The first thing to think about when trying to decide whether we are going to plan our vacation next summer to Alaska or Hawaii is how we are going to get there. When you consider that we have to transport five people, just getting to our destination could be a big chunk of the travel budget.
Hawaii is pretty much a no brainer. Flying is really the only option, and currently, airfare from Philadelphia to Hawaii (with a stop in Phoenix) is $480. For five people, even for someone who cried at the mere thought of math class, it looks like close to $2500.
Now Alaska. My husband is a huge fan of the road trip. We could fly out to Vancouver for about the same price that it would take to fly to Hawaii, but Jim wants to make it “fun” by packing the car with a gaggle of children, their bickering, fidgeting, and body odoring.
A tentative road trip schedule would look something like this:
Day 1 – Bellmawr to Chicago – 12 hours; one night at the Springhill Suites in Rosemont for $100/night (military discount available) with breakfast included
Day 2 – Museum of Science and Industry; Navy Pier; Garrett Popcorn; drive to Milwaukee – 2 hours; one night at the Fairfield Inn, Downtown Milwaukee for $104/night (military discount available) with breakfast included
Day 3 – Morning miniature golf. Drive to Fargo, ND – 9 hours; one night at the Courtyard in Moorehead, ND for $83/night (military discount available) with no breakfast in the morning
Day 4 – Drive to Glacier National Park – 14 hours; one night at Glacier Park Lodge for $202 (no military discount) with no breakfast
Day 5 – Early morning visit to Glacier National Park, then a drive to Vancouver – 11 hours; one night at Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle for $200/night plus $30 parking fee (no military discount available) with no breakfast
Day 6 – Arrive at the port to depart for the cruise
Fuel cost for the trip (one way) as estimated by AAA – $650 http://fuelgaugereport.aaa.com/fuelcostcalculator/
Total before attraction fees: $1339
Now, assuming approximately the same costs going back the other way, this makes the road trip a little more expensive than the airfare to Hawaii, but there are two ways to look at this option. It is 48 hours in the car together. That’s a lot of time. But we’ve always seen some of the best parts of this country during road trips. We’ve done the big things, like Mt. Rushmore and the Grand Canyon; and we’ve done the little things like the Corn Museum in South Dakota and the world’s tallest Jolly Green Giant. It’s always fun, it’s always different, and it reminds me that one of the big reasons I married the man that I did was because we could do a nearly 50 hour car trip and not run out of things to talk about.
For some, there would be no question but to fly to Hawaii. For others, the adventure of the road is really appealing.
Which team are you on?