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  1. Default Cross Country Family Fly-Drive - Need Advice

    I want to take a 6-week cross country trip in summer 2008 with my family (2 adults, 3 teens). Instead of driving from NJ, we're leaning towards flying into New Mex or AZ, renting a vehicle, then driving up the west coast from San Diego to Vancouver, heading back east to Yellowstone/Tetons and flying back after visiting the Badlands. I'm interested in the pros and cons of the fly-drive vs. just driving. And I'd really appreciate any info/advice (and costs) of renting a van or similar vehicle, as well as places to stay & eat that would be affordable for a family of 5. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Time vs Money

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The pros and cons really come down to one big thing: time or money.

    Fly and Drives are ideal trips when you don't have a lot of time, or you just want to spend more time focusing on a particular area. Here is an article that provides some tips for this great form of roadtripping.

    The major downside is that they cost more, because you have to deal with plane tickets and rental cars.

    There are some other differences, like missing things you don't expect, but might enjoy in the areas where you'll be flying over, but really time and money is the only major difference.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-06-2007 at 11:13 AM. Reason: added link to RTA's article about Fly-&-Drive Trips

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Fly...

    MM, if you can afford it (I assume you can or you wouldn't have asked) then absolutely! The big difference, other than the cost of renting a vehicle, is the time you'll save. It will take you about 10 days out of your 45 just to get across the country and back.

    In six weeks you can see much more than what you listed. You can cover virtually all the major sights and most of the minor sights in 6 weeks. Save some money by flying into and out of the same airport such as Denver, LA, Las Vegas or San Francisco. Check flights for the best prices to the major western cities - it doesn't really matter which one you fly into and out of if you do a loop.

    We did a similar trip with two teenagers. Each of us had a camera and each made a daily journal. At the end of the trip we each made a photo album of our favorites of all the photos taken (not necessarily our own) with captions or journal entries. The kids are now in their 30s and still remember almost every place we went as if we were there just yesterday. I can't over emphasize how important and transforming this kind of trip can be if the kids are involved in deciding what sights are the must-sees and how lasting the memories can be if they reinforce the experience by documenting "their trip" after they arrive back home.

    Have a great time, and take this opportunity seriously.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

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