Traditional Summer Family Vehicle Vacation Better Deal Than Flying Driving Saves Nearly $1,000

Even if gas prices hit $5 a gallon, the traditional family vacation by vehicle costs less, is more convenient and not as stressful as flying, according to the Car Care Council.  A family of four traveling by car costs the same as one person traveling by air.  

“Rising ticket prices, fewer daily flights, fuller planes, limited baggage, fewer non-stops and longer layovers between connecting flights doesn’t paint a pretty picture for vacationing families thinking about flying,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “However, even with gas prices considerably higher than last year, the cost of driving is a much better deal compared with going by air.”  

Based on a family of four traveling 1,000 miles round-trip, the council compared the cost of flying vs. driving.  

By air:  A family of four traveling by air will spend an average of $1,324 for tickets, based on 2007 fourth quarter statistics from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. However airline ticket prices have increased a reported ten times since December, so the total average ticket price today would exceed $1,300 for four persons. Add to this cost, transportation to and from the airport and/or parking.  

By vehicle:  If gasoline prices were $5 a gallon, the cost for a family of four traveling by SUV would be $343. This number not only includes the cost of gasoline, but also tires wear and maintenance based on the American Automobile Association’s (AAA’s) vehicle operating costs.  

Beside the obvious direct cost savings, going by car offers a number of advantages over flying including:  

  • Leave when you want from where you want
  • No airport parking
  • No waiting in long ticket counter and security lines
  • No weather delays
  • Pack whatever and as much as you want
  • Stop and stretch any time
  • More and better meal options
  • No rental car expenses
  • More legroom and overall comfort
  • No strangers sitting next to you
  • Enjoy the ride  

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit