Other Ways to Travel Besides Flying
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, chances are you will consider flying as your mode of transportation. There are several reasons why you may think flying is your best option — it's faster, it's safer, it's healthier — however, one of the biggest misconceptions about flying is that it is cheaper.
Flying is not your only option to get to where you’re going, and when you are in the first stages of planning your trip, you may want to consider one of the following alternative modes of travel to save more money for your journey.
Riding the rails is a popular alternative to flying. Train stations are generally associated with less hassle than airports with security that is not as pervasive and can be found in many major cities. Trains often provide access to Wi-Fi, and you don't have to put your devices into airplane mode. Rail cars can be more spacious, provide better food options, and you allow you to get up to walk around and stretch your legs at your leisure.
You can still check your bags, bring a carry-on, and in many instances won't have to pay if your bag is overweight. For those who are concerned about their health, you may even be able to purchase a private room on certain railways so you can distance yourself from the public. Trains are a great way to travel long distances quickly and comfortably.
Especially when traveling from a major city to another, a train may be a better financial decision. Many companies such as Amtrak offer nonstop round-trip tickets for train routes to frequently traveled cities. The New York Times states that on the top 100 Amtrak routes over 2019, train travel was cheaper 80% of the time. Travelers choosing the train saved an average of $132.
These savings may be due in part to a combination of cheaper baggage fees, fuel usage, and fuel prices.
Another travel option besides flying is to pack up your car and road trip it to your destination. Driving, whether it be in your vehicle or a rental car, is generally much cheaper than flying. Additionally, you'll have the luxury to be able to stop, rest, and eat whatever you want, whenever you want.
If you will be staying for a long time — visiting family, temporary work, etc. – unpack your car and even park it in a storage unit to use as an interim garage. Just make sure you rent the right size storage unit for your car and any other items you won’t need on hand. As part of your pre-travel plans, look up storage units near where you will be staying.
Traveling by car allows you to travel on your own time and at your leisure. Eliminating security checking and boarding at the airport can save you time and headaches, particularly when traveling with your family and children.
Car travel may end up saving you lots of money — even if you are going on long trips, staying a while, and need to use vehicle storage to serve as a temporary garage. This will ultimately depend on the distance you are driving, gas prices, and the miles per gallon your car holds. These things considered, traveling by car eliminates baggage or travel fees, and it will cost the same for one person to travel as it would with a full car — not having to pay separate ticket prices for each member of your party.
Here, it may be best to calculate how much gas you will be using with a fuel cost calculator to see if it beats the combined expenses of flying.
If you don't want to worry about driving, think about taking a bus. Bus companies such as Greyhound have fixed bus routes to many cities. It may not be as fancy as traveling by train, however, it can be very cheap. Similar to trains, some buses offer Wi-Fi and power outlets for working in entertainment while you ride. Busses such as Greyhound are cheaper, but you can also step it up a notch and travel in style by choosing a bus company with roomy seats, complimentary food, and more.
Many of the same reasons that a train might be cheaper than flying can be applied to bus travel as well. However, bus tickets are generally cheaper than train tickets. and charge less for baggage fees. Consider the scenario from the Los Angeles Times when a writer breaks down airfare versus bus fare from Miami to Sebastian, Florida. A one-way ticket on a Greyhound to Fort Pierce (27 miles from Sebastian) cost $23.50, and a one-way ticket from Miami to Melbourne (the nearest airport location, 21 miles from Sebastian) cost about $400. Do your math and check to see if a bus will be more financially beneficial to take on your trip.
The way you travel will likely be determined by how far away your destination is, how many travelers you will be with, and a multitude of other factors. Dealing with airports, security checks, baggage claims, and more can be exhausting and come with health hazards. If you find yourself in a situation where you can eliminate flying from your travel plans, you can save yourself money, frustration, and may even be able to shave off some time off your trip.