Drive or Fly to Florida? Traveling on a Budget

honeymoon island, florida, gulf coast, tarpon springs, baby at honeymoon island, honeymoon island beach
Honeymoon Island, Florida

To Drive or to Fly? That Is the Question…

For the holidays one year we took an unexpected and not-budgeted-for trip to Florida. Sadly this was due to a death in the family. But we made the most of our visit by spending time with family in the warm sun and made a few trips to the beach.

Flying to Florida

Flying to Florida is not as affordable as it used to be, and certainly not during the holiday season. Even our tried and true way to save (flying Southwest out of Buffalo) actually cost more than flying from Toronto for once. Airfares are out of control.

I often wish we had more of a system like in Europe or the UK, where budget airlines seem to be the rule rather than the exception. Escaping to somewhere warm usually means a cut price flight to Malaga or Tennerife that barely costs more than a fancy meal out.

Fear of Driving vs. Flying

I am no stranger to traveling on a budget, but I avoided road trips! I feared road trips not because my kids are restless in the car, but because I am. Thinking of the 20+ hours we’d spend on the road filled me with a lot of nervousness.

But we faced this challenge the same way we did flying with a newborn or our first time traveling with a toddler: make like a boy scout and be prepared.

I had road trip tips and advice from friends who have done this drive several times. Some actually prefer it to flying! I am part of an amazing family travel community showered me with advice which I also share with you.

Driving to Florida vs. Flying = Saving Money

We figured during the holidays, with very short notice, flights for four people to Florida plus a rental car for just over a week would cost between $3500 – $4000. We anticipated that including gas, food, and lodging the road trips should cost less than $500 each way.

That’s roughly a quarter of the overall cost. And then we have the comfort of our own car and car seats to get around while we’re there.

Sharing is Caring

Please share any road trip tips you have. And if you’ve done the drive to Florida and can make any suggestions, even better! I shared all we’ve learned along the way.

Many thanks to for inspiring this post.

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2 Responses to Drive or Fly to Florida? Traveling on a Budget

  1. Alyson at #

    We live on the top right hand corner of Australia and regularly drive the 24 hours, exactly, to Brisbane airport. It’s fine! Sometimes we do it all in one go, right through the night,it saves time and extra money on camp site fees, normally we do this coming back from a trip when we just want to get home. It’s easy to drive right through the night with 2 drivers and great music to sing to, the children sleep fine. Or if we’re in the mood we take 2 or 3 days over it and camp wherever we end up. I’d say stay flexible, go with everyone’s mood, if you can get away with it, keep driving, just stop to eat and stretch every now and then. If everyone is fed up, stop somewhere interesting for the night. Plan games to play with the children, my boys love to play guess the animal ( I’m an animal beginning with “P”, what am I?) They can keep that up for hours and we’re covering zoology! Good luck with it!

  2. Jessie at #

    I do not like to fly – not because of fear but because unless it is over a 1000 miles it just seems a lot easier to drive, especially if you have 2 people that can drive. And if you have 4 (2 kids) it is a lot cheaper. I am lucky enough to live in NC, when I want the mountains; it takes me a couple hours, when I want to the North Myrtle Beach resorts it takes about 4 hours. And when I drive to Missouri to see the family, it takes about 13 hours (I try to get to Myrtle Beach more than Missouri, all I’ve gotta do is talk my sister into moving down there!