Summer Vacation: Cheaper to Fly or Drive? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/21/04

Summer Vacation: Cheaper to Fly or Drive?

We're heading to one of the most popular travel destinations in the U.S.: Yosemite National Park in California.

We'll get on the Internet to find out how much it would cost a family of four to fly and how much it would cost to drive.

Let's start with the road trip option, beginning in downtown Tyler. According to Mapquest, it'll take about 28 hours to get to Yosemite, not including bathroom breaks and stopping for food. That's a total of 1,745 miles.

We'll take a GM Suburban, one of the most popular family vehicles in East Texas. We'll have to stop for gas at least four times along the way.

In Texas, the average price per gallon of regular unleaded gas is $1.89. In New Mexico, $1.96. Arizona will charge you $2.14. And when you get to California, you'll be paying $2.32. That's a grand total of about $516 to fill up round-trip.

If you're planning to stay in hotels along the way, that's more money out of your wallet.

Now, if you don't like long drives, there's always the option of flying, but let's see if it's an option you'd want to consider.

We'll go to Travelocity.com to find the cheapest air fares in economy class. How about departing Friday, June 4 and returning one week later, with two adults and two children, ages 6 and 10? The trip will take more than four hours each way. From Tyler to Fresno, Calif. and back, we're looking at a total of $1,579, including taxes and fees. But don't forget to add the rental car or taxi cab once you get there.

Comparing costs: If you're traveling with a family of four, it's still more than $1,000 cheaper to drive. The downside is it'll take a lot longer to get there. Now, if you're traveling alone, the cost to fly versus the cost to drive is not too much different. If you drive, you'll most likely have to stay in hotels along the way, unless of course you want to sleep in your car. So by the time you add hotel costs, the total would be close to what you'd pay to fly.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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