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Sunday Savings Series: Flying Versus Driving

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Which costs less, flying or driving? 

Getting to Central Florida is going to take up a chunk of your vacation budget. You might be wondering which is cheaper, flying or driving. Each situation is going to be different, but here are a few things to consider.

Driving

There are some definite advantages to driving to Florida. You will not need to rent a car once you are here. You will have more flexibility, having a car will allow you to eat where you want and stop where you want. If you drive, you will not have to worry about cramming everything into a small bag. With a car you can easily leave the parks to run to a store and buy food for snacks, and you can even buy souvenirs outside of the parks, which will save you money.

There are also some drawbacks to driving. I-4 immediately comes to mind. There are ways around it, but the toll roads are expensive. Once you arrive, there will be parking fees. If you are staying on property there are overnight parking fees at the resorts (unless you’re camping or staying via Disney Vacation Club). If you’re staying off property, you’ll pay to park at the theme parks. While it’s true that many area hotels have shuttles, they aren’t always reliable, and they might not run too often. These are things that you need to keep in mind if you plan to drive.

Flying

I’ve mentioned many times how flying to Orlando has never been easier. There are plenty of discount airlines out there, and they all want to earn your business. Depending on where you are flying from, your flight might cost less than the gas that it takes to drive. It’s also a lot more convenient. Flying across the entire country takes about five hours, while if you drive it will take days.

That said, flying may not be the best choice if you are trying to save money. Even discount flights add up when you are traveling with several people. The cheap flights don’t come with all the extras, so the price you see may not be the price that you pay. If you’re flying into Orlando International Airport and staying at a Walt Disney World owned resort you can take Disney’s Magical Express and save the expense of renting a car. That said, you’re then at the mercy of Disney transportation for your entire vacation. If you are not staying at a Disney Resort you will need to find a way to get to your hotel. If you decide to rent a car, that’s an added expense, plus parking at either the resorts or the parks (depending on where you stay). If you fly, you could deal with delayed or cancelled flights as well.

Weigh the Costs

If you’re in the early stages of planning your Walt Disney World vacation, you might want to weigh the costs of flying and driving. There is no across the board answer for what to do. My family and I used to always drive when we would travel, but that was because we would bring our dog. When she crossed the Rainbow Bridge we looked into flying, and that now usually works better for us. It is amazing to me how much the price of flights has gone down in just a couple of years. Financially, it usually makes more sense for us, even when there are three of us flying. Then again, I can fit a week’s worth of things into a backpack, so I don’t pay for the extras. There are times, though, when I miss driving. There is something special about crossing a state line and seeing a different part of the country, even if it’s just for 200 miles. It’s good to have choices, and it is nice that traveling to Central Florida is more affordable than in the past!