Recently mine wife and I take it a expedition to Sacramento, departing from Chicago, a street of 2,000 miles. Our original intention had actually been to fly. We even went therefore far regarding book the tickets and also make the rental automobile reservations. But the COVID situation made us think twice, and also we readjusted our minds. We determined to drive instead. This listed us a golden opportunity 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 for the most cost effective way to gain from one place to one more without regard to the amount of time required. Ns realize this is no the situation for most people. Vacation time may be limited, and also driving may not it is in a realistic option, but for those who can drive, the question of which is cheaper is relevant.

At an initial blush it may seem the driving would always be cheaper, and also while that may be true because that destinations that room within a day’s drive, when you room traveling 2,000 miles, you must aspect in the expense of overnight lodging on the road, and then things get an ext interesting.

The cost of Lodging on the Road

The median price that a hotel in the us is $125 a night

The average price of an overnight continue to be at a mid-scale hotel in the us is $90.00, under 27% because the start of the pandemic. In all likelihood it will certainly go back up by the end of 2021, so for purposes of analysis, stop assume the average price that lodging in ~ $125.00 every night.

On a 2,000 mile roadway trip, the minimum number of nights in a hotel will be four, that’s 2 nights every way. To attain this, you will have to be willing to journey nine and a fifty percent hours each day, leaving at an early stage in the morning ~ above the first day, and also arriving so late in the afternoon on the critical day. If you room not so ambitious, figure three nights every way. Six nights altogether. Through this measure, the cost of lodging will certainly be $750.

The cost of Fuel and Food

The average expense of fuel in the united state as that January 1st, 2021 is $2.39 per gallon

Your following biggest price will it is in fuel. The average cost of fuel in the united state is $2.39 every gallon. The mean auto fuel intake in the united state is 24.9 mpg. To drive 2,000 mile will call for 80 gallons the gas. Since you space driving roundtrip, that will be 160 gallons at $2.39 because that a total fuel expense of $382.

You also have to eat on the road. You can hold this price down by enjoy it the totally free breakfast at the hotel and also taking your lunch with you in a cooler in ~ an average cost of $25 each way. Dinner will require eating out 6 nights in ~ an average price of $26 per night or $156.00 for 6 nights. The full cost for food will certainly be $206.00

Taken all together, the average expense of two human being driving 2,000 miles is about $1,338.00.


The cost of Airline Travel

Two roundtrip tickets to Sacramento cost us $840 in November that 2020

By comparison, the biggest cost in flying is the expense of airfare. The cost will vary depending on where and also when you fly. If you paris to popular hubs in ~ low demand times, the prices deserve to be an extremely attractive and make paris easily much more cost efficient than driving. Because that example, if you fly from Chicago come Seattle in February that 2021, the price is under $200 roundtrip. But, really, who desires to travel to Seattle in February in the middle of a pandemic?

In our case, us were paris to Sacramento throughout the holidays, a height travel time, albeit in the middle of the pandemic. The expense of our tickets was $420 roundtrip each, a complete airfare of $840. The vault year in 2019 the same trip cost us $1,031.92. In every likelihood the cost will go earlier up to that by the end of 2021, therefore for objectives of analysis, stop assume the expense of two roundtrip airline ticket to Sacramento during the holidays at $1,031.92.

The expense of soil Transportation

The average price of a taxi ride to the airport in many US urban is $30

Your following biggest cost when traveling by air is the cost of a rental car. Once we rental a car, we are in search of transportation, not to make an impression. Consequently, we tend to rent compact or intermediate cars, i m sorry holds down the costs. A five day rental native Sacramento during the holidays before including insurance or other add-ons to be $420.

Finally, friend must include the price of transport to and from the plane in your city of origin. The usual cost that a cab or Uber ride to the plane in most American urban is $30. Both methods the price is $60.

Taken every together, the average expense of two civilization flying 2,000 miles is around $1,511.92.

Is that Cheaper to paris or journey 2,000 Miles?

In the last analysis, by steering 2,000 miles from Chicago come Sacramento for the holidays, we conserved $173.92 compared to the expense of flying. Together I said, this will vary relying on when and also where girlfriend travel, and on other factors, such as exactly how long you rent your vehicle for, or how much you spend on many hotels while on the road.


Two determinants to keep in mind, however, space the price of airfare and the price of gas. A te ago, the cost of gas to be 53% greater than it is now. At that price, the cost of steering 2,000 miles was $258 more than the is now. Last year, the expense of airfare to be 25% greater than that is now.

The financial influences effecting oil prices are unlikely to change. Gas prices room unlikely to return to their 2011 levels. Yet airfare will spike as soon as take trip picks up. The airlines will certainly be hungry to recapture lot of their 2020 losses, and also flyers will certainly pay the price.

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

Other exciting Travel Tips

How to reduce COVID Risk when Traveling by Car

Check out The Unruly Stowaway to find out just how to ship large items 2,000 miles at a lot lower expense than FedEx or UPS, and also other great travel hacks


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

Bergen, Amy. “The True cost of Eating the end (And how to Save),” Money Under 30, January 20, 2010, Website