Recently mine wife and I took a pilgrimage to Sacramento, departing indigenous Chicago, a distance of 2,000 miles. Our original intention had actually been to fly. We even went so far regarding book the tickets and also make the rental car reservations. Yet the COVID crisis made united state think twice, and we readjusted our minds. We decided to drive instead. This detailed us a gold opportunity to to compare the costs of paris versus control 2,000 miles.

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As a long time practitioner of spending plan travel, i have constantly looked because that the most price effective method to gain from one place to one more without regard come the amount of time required. Ns realize this is not the situation for most people. Vacation time might be limited, and also driving might not it is in a realistic option, yet for those who deserve to drive, the question of i beg your pardon is cheaper is relevant.

At an initial blush it might seem that driving would always be cheaper, and while that may be true for destinations that are within a day’s drive, as soon as you are traveling 2,000 miles, you must element in the cost of overnight lodging ~ above the road, and then points get an ext interesting.

The expense of Lodging top top the Road

The mean price the a hotel in the us is $125 a night

The average price of an overnight remain at a mid-scale hotel in the us is $90.00, down 27% due to the fact that the beginning of the pandemic. In all likelihood it will go earlier up through the finish of 2021, therefore for purposes of analysis, let’s assume the typical price the lodging in ~ $125.00 per night.

On a 2,000 mile roadway trip, the minimum variety of nights in a hotel will certainly be four, that’s two nights every way. To achieve this, friend will need to be willing to journey nine and also a fifty percent hours each day, leaving early in the morning on the an initial day, and arriving late in the afternoon on the critical day. If you are not for this reason ambitious, number three nights each way. Six nights altogether. By this measure, the expense of lodging will be $750.

The cost of Fuel and Food

The average expense of fuel in the us as of January 1st, 2021 is $2.39 every gallon

Your following biggest cost will it is in fuel. The average cost of fuel in the united state is $2.39 per gallon. The typical auto fuel intake in the united state is 24.9 mpg. To drive 2,000 miles will need 80 gallons of gas. Due to the fact that you room driving roundtrip, that will be 160 gallons at $2.39 because that a total fuel price of $382.

You additionally have to eat top top the road. You have the right to hold this cost down by enjoying the totally free breakfast at the hotel and also taking your lunch with you in a cooler at an average price of $25 each way. Dinner will require eating out six nights in ~ an average expense of $26 every night or $156.00 for six nights. The total cost because that food will be $206.00

Taken every together, the average price of two people driving 2,000 mile is about $1,338.00.


The expense of Airline Travel

Two roundtrip tickets to Sacramento expense us $840 in November the 2020

By comparison, the biggest cost in flying is the cost of airfare. The price will vary depending on where and also when friend fly. If you paris to famous hubs in ~ low need times, the prices deserve to be very attractive and make paris easily much more cost reliable than driving. Because that example, if you fly from Chicago to Seattle in February the 2021, the price is under $200 roundtrip. But, really, who desires to take trip to Seattle in February in the center of a pandemic?

In our case, us were flying to Sacramento during the holidays, a peak travel time, albeit in the middle of the pandemic. The expense of our tickets was $420 roundtrip each, a total airfare of $840. The vault year in 2019 the exact same trip price us $1,031.92. In every likelihood the cost will go ago up to the by the finish of 2021, so for functions of analysis, let’s assume the price of two roundtrip airline tickets to Sacramento throughout the holidays in ~ $1,031.92.

The cost of floor Transportation

The average price of a taxi ride come the plane in most US cities is $30

Your following biggest price when travel by wait is the price of a rental car. When we rental a car, we are looking for transportation, not to do an impression. Consequently, we have tendency to rent compact or intermediate cars, i m sorry holds under the costs. A 5 day rental indigenous Sacramento during the holidays before adding insurance or various other add-ons to be $420.

Finally, you must add the cost of transport to and from the airport in your city of origin. The common cost that a cab or Uber ride come the airplane in most American urban is $30. Both methods the cost is $60.

Taken all together, the average price of two people flying 2,000 miles is about $1,511.92.

Is that Cheaper to fly or drive 2,000 Miles?

In the last analysis, by driving 2,000 mile from Chicago to Sacramento because that the holidays, we saved $173.92 contrasted to the expense of flying. Together I said, this will vary relying on when and where you travel, and also on other factors, such as just how long you rent your auto for, or just how much you invest on many hotels while top top the road.


Two components to save in mind, however, space the expense of airfare and also the price of gas. A decade ago, the expense of gas was 53% higher than it is now. At the price, the expense of control 2,000 miles to be $258 more than it is now. Last year, the cost of airfare was 25% higher than it is now.

The economic influences effecting oil prices space unlikely come change. Gas prices space unlikely to go back to their 2011 levels. But airfare will spike as quickly as take trip picks up. The airlines will certainly be hungry come recapture much of their 2020 losses, and flyers will certainly pay the price.

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Under those circumstances, because that the foreseeable future, that seems, driving will certainly be cheaper than flying, even if it is your destination is a job away, or whether it’s 2,000 miles.

Other exciting Travel Tips

How to minimize COVID Risk when Traveling through Car

Check the end The Unruly Stowaway to find out exactly how to ship large items 2,000 miles at a lot lower price than FedEx or UPS, and also other good travel hacks


“AAA Gas Prices,” American vehicle Association News, 20 January 2021, Website

Bergen, Amy. “The True price of Eating out (And just how to Save),” Money Under 30, January 20, 2010, Website