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Driving versus flying

What's the better deal for getting to a summer family vacation destination?

Driving versus flying: What's the better deal for a summer family vacation?
Even if the average gas price hits $1.50 a litre, the traditional family summer vacation by vehicle costs less, is more convenient and is not as stressful as flying, according to Car Care Canada. The cost for a family of four travelling by car is about the same as one person travelling by air.

“Rising ticket prices, fewer daily flights, fuller planes, limited baggage, fewer non-stops and longer layovers between connecting flights doesn't paint a pretty picture for this summer's vacationing families thinking about flying,” said Patty Kettles, manager of marketing and communications for Car Care Canada. “Natural Resources Canada monitors the price of fuel closely. In July, they found that average price for regular gasoline was $1.36/litre. Even with rising gas prices, the cost of driving is a much better deal compared to going by air.”

Based on a family of four travelling 2 000 km round-trip, the Car Care Canada compared the cost of flying vs. driving.

By air: A family of four travelling by air will spend at least $1,673 CND for tickets (based on 2007 fourth quarter statistics from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics in the United States). The total airline ticket cost is conservative considering that airline ticket prices have increased several times since December. Add to this amount extra baggage cots, fuel surcharges, this cost, transportation to and from the airport and/or parking.

By vehicle: If gasoline prices were $1.50/litre, the cost for a family of four travelling by minivan would be $448. This number not only includes the cost of gasoline, but also tire wear and maintenance based on the Canadian Automobile Association's (CAA's) vehicle operating costs.

Besides the obvious direct cost savings, going by car offers a number of advantages over flying, including:

Leave when you want from where you want
No airport parking
No waiting in long ticket counter and security lines
No weather delays
Pack whatever and as much as you want
Stop and stretch any time
More and better meal options
No rental car or taxi expenses
More legroom and overall comfort
No strangers sitting next to you
See more of the country and enjoy the scenery
You can easily bring the family pet with you.

Car Care Canada is a non-profit advocacy group that offers research, consumer education and information about the Canadian automotive aftermarket industry. To learn more, visit the Be Car Care Aware website at

Posted July 21, 2008. ©


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