When contemplating vacation savings, common sense used to dictate a road trip rather than air travel. Fluctuating gas prices have thrown that assumption for a loop: Now, the comparative costs of flying and driving depend on more elements than ever. Test your knowledge of the factors that can determine which mode of transport will save you cash.
While adding a passenger to a car has a minimal effect on the total cost of gas, adding a person to a flight manifest has a huge effect on the total cost of airfare.
When gas prices are down, driving will almost always be the cheaper option since even an inexpensive ticket will cost more than filling the car tank.
What you pay at the pump more directly reflects rising gas prices than what you pay for a plane ticket.
When it comes to the overall cost of car travel, mileage is king. A hybrid can have two, three, even five times the mileage rating of a coup, sports car or SUV.
The number of miles you're travelling determines not only how much you'll spend on gas, but also how much wear you put on the car, how much food you need for the trip, and whether you'll pay for overnight lodging.
Rental cars, extra bags and airport parking can tack hundreds of dollars onto the cost of air travel.
Three airplane tickets will almost always cost more than one day of expenses for a single carload of people, no matter the distance or price of gas.
For long road trips, the fuel you save by driving a hybrid instead of an SUV can more than make up for the cost of the rental.
In certain regions, tolls can really add up. You'll pay at least $24 in tolls to get from D.C. to Boston, which can put driving cost over the relatively cheap commuter flight.
In cases where time equals money, flying could end up being the cheaper option even if the prices point to driving, since going by car will usually take more time (and it's more likely you'll get work done during a flight).