by Rose Morah

Traveling exposes you to a whole new world and lets you explore different places and destinations around the world.

However, depending on your travel goals, choosing whether to fly or drive to a destination can sometimes be challenging.

In this article, we help you figure out whether to fly or drive.

Questions to help you decide whether to fly or drive

1. How much will it cost you to drive vs fly?

Most of the time, the decision of whether to fly or drive usually depends on the cost difference between the two.

This means you will need to calculate and compare the road trip and flying costs, including other expenses that may add to the total money spent.

From my experiences, I have crunched the numbers so many times and at times when I drive to my destination, I normally end up saving up to $500 or more. 

However, there are also times when flying is cheaper depending on many factors. In such situations, I end up flying, especially when traveling on a budget.

Driving costs to consider when doing your calculations

  • The cost of gas for the driving distance.
  • Parking cost.
  • Tolls.
  • Vehicle servicing costs, and so on.

The following are a few tips to help minimize your driving costs:

  • Get a fuel-efficient car.
  • Travel as a group so that you can share the expenses.

Flying costs to consider when doing your calculations

  • Airport transport costs (this includes taxi, uber, or even rental car costs. And if you are parking your car at the airport add the parking fee).
  • Luggage fee/checked baggage fees.
  • Air ticket costs, and so on.

The following are a few tips to help minimize the costs of flying:

  • Book air tickets via the cheapest airlines. This article will help you find cheap last-minute flights.
  • Find the closest airport to your destination to avoid spending a lot of cash from the airport to the hotel because of the distance.
Take Away 
Driving would be better than flying if you won’t end up spending more than what you would spend to fly and vice versa.

2. Is the car reliable?

At times you may do your calculations and discover that driving will be cheaper than flying, but things could easily change and end up making your trip more expensive than you ever imagined.

For instance, the car could break down in the middle of nowhere.

So, you need the probability of the car being reliable throughout the whole trip with no issues arising that could end up costing you more during the trip.

You also need to know the car’s history and make sure that it fully passes the inspection.

Take Away
If there’s a high probability of the car not being reliable, then perhaps flying is the best option.

See also: Is the Ford Bronco Reliable?

3. Are you prepared for the unpredictable?

Traveling, in general, can be unpredictable, whether you are traveling by plane or driving to your destination.

The following questions will help you figure out what you will be sacrificing over the other;

  1. Do you value time more than money?

Flying would not be a good option if you value your time. 

This is because, when flying you are relying on a planned schedule. This means that if your flight gets rescheduled, then that may end up messing up your time.

For example, when traveling I have had several short flights that would have taken me a short time to arrive at my destination but ended up taking many hours because of weather, crew time-outs, and even broken planes.

However, if you value your time, driving allows you to go with your own planned schedule, which gives you flexibility.

  1. Do you value money over time?

Well, if you value money more than your time, then it makes more sense to fly than drive.

The following are reasons to support this statement:

  1. If you get into an accident and end up damaging the car, this means that you will have to dig into your pockets for vehicle repairs and other costs. 

And bear in mind that this doesn’t have to be a major accident. You could hit something on the road that ends up damaging your car. 

This makes flying better compared to driving.

  1. Tires.

The more miles you cover, the more your tires wear out.

In some situations, you will need to replace your tires prior to the road trip if it looks like they will not cover a given number of miles.

Again, this makes flying better compared to driving because of the extra costs.

4. Do you want the freedom to carry whatever you want without restrictions?

driving vs. flying

If the answer is yes, then driving will make more sense than flying.

When driving to your destination you avoid the hassle of TSA because you are able to pack your food and anything else without worries.

5. Are you adventurous? 

If you are adventurous then you will find it better to drive than fly. 

This is because driving allows you to explore interesting places when you make stops along your driving route. You also get to enjoy the scenic views as you drive.

You may also decide to camp/sleep in your car, which would be a good way to save on hotel costs, especially if you are traveling on a budget. 

On the other hand, when flying, once you board a flight, then that’s it. You can’t stop or take detours along the way to visit exciting places until you reach your destination.

See also: Best Cars To Sleep In.

Summary of flying vs driving

Driving Flying
1. Food can be cheaper and it is possible to eat healthily as you travel. Airport food is expensive.
2. You can carry whatever you want. You cannot carry whatever you want. 
3. Great for adventurous travelers.  Not a great option for adventurous travelers.
4. Good option if you value time more. A great option if you are flexible with time.

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