March 31, 2018
Many motorists are faced with the question of whether to fly or drive to their holiday destinations. Each choice comes with its advantages and disadvantage. Let’s have a look at some factors that will aid you in making your decision.
What are the advantages to traveling by car?
You are not at the command of any authority or company (i.e. a car-renting authority) and therefore you are freely able to do what you want with your own car. Using a hired car after landing at your destination does provide you with a similar degree of freedom, except that you have to be able to pay a sizable deposit before you are able to drive off and you are charged daily tariffs thereafter. 1When flying, it also takes up a considerable amount of time because you need to be at the airport early in order to check-in. In-flight snacks are not always the greatest, whereas, on the road, you have more options as you get to choose the snacks for your trip.
Traveling by car, for instance from Johannesburg to Cape Town, is an adventure and holiday on its own. You would never experience the negotiating of mountain passes or the driving along roads in the hot and arid Karoo if you were to fly overhead by plane. 1 You are also free to stop whenever and wherever you like, visiting little towns and villages here and there.
You can take as much luggage as you need or can fit into your vehicle, especially if you have a large car or a 4 x 4 SUV. Airlines are known for their restrictive nature regarding how much luggage you are permitted to take on board. You pay dearly for any extra luggage. 1
Going on a long car journey with family and friends can be a great time for bonding. Being confined to the space of a car for many hours’ together means you are able to chat about a variety of topics. You can even bring along your pet dog. 1
In the car, you are free to play any music you like, and even along with your favourite song. This is provided the other car occupants are agreeable. 1
What are the advantages of flying?
Despite the challenges faced at the airports (i.e. waiting to check in, and boarding a plane) the truth is that it takes only 2 hours to reach Cape Town from Johannesburg, compared to the estimated 15 hours of non-stop driving, or even longer when overnighting at a midway motel. 1
During the flight, you can sleep all the way to your destination or read an exciting book, and arrive at your destination feeling really refreshed. Flights can be a great time to get in some “me” time.1
Driving long distances can be tiring. There is a lot of concentrating on driving and the traffic at all times, and you also have to stay constantly vigilant about the changing road conditions (including potholes, and watching for bad weather conditions). In fact, driver fatigue poses a serious threat when driving long distances and short breaks are always a good idea. When you decide to fly it means you don’t have to face those possible dangers of car accidents cause by driver fatigue, or flat tyres. 1
If you are driving it will mean that more than ever you need to ensure that your car is serviced and in good condition. The last thing anyone wants is to break down on a road in the middle of nowhere. Not only would that untimely expense drain your vacation funds, but it plays havoc with your whole holiday schedule. 1 Flying takes care of all those possible hassles.
If you are planning a budget for your trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town, you need to compare the cost of travelling by car versus the cost of flying.2 Fancy calculators are available that take all cost aspects into consideration, but a pen, a piece of paper, and a straightforward calculator will be good enough too. When driving, remember to factor in the cost of wear and tear on your car besides the cost of fuel, tolls, as well as accommodation because you might need to break your journey into pieces if it is a long one. When flying on the other hand, you may need to hire a car at the airport, which requires a sizeable deposit as mentioned before, as well as a daily tariff and then still the cost of the fuel you use. However, flying may still work out cheaper than driving depending on various factors.
It all depends on what you want to do. If you are not in a particular hurry to get to your destination, and can afford to turn the journey itself into a holiday and stop off at the little villages off the beaten track while driving then driving to your holiday destination may be your preferred choice. It is a good idea to make sure that you have car insurance before you leave on your trip to have that extra peace of mind, together with checking that your car is ready for the journey.
However, some individuals may prefer to fly to their holiday destinations because they are in a hurry. Either way, the goal should be to have a stress-free journey to your holiday destination and the most fun that you can have for the right price for your budget.