Monday, April 21, 2008

When Driving Is Better Than Flying

(Photo via Nicholas T)

I used to travel the world. Since coming back to school for my PhD and JD, I've had to cut back on the international travel. I still travel domestically every chance I get and have flown to Orlando, Kansas City, Alaska, and Puerto Rico since starting school. But I've also rediscovered the joys of simple road trips. Dad and I took a 30-day, 11,000 mile journey around the US the summer before I started school. That same summer, I drove out to Colorado with mom and dad and Aunt Ruth. The following summer I drove to the Northeast to see my 50th state. I even drove down to Orlando once (and made my last visit to Virginia Tech on the way back). There's a real freedom of schedule and destination that comes with driving that's just not the same when you fly. Apparently, I'm not the only traveler who thinks so:

There is such freedom in driving knowing that one can control time variables--unless of course, there is road construction or a wreck that slows down progress.

My dad about an upcoming trip that has reminded me, once again, why we've decided to drive to Montana this summer. In May, my dad is flying to Albuquerque from New York on a vacation, and he just received notice from Delta that his 6:40 a.m. flight is now at 6:00 a.m. His new departure time means a three-hour wait in Atlanta. As he said, "You can't count on airlines when you're making plans." Because he has to drive a couple hours to the airport, this earlier flight is not welcome.

The unforeseen travel circumstances because of flying is one reason we're getting our car tuned up and relying on our own volition to go from point A to point B during our summer trip. Flights have gone up in cost. Baggage costs more and delays are almost guaranteed. The past two years, we've flown, but it doesn't seem worth it.

One beauty of driving is that we get to choose the places we may want to hang out for three hours or so to break up the scenery. My choice is an historic site over an airport. We'll depart when we leave, and we will arrive when we get there. We can chose our route. Simple. We don't charge extra for more luggage either.

While I certainly hope to start traveling internationally again soon (I've been getting a fierce case of the travel bug), I also plan to continue exploring the world on the ground. I can't wait for my next big road trip -- especially after getting a GPS for Christmas. (That would have come in so handy on my trip out West with dad.)

There's even a road-trip that goes from London to Sydney. I would so love to do that before I graduate and re-enter the "real world". Who knows? A trip like that just might combine the best of all worlds?

One other great thing about driving is that it can be cheaper than flying too!

See more ideas for adventures on the cheap.

1 comment:

stephen said...

There's a certain romance associated with cross-country driving, but I'm not sure the economics pan out. For the 720 mile drive from Chicago to Atlanta, you'd end up paying almost $126 in gas costs alone (and that's not counting depreciation, wear, oil, etc.) Flights routinely run around $90.

Personally, I tend to find the following quote unfortunately true: "Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything." Even if the economics were different, I'd probably still fly to avoid the monotony of highways in favor of the pages of a good book (and less burnout when you finally arrive at your exciting destination).