22 May 2008

fly versus drive...

I stopped driving vacations several years ago. The only reason we drove is because my sister, who was handicapped, couldn't/wouldn't fly. We had a large motor home that solved all kinds of problems. The number one problem being she had to go to the bathroom almost every 30 minutes. The mohome had a bathroom! She wasn't stable on solid ground; trying to get her to walk on a jostling airplane would have been a trip in itself.

On the other hand, it also allowed her to see country that she had never been able to experience before. We even got her to the top of Ajax in Aspen one year in the gondola! I can't describe the look on her face at that.

That aside, for the last several days we've been hearing over and over about the all-time high cost of gas. How it is effecting budgets. How it is raising fuel prices for the airlines. How it is going to put a damper on summer travel. Got that right.

So, I decided to look at what effect it would have on me.

Right now, I am thinking about going to Quebec for the 400th anniversary of Quebec City. I decided to compare what it would cost to fly or to drive.

On Orbitz, it would cost $602 for the only roundtrip flight. [Sorry, after a really bad experience, I will only fly nonstop if it is available.] For a 2-stop trip it would be $517.

On Priceline, it would be $595 & $506. Oh, and neither includes the new $15 cost for checking one bag. Going directly to United it was $595 no matter how many stops. On the Air Canada site is would cost $629.06. Where they get the $.06 is beyond me.

Now, doing some figuring on my own. I looked at driving my FX35 to Quebec and back. If you're not familiar with the Infiniti FX35, it cannot use regular. It has to run on mid-grade or high-grade. Consequently, filling up the tank with the price at $4.05/gallon this week costs approximately $72. I never let it go that low, so it usually is between around $55-$65 dollars.

Quebec City is 879 miles from Chicago. I'll round it to 900. On the highway, I usually manage 250 miles on a tank of gas. (sob) Using that as a figure (I know it will be closer to 300 on the open highway), it will probably take 3.5 tanks of gas. At $4.05, that would mean it will cost $252 one way and $504 round trip. I wouldn't use the FX in Quebec because it is really a small place and public transportation is available.

That is $2 cheaper than the Priceline lowest cost and $125.06 less than Air Canada. Except, I would not have to pay for an airport transfer that usually costs around $25 without tip. Of course, then there would be parking; except most hotels in this continent don't charge for that any more. I would have to buy food whether I drive or fly. (They only serve food in first/business class. For fun, I looked at business class. It would be between $1,938 - $3,044. The FX is as comfortable and I can stop whenever I want.)

Some may ask about the time it takes to drive. Doing a search on the iPhone to a specific hotel, it would be approximately 17 hours & 45 minutes. That would mean an overnight stay somewhere. However, time is not a problem for me. I don't work. The scenery would also be quite beautiful. The route follows the St. Laurence Seaway part of the time, though I don't know how close to it the roads are.

That brings up other possibilities. The drive would go by both Toronto and Montreal. I've been to Toronto and loved it. Stratford on Avon is on the way with its Shakespeare Festival, and I don't ever remember if I've been to Montreal. Of course, that would all cost more.

I've go to think about this. It has its plus and minus attributes.

The initial point I was trying to make was about the cost of flying versus driving. It would seem that driving would cost less, all be it not very much. So, I think I'll call it about even in price.

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