I’ve been busy planning for two upcoming conventions, checking out hotels and flight arrangements.

When I began studying arrangements for the Kentucky FDA Convention and Midwest Trade Show scheduled for late June, I discovered an interesting phenomenon:  it’s cheaper to drive from Florida than to fly.

Here’s my math for two people to fly:

Airfare:  $600
Rental Car:  $150
Shipping Product/Display:  $250
Gas in Louisville:  $50
Drive to Airport:  1.5 hours
Waiting for flight:  2 hours
Flight time:  6.5 hours (change planes in Atlanta)
Drive to hotel:  .5 hours
TOTAL TO FLY:  $1050 / 10.5 hours

But if we drove and carried all our stuff with us:

Rental Car:  $150 (unlimited mileage)
Gas:  $400
Hotel stop in Chattanooga:  $100
Drive to Louisville:  14 hours
TOTAL TO DRIVE:  $650 / 14 hours

So I could save $400 by spending just 3.5 more hours in transit.  That’s about $57 per hour for each of us.

So I wrote down all the stuff I’d miss if I drive:

No airport traffic
No lost baggage
No lost shipments of product
No airline security
No airplane/airport food

But I can’t make my decision just based upon what I’d get out of, so I listed the extra stuff I’d get to do by driving:

Leave at a reasonable time (rather than 5:00 am to get to the airport)
Stop in Atlanta and have lunch with friends we haven’t seen in a long time
Take bathroom breaks whenever we want
Stop in Chattanooga and see Mystery at the Redneck-Italian Wedding at the Vaudeville Cafe
Leave Louisville when we’re ready, not dictated by a flight schedule

Photo by Flickr user NathanGibbs

So we’re planning to drive.

At the very least, by not buying plane tickets ahead of time, I can keep some cash in the flow for immediate business needs and keep us flexible at the time of the trip.

But the real reason I’m sharing this is that I know many of our readers live in the areas we’re planning to travel.  Got any good ideas for Chattanooga, Atlanta or Louisville?  Want to meet up for coffee or a meal?