Should you fly or drive this summer – here’s how to decide
I’m certain that you’ve had to face this travelling conundrum. You have to get out of town for a holiday or perhaps for a work conference but before you even start packing how do you know how to travel – must you fly or drive?
When planning your trip, here are the biggest factors to consider, other than some intangible costs that are at stake to, which could help you make your choice:
The time factor
It’s not just about the flight time but you still have to factor in the hours you clock up driving to the airport, finding a parking bay, checking-in, going through security checks, boarding and exiting the plane, as well as waiting for an Uber. And whilst flying at least allows you to multitask in airport lounges, you’re at the whim of airlines.
The cost factor
Even considering car and tyre wear-and-tear costs, driving will almost always come out on top, unless you have rewards miles, loyalty points or you get a deal on your plane ticket. But it makes sense to check!
Remember the price of flying entails a lot more than just the airfare – that currently comes at an exceptionally high cost, plus there are extras like a hired car or Uber from the airport. In addition, most airlines charge extra if you’re flying with a pet, and that’s if they even let you bring pets on board – period.
So barring the petrol and possibly toll road costs it seems driving might make more financial sense. And if you’re travelling with your family or a friend, that tips the maths even more towards using your wheels.
The hassle factor
Pick your poison: flight delays or traffic jams? The chance of a flight delay is high – interestingly statistics show only 80 percent of domestic flights are on time. To top this you may also be confronted with unexpected travel delays, flight cancellations, lost luggage, along with other travel hassles.
For road trips, departure time matters. If you can drive early in the morning, late at night, or during low-traffic hours, your trip should be easier. Weekend, holiday and rush-hour traffic will slow your roll — and might tip the balance.
But for some they’d rather be stuck in an airport than stuck in their car!
The fun factor
Most people enjoy driving for six or eight hours instead, as long as there’s good music, an educational or relaxing audiobook or podcast, or a talkative friend or partner riding shotgun. Routes are always scenic and interesting whilst flying on the other hand, isn’t fun – unless you’re being pampered in first class.
Many people are now considering the environmental cost of their travels and choosing their transportation accordingly. Also, some companies allow you to purchase carbon “offsets” intended to mitigate the carbon emissions caused by your ground or air travel.
Driving is, unsurprisingly, the greener way to go but your vehicle and route you take could make a big difference. Being behind the wheel of a fuel-efficient car generates far less greenhouse-gas emissions (eg 104 kg carbon dioxide) as opposed to flying that generates around 184 kg of CO2 per passenger. If you drive an electric or hybrid car, or if you have several passengers, the environmental impact of driving is even less.
Weighing all the factors
Making the smartest choice between which transport mode requires that you juggle multiple factors and figure out how important each one is to you. Sometimes the bottom-line figures are so close that it isn’t clear which is the better choice. In that case, the decision whether to fly or drive will boil down to very personal preferences and circumstances. Some people don’t mind the lengthy waits, along with all the mandatory scanning that accompany modern-day commercial flying knowing the speed and convenience of a quick flight are worth paying a bit extra. Others consider the journey itself worthy of savouring, and relish the time in the car with family or friends as a precious opportunity to deepen bonds.
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