As you read this I am on a plane, or in an airport, or perhaps even in my rental van on my way to my destination in New Jersey. I will have been on a plane all night, probably having gotten very little sleep. Traveling by plane is certainly the fastest way to go from L.A. to New Jersey like I've done, but is it the best? The question I would like to pose for today is:
If time is not an essential issue, how do you prefer to travel?
I'm not a huge fan of flying. Getting to New Jersey I was on a deadline so I didn't have much choice. However, if I didn't have to worry about my wife's work schedule and the amount of time we needed to get to our destination I would have left a few days sooner and driven across country. We did just that a couple of years ago and it was a grand experience. In fact, we compared the cost of flying (including incidentals like transportation to the airport or parking) to driving (including gas, hotels, extra meals) and it came out to similar numbers. Of course you have wear and tear on your car, but when you have a new car it's not too bad.
When we did our cross-country drive we allowed ourselves a leisurely eight days from L.A. to East Tennessee with lots of stops and side trips. What I like best is that you can enjoy the scenery and don't have to be in close quarters with a lot of people you don't know. You can stop when you like, eat whenever you want, and change your route if you're so inclined. We stopped in a place the plane would have never taken us in order to spend the night with an aunt and uncle who I hadn't seen in many years. We went to see the arch in St. Louis and spend a day in Washington, DC. We spent an afternoon in Richmond, VA, where we were joined by my sister and my daughter. There was so much flexibility in our schedule and I was relaxed the whole time we travelled.
On our return trip we allowed seven days to return to L.A. We drove leisurely on the Natchez Trace Parkway; spent New Year's Eve in Natchitoches, LA where we went to see the beautiful Christmas lights on the river; visited a daughter in Houston; stopped for breakfast in San Antonio; visited my sister in Phoenix--how could we have done all of that if we had flown?
Of course there are other options. I've taken train trips, but never across the country. Train is not a bad way to travel, but like the plane you are on their schedule. I've never taken a cruise or travelled by ship, other than ferries. I've heard that a cruise is an absolutely wonderful experience. I'm not big on being out in the water, but I might enjoy a cruise. I used to travel by bus occasionally, but I can't imagine anyone saying that's how they would want to travel.
The bottom line though is that I'm a road person. I love being in my car with the stereo going and being able to have the independence of deciding when and where I want to go. So I want to know what is your preferred method of travel and why? Have you ever taken a really long road trip? Do you prefer a nice comfortable car and hotels or luxury RV? Or would you rather just stay home and could care less about travelling anywhere? I'm just tossing it out there. How about tossing it back?