When to Drive & When to Fly

It wasn’t until I moved to New York that I learned it’s a very fly-over-state of mind to say, “It’s only 8-10 hours, let’s just drive.”

The people here generally like to get from Point A to Point B as fast as possible, whether that’s from Midtown to East Village or New York to Indiana – whatever the fastest way is, it’s just usually the first (and only) option, but rightfully so. Why give up 6 more hours of your life than you have to? It’s gotta be worth the extra couple hundred dollars to just fly somewhere, you get those extra hours to spend at your destination versus getting to your destination.

Right?

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Honestly, debatable.

The last two years I recently have been opting to drive home more versus flying. This is because driving gives me the desired flexibility to leave whenever I want and to also make stops along the journey to my destination. The last several holidays, because I drove, I was able to do a Tour de Fam (& Friends) and see nearly everyone I love in one fell swoop. I made a couple stops in Pennsylvania, a couple stops in Indiana, and then made it to Kentucky to spend the longer part of my vacation there.

It was also when I began to optimize my drives like this that friends went from, “Yikes, driving 12+ hours to get home?” to, “Oh you get to see everyone? That makes sense, that’s super nice.”

It’s lead me down the path to always question if I’m using my time to the best of my abilities. Sure, the 2 hour flight is great, but that’s 2 hours in the air – it’s not taking into account the commute to the airport, the wait at the airport, waiting for baggage when you land (followed by the anxiety of “where’s my bag?!”) then followed by the commute from the airport to wherever I’m going next. So honestly the whole ‘saving time with flying’ thing, if you’re staying on the same coast, is kind of debatable.

That all being said, don’t get me wrong – I’m a firm believer and lover of air travel. Toss me on a plane any day, let’s go. But I recognize that there is a time to drive and time to fly.

When making the decision on whether or not to drive or fly, I simply ask myself if there are at least three or more benefits to driving that would not be gained if I flew.

These benefits for me are typically:

  • It’s more cost effective
  • I get to see more (people and places)
  • I get the flexibility to leave whenever I need to (I also have no issues night driving)
  • If something comes up and I need to cancel my plans, I’m not out any money

Now to get all existential here… life is one big trip.

The trip has multiple stops, think backpacking across Europe vibes, and throughout the journey we are constantly faced with the option to either hop on a plane to the next country or maybe we hitch a ride over to the next town and continue to soak in this country a bit more deeply (and then casually make our way over to a new country without even realizing it.) Sometimes the drive is sketchy, sometimes it’s long and tiresome, sometimes the vehicle has no AC; but God you just know it’s a ride you’re going to talk about for years to come. You can really feel the character-building just stripping you from the core, but in the best way.

That all being said, sometimes, the drive isn’t worth it. You’ve actually exhausted that country and it’s time to hop on a plane and get the hell out of Dodge. You need the kind of rapid change that only a flight can offer, because you need that change faster than a freight train – you need to be gone like yesterday.

Life is all about deciding when to drive and when to fly. There are no wrong answers either, just decisions between swift change and gradual change. I can promise that you will always get where you’re meant to be, whether it’s in the most efficient way or the most ass backwards way… you’ll get there.

So make your choices and make them with conviction, what do you have to lose?



Published by

Emily Smith

Core Values: Adaptability, Empathy, Intuition, & Dedication. A creature of habit with a passion for the world, I spend an abnormal amount of time plotting my next vacay on google maps. I often yearn for adventure and to be anywhere other than where I am and with a strong drink in my hand. I currently hail in Brooklyn, but I've spent a greater part of my life in both Indiana and Kentucky and a blip of time living in Caen, France. I have an affinity for exploration and New Age practices, so feel free to reach out to me for travel tips, dream interpreting, mediocre palm reading, or just to have a candid conversation.

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