Can we make the long drive??

A debate that we occasionally have for our family trips, to drive or to fly? Sometimes modes of travel are obvious. When we booked a trip to Punta Cana, we were obviously going to fly. Each year when we go to Cumberland, just a state away, it is a no brainer for us to drive. But then you run into these trips that are not really a clear-cut option, like our recent trip to Orlando. To drive from our home in Ohio to our set Florida destination was a little over 14 hours, which may sound like a crazy idea to anyone with small kids, but there are a lot of factors that come into play that can make that drive much more enticing. Here are the big things that came into consideration for us:

  1. Cost

This can be a big incentive in the favor of driving. With the ever rising cost of flights, driving, especially if you have a large family, can help save quite a chunk of change in the vacation budget. We were traveling with a few “extra hands” as usual, making our total number of attendees much higher and thus a drive much more appealing cost wise. Occasionally you can snag some really good deals through airlines like spirit or southwest but those can be hard to grab if you are planning far ahead. Not to mention that you then have to factor in cost of transport around your location once you arrive if you fly. Renting a car can be pricey too and ubering around can add up quick. Arguments could be made in favor of a flight if you had complementary hotel transport during your stay.

  1. Snags

Flying with kids on the spectrum or young kids is not always easy. We have done it plenty, and have gotten pretty good at the whole process, but there are definitely a lot of perks that come with not having your trip in the hands of airlines. The biggest I can think of being schedule. Airlines are less reliable than ever, delaying, canceling, and rearranging trips around every corner. It is hard to be in a situation that you have little to no control over. Yes, a drive may be long, but you can leave when you want and break when you need.  

  1. Baggage

I’m not saying you should go crazy (feel free to check out my last article around packing) but driving definitely gives you more leeway in the packing realm. No need to worry about overweight bags or liquid bottles over 4 oz. You can just load up what you need and know that the whole lot of it stays with you, so no lost luggage along the way either.

I feel like the pros to flying are generally pretty obvious; because long drives can be really loooooong.  Trips from the days of my childhood that seemed to be a go-to driving destination have slowly, over the years, shifted now to most families choosing to fly. We debated this very dilemma on our most recent trip and did ultimately make the decision to give the long drive a try. I’m not going to say that it was easy by any means, but choosing to drive at night with minimal traffic, kids who slept the majority of the time and the ability to share the drive with other adults made it a more enticing option for our group. I can’t say we will ALWAYS choose to drive to this same destination in the future, but overall, it went pretty smooth and is worth a consideration. Driving these long hauls definitely seems to be more a thing of the past in many ways. I am here to say we survived it and honestly, with our younger autistic boys, it was in many aspects a better option due to having more control in the situation than you are given when flying. Just some food for thought, but whichever mode of transport you decide on for your upcoming family trip, I hope you arrive safe and have an amazing vacation!