My husband and I do way too much driving. Earlier this month, I essentially drove from Toronto to Charleston, SC (and back) while my husband drove from Anchorage to Prudhoe Bay (and back). It’s possible we are outliers when it comes to the decision between driving and flying.
Sure, the idea of driving so far seems quite outrageous to many people. I can tell you that it often seems outrageous even to me. Yes, sometimes I save money by driving and I often gain more flexibility in my scheduling, but frankly it can take forever to get from one point to another on the road.
However, sometimes whether to drive or fly isn’t quite as clear cut. Especially for those of us who have to connect on flights, when you factor in the amount of time it takes to fly, including driving to the airport, going through security, and getting from the airport to the city itself at the end of your journey, you might be better off looking at other options. Europe, in particular, is full of options that might be just as quick as flying, whether it’s heading by ferry, overnight train, or otherwise.
Last month, my husband and I had what we nicknamed “Wedding Weekend”: 2 weddings on 2 days in 2 cities. The timing and location of the weddings made this a possible feat, but we struggled how best to get from a Philadelphia suburb to Long Island inbetween a Friday night wedding and a Saturday morning event.
My favorite website to play around with in situations like this is Rome2Rio. It searches many of your transport options from Point A to Point B and sorts them by the amount of time it’ll take to get there in each method. From there, you can decide if the time savings is worth the monetary cost of flying, or if you’re better off looking at options like driving or taking the train.
Rome2Rio is fantastic in terms of quickly presenting several options. Our search from Norristown to Massapequa Park showed only driving as a potential option since all the public transportation connections would result in a headache. However, it took less than 10 seconds to do a second search starting in Trenton after an easy drive from our starting hotel. From there, Rome2Rio offered a few options beyond the combinations we had thought of on our own.
Rome2Rio’s cost assumptions aren’t perfect, as you’ll probably want to confirm number of passengers, whether you qualify for off-peak pricing or other discounts, and parking expenses, among others. Additionally, their driving cost doesn’t factor in tolls, which can really add up on certain routes ($15 on the Verazzano Bridge; yikes!). You’ll also have to use your own brainpower to factor in things like simplicity, cost, and schedules. Generally speaking, I don’t use Rome2Rio for automatically deciding on the ‘best’ solution but rather the presentation of options I may not have considered otherwise.
In our case, we ended up driving, figuring that we’d try our luck with traffic along the route and hope we’d still end up ahead. A large part of that consideration was deciding we’d want a car at our destination when we arrived: something that would definitely not have been the case if our final destination was in NYC itself rather than out on Long Island. We’ll have to save our adventure on NJ Transit for another time.
While we chose the obvious answer for this particular trip, Rome2Rio is a pretty interesting tool and I can attest that the consolidation of looking at alternate airports or combining methods of transport can be a quick way to get a good summary.