Vacations: Car or Plane? Things to Consider

This time of year, thoughts of getting away from it all tend to occupy your free time. There are so many places you might want to go to, budget and schedule allowing. Once you've decided where you want to go for the holiday, you have to choose the method of transportation. While some holiday destinations are only accessible by air, many can be reached by car. Then you have yet another choice to make: are you going to drive there, or fly there?

You, like most other people have a preference of one over the other. Flying is so much faster and easier, though there are some who would prefer to never have their bodies leave the ground. If you fly, then the time you save in travelling to your destination means more time AT your destination.

Hitting the road and taking your car means more time travelling and less time relaxing by the beach. You have the hassle of fairly frequent stops for gas and for potty breaks. If there's only one driver in your group, then the driver will need to stop every few hours to unwind from the efforts of driving. And everyone in the vehicle is appreciative of being to get out of the car and get some blood flow back into their legs and posteriors. Even with the availability of GPS in your car, there's still the potential of getting lost. My last trip by car had my "trusty" GPS getting us loss 4 times in 17 days. Fortunately, we had studied honest-to-goodness road maps so we were able to extricate ourselves from the problems. But it still meant lost time and a bit of conflict between the driver and the would-be drivers in the back seat. And if you're planning on relying mostly on the road signs, one moment of distraction might mean that you'll happily drive past your exit for another 50 miles.

Cost is an important decider on choosing your mode of travel. Flights cost money. In some cases, more money than can be spared, if you actually want to do anything on your holiday. However, if you travel by car, there are expenses that many people don't take into consideration. Fuel, meals while travelling, wear and tear on the car. And what if the dreaded nightmare of all road trips hits -- your vehicle breaks down and you have to get it repaired. Wear and tear on the car. Wear and tear on the driver. And the passengers. Many people don't cope very well with being cooped up for extended periods of time. If part of your group is under the age of 20-something, they'll let you know if they're feeling miserable. If their age is still measured in the single digits, their displeasure, and their way of expressing it, is a curse I wouldn't call upon any enemy.

On sober second thought, do you really want to drive to your holiday destination? What good is it to spend several days driving there and back just to go on vacation? Does this mean that flying to your destinations is the best choice to make?

Where's the sense of adventure in flying? Except for those who are afraid to fly. You travel to a large building, get annoyed by the crowds and the rude counter and security people. You get on a crowded plane, sit trapped in your tiny seat, unable to move for a couple of hours, then disembark into another strange large building, where you get to deal with pushy fellow passengers who insist that your suitcase is actually theirs. You don't have to deal with that when you drive to your vacation spot. Your trip really is a journey. For the youngsters, you can make it into an adventure. Yes there are the hassles unique to long distance driving that we mentioned earlier. But that sense of adventure, of overnighting in a new city, of seeing the sights go by as you hurtle down the Interstate, makes driving on vacation a special event.

Sure, if you have a window seat on a plane, you might be able to look down and see the towns and cities and mountains and rivers. But you only glimpsed them, for a moment or two and they were gone. You weren't THERE. When you drive, you are. Amidst the tall buildings, or the rolling hills. The wide rivers and the seemingly endless stretches of farmland. You were THERE.

Costs play a very important role in choosing your mode of travel, as does your schedule. Not many people can stretch their vacation time to three weeks, to allow for a 4,000 mile roundtrip by car, with a full two weeks at some resort. But when costs and schedule allow, and everyone has the emotional self-control of dealing with being stuck in a small space for a long period, the adventure of travelling by car for your holiday is one that shouldn't be missed.

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