How to Decide Whether You Should Drive or Fly

Summer is officially here and that means summer vacation! Kids are out of school and everyone is ready to explore and have new adventures. Once you’ve chosen your destination you may wonder, do you fly or drive? We’ve looked at the advantages and disadvantages to help you decide.

Journey vs. Destination

If you are planning a trip overseas, flying is a no-brainer, but for intercontinental trips, you may have a harder time deciding. One great thing about air travel is how quickly you arrive at your destination. The plane ride may seem long and boring, but within a matter of hours you are some place new and ready to start your adventures. This allows for more time to enjoy yourself and leave feeling like you experienced as much as you could.

Driving opens up more options to enjoy your actual journey. If you are seeking a more spontaneous, exploratory trip, driving may be the right choice. And once you’ve mapped out some side trips along the way, your vacation suddenly includes more landscapes, more cultures, and more options for everyone. For instance, you can stop at historical landmarks, national parks, wildlife conservatories, casinos, amusement parks, and more.


One downside of flying is the expense. A family of four traveling from Denver to San Francisco can easily spend upwards of $2,000 just on the plane tickets. The same trip by car at nearly $4 per gallon and 25 mpg still totals only $350, according to This may be something to consider if you have a large group with you.

Driving also allows you to pack food for your trip so you don’t have to eat out every meal. If you have little ones with you, this can make the trip more enjoyable for them by having snacks they like on hand. You can also pack water to avoid having to purchase water bottles everywhere you go.

What You Can Bring

If you plan to check your baggage at the airport you can bring more with you than if you intend to just carry on your luggage. Depending on the airline, checked baggage can include an additional fee.

Driving allows you to bring items with you without having to consider fees or TSA regulations. You can bring fishing poles, skis, surf boards, food and drink, and other items in your car or RV, ready for use at any time. You won’t have to worry about acquiring things on your trip either, as long as you have room in your vehicle. If you are flying, you can purchase another suitcase to check for souvenirs (or bring an empty one), but again, this may be an additional expense.

Another advantage to driving is that you can easily bring your furry friends with you on your trip. This avoids the extra cost of hiring a pet sitter or having your animal boarded. If you plan to fly, your pet will need to be screened at the airport and may need approval before you arrive. You can check with your airline about the specific requirements.

If you plan to drive, stop by Gleam before your trip so you start out with a squeaky clean car. Then, be sure to come in after your trip for an interior detail and an exterior wash to get your car looking good as new.

No matter how you get there, we hope you enjoy your time with loved ones and learn something new. HAPPY ADVENTURING!