Fuel for Thought
Planes, trains and automobiles...what is the best option? With escalating airline fees, travelers from South Florida have been reconsidering their Holiday plans. Conventional wisdom has it that if you are driving short distances under 200 miles, or if you have a family of 4, driving is cheaper than flying. In South Florida, many retirees make the trip on their own, so I decided to research what would be the best option this year during the Thanksgiving Holiday.
The distance between West Palm Beach and New York is approximately 1,224 miles. This takes approximately 19 hours to drive. If your car averages 18 miles to the gallon, it would cost about $180 each way in gas. Tolls can average about $33 each way, and if you stop at some point and spend the night, you would easily spend an additional $60. This writer strongly suggests the overnight stay at a midway point, particularly if you are married, as some women don't do well on long road trips and it will save you money from needing marriage counseling upon your return.
You also need to factor in meals. Are light snacks okay, or is your partner going to want to pull over at every "Diner, Drive In and Dives" shooting his own video for consideration on the Food Network Star? You also need to factor in how much time you have to travel if you have to get back to work. We are at three days total just with drive up and back and the overnight stays along the way, not counting how many nights you want to spend with family once you are there. Total investment for your road trip is estimated at $650.
It's true that airlines are now charging Holiday surcharges, as well as extra for seat assignments, meals and luggage, but just how much will it cost? The best priced flights from PBI to JFK leaving on November 25th and coming home on the 29th currently cost $364.20 per person on Jet Blue. Jet Blue allows 1 free bag per person that cannot exceed 62 inches or 50 pounds. If your bag weighs 51 to 70 pounds you pay $50 each or 71 to 99 pounds pay $100 each. If you have two bags, the second bag is $30 each. You don't' have to pay for seats yet with JetBlue, but if you want more leg room, you pay $10 to $40 depending on the length of the flight. Airport parking has gotten expensive as well. For four days, it would cost $52. Total investment estimated at $800 round trip.Continued on the next page