Highway or the skyway?

road trip anyone?

road trip anyone?

Not too long ago, Canadian Family magazine tweeted the question about road trips or flying this summer. That topic and the nice weather means family vacations are just around the corner. And when it comes to our family vacations, nothing beats a road trip, especially when we make our annual end of summer drive to Florida.

We’ve done the flying thing and the driving thing and although I’m a fan of air travel, I much prefer traveling by car with the family. Why?

Less Stress

Anyone who’s ever flown knows the experience: rush to the airport; lines to check bags, check tickets, check security; waiting in the lounge for the plane to arrive, on the airplane for plane to leave or land; kids with little attention span and squirmy pants; mediocer food if any; more lines at the other airport to get off the plane, get luggage, get rental car/taxi. Phew.

Driving allows you to move at your pace, not that of the airline, though you many have to wait at a boarder crossing depending on where you’re travelling. If a diaper change delays you from leaving or you sleep through the alarm, no worries. Leave when you’re ready.

More Control

You’re on the plane and you realize you forgot your child’s favourite book at home. You can see it in your mind, sitting on the hall bench waiting for you to grab on your way out the door. You can’t go back or stop and get another one. On the plane you’re stuck eating plane food (if they offer food). You’re not required to stay seated for the whole plane ride, but what are you going to do, go hang out beside the bathrooms?

When driving you can easily make a pit-stop for forgotten items. You can bring your own food (try doing that on an airplane now) or you can stop to eat. You can pull over to stretch your legs or let the kids run around and burn off some energy.  Ultimately you can control your trip instead of your trip controlling you.

Happier Kids

My kids like to fly, they like getting on the plane and looking out the window. But this enthusiasm usually only lasts for about 30 minutes. Sometimes my kids are asking if we’re there yet and the plane hasn’t even left the ground yet.

Yes, some airlines offer activity packs and music stations to entertain the kids, but how can that compare to seeing the future birth place of Captain Kirk or eating at King Kong Burger or visiting the original Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. Driving gives you the freedom to stop at historic sites and not so historic sites (if you’re traveling through the USA, the site Roadside America is worth the visit). The trip becomes part of the experience, not just a means of getting there.

Cost Effective

Unless you have kids under two, you have to pay for a seat for everyone. And the more kids you have in your family, the more it will cost.

Driving is the same cost no matter how many people in your vehicle. Even with the added accommodation, meals and fuel, it can still work out to be less than flying (depending on where you’re travelling).

These are all good reasons for driving versus flying for your next vacation. But the biggest reason is the experience, the memories. Why wait until you get to the hotel to start your vacation. When you drive, your vacation can start when you pull out of the driveway.

However you travel, have a great one.

4 responses to this post.

  1. I totally agree, we almost always drive and it’s way easier. We drove to NS last summer (I grew up there and my family still lives there) with three kids – ages 4, 2 1/2 and a baby, and it was very non-stressful. We stopped when we wanted, took it easy, didn’t rush – it made a big difference.

    We did fly to Florida with two kids a couple years ago, not super fun but the plus side is it’s over quickly. No matter how hellish it is, you’re there in a couple hours. We are flying to Halifax in July b/c my husband couldn’t get time off work due to a new job . . . so driving that far with me and three kids wasn’t in the cards. I’m very nervous about flying with the kids – 5, 3 and 1 – but I also recognize that it is 1 hour and 30 minutes and then we are THERE and my mom will help me off the plane. I have us scheduled to land around supper time in NS, thus ensuring I can dip into a bottle of wine as soon as we land 🙂

    But I still agree, driving is the way to go if you can do it!!


  2. I’ve taken the children to Florida a couple of times, and to Bahamas – both were short flights – like, 3 hours. That, my kids can handle. Longer flights will have to wait until they’re older, though – I do not want to even imagine how dreadful flying to Greece would be with my 16 month old right now. He can’t sit still for one second! Road trips are great because you can stop when you want to, get out, eat, walk around, etc… we plan on taking a few short road trips this summer.


  3. […] reason I love driving for vacation versus flying is the roadside food stops. When we drove cross country to Las Vegas two years ago (my youngest was […]


  4. […] Recently we drove as a family from Canada down to DisneyWorld in Orlando, Florida. It took us almost two days with one hotel stop, but with young kids I usually prefer driving over flying. […]


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