Being flexible is an essential trait in any seasoned traveler. It’s sad, however, how significantly expectations have dropped when it comes to flying. With security lines, traffic to and from the airport, and delayed/canceled flights, I’m completely over the moon if I make it to my destination on time. I find this a bit depressing. This should be the standard, not the exception!
I recently flew from Greenville, SC to Columbus, OH for my reunion at my alma mater. Since moving to South Carolina two years ago, I can’t help but notice how limited my travel options are as a resident of the South. Flights are often more expensive than those departing from the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, or West Coast. Plus, having to book flights with layovers adds several hours to my total trip time. When looking at both Greenville and Columbus, trains are out of the question in terms of both time and money.
So for this past trip I thought I’d put together a comparison of what my trip would have amounted to – in both time and money – had I shared the ride with someone else. For kicks, I’m also providing what my trip with AmTrak would have amounted to. You’ll note that at over 52 hours of travel time at a cost of $426, it’s safe to say I won’t be using AmTrak anytime in the near future.
Travel is all about trade-offs. In looking at my past trip, an additional 4.5 hours in travel time (just over 2 hours for each leg) would have equated to $209.70 in total cost savings on my trip. And that’s with just one other person. The more people you can get in your car, the more savings you’ll achieve. If you’re sharing the ride, you can also cut your individual driving time by at least half.
It all comes down to what you are willing to give up in terms of comfort, convenience, time, and money. I simply can’t ignore the savings realized when driving with people. Driving is more comfortable than the ever-shrinking plane seat, is more convenient in terms of pick-up / drop-off locations (no more $45 cab rides to and from the airport!), and renders you less susceptible to changes in weather and the powers that be (I’m looking at you, Delta/United/American/U.S. Air/et al.)