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Drive or Fly?

Marcy Williams Published: November 27, 2012

We really enjoy taking trips. We enjoy driving on some trips, seeing parts of the United States that we haven’t seen before – or sometimes reliving memories of past trips to the same destinations. When time isn’t of the essence, a driving trip is probably the most educational, at the least.

Sometimes, however, it pays to weigh the economics of flying or driving. When you drive, you really should consider the depreciation that the mileage may cause on your car and the cost of gasoline. And you have to add in the cost of lodging if your trip is more than a day trip.

As we planned our driving trip to Morgantown, WV for the OU-West Virginia football game, we began to re-think our plans. This would be approximately 2400 miles, 19 hours each way! Sure we could push it and spend only one night out, but driving for 9-10 hours for two days in a row would probably mean we couldn’t move for two days after that!

To break it down to two nights out would be much more reasonable, but of course, more expensive. We were guesstimating $90-$100 per night for lodging, so that would add $400 to our trip.

We also had decided to visit family in Columbia, MD. They also own a weekend place at Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland, only 50 miles from Morgantown, so they were looking forward to joining us for the football game, too.

Kayak travel searches are easy and efficient.

With all of that in mind, we decided we would see what it would cost to fly. Checking with American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, I found that the cost of flights was still more than the cost to drive. I then checked Kayak.com, to see if by any chance there might be a different carrier that would meet our needs.

I like checking flights and hotels through Kayak, because it provides a cost comparison of Hotwire, Priceline, Expedia, Cheapoair, and Travelocity. Generally they are pretty comparable, but occasionally one may have a discount that is better than the others.

This was definitely the right move, because Kayak showed fares on Delta Airlines that were notably cheaper than the others I had checked! I went directly to Delta’s website then, and made the reservations. We saved several hundred dollars, several days, and were set for a great trip of visiting, sightseeing, and cheering on the Sooners!