KENTUCKY — Driving vacations are typically a more affordable option than flying for families looking to get away.
Families often must decide between the convenience of flying versus the cost-effectiveness of self-driving vacations. Parents who hope to have a fun and affordable trip may find that driving saves them a substantial amount of money over traveling by air.
Families who want to get an idea of just how much they can save by driving instead of flying can visit BeFrugal.com, a discount shopping website that offers its Fly or Drive CalculatorTM. That calculator allows travelers to list various details of their travel plans, including family size and vacation starting points and destinations. After doing so, prospective travelers can then get an idea of how much they can expect to pay to fly and how much to drive. For example, a family of four leaving New York City and heading to Virginia Beach in the summer of 2016 could expect to pay more than $2,200 to fly, an estimate that includes baggage and vehicle rental fees upon arriving in Virginia. But the same family driving their own vehicle would pay just a little more than $100. (Note: Both estimates exclude lodging costs, the driving estimate excludes highway tolls.)
While the cost savings associated with driving depend on where families live and where they want to visit, driving is often the most affordable option for families traveling on a budget. Families planning their next road trip can consider the following tips to make their getaways go as smoothly as possible.
Prepare your vehicle. Rental car costs can add up quickly, so families often hope to drive their own vehicles on driving vacations. Parents should prepare their vehicles for upcoming trips by taking them in for checkups, during which mechanics can change the oil, inspect the air filter and rotate the tires so the car operates as safely and efficiently as possible. The cost savings of driving your own vehicle may be negated if it breaks down on your trip, so make sure the car or truck has a clean bill of health before embarking on your trip.
Bring things to keep passengers occupied. A significant disadvantage to driving instead of flying is it typically to takes longer to arrive at your destination by ground than it does by air. To quell the boredom and restlessness that can settle in on long road trips, bring along some tablets and chargers so passengers can play games and watch movies along the way.
Plan your route. While it's wise to bring along a GPS, it's even wiser to map your route before leaving. This can help you avoid rush hour traffic or heavily trafficked roads that might add a few hours to your travel time. If possible, map a different route home so you can enjoy some different scenery.
Build in breaks. Road travelers may want to arrive at their destination as quickly as possible, but drivers will need periodic breaks to stretch their legs and prevent drowsiness. Passengers also will appreciate the chance to get out of the car and walk around, so include a few breaks in your itinerary.
Driving vacations can save families considerable amounts of money, and savvy travelers can make trips even more enjoyable with some advanced planning.
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