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Fly or Drive? How to Pick the Best Move for Your Family

Hopefully, you don’t have to uproot your family and move very often. When the time comes to do it, though, you might be faced with some serious ground to cover between your old home and your new one. If the distance is far enough, then you might have to make the decision to fly or drive. Knowing how to pick the best move for your family helps you make a smart choice.

Deciding Between Flying or Driving

Any cross-country trip with kids has to factor in the decision about driving or flying, as reported by Money Crashers. When that trip is for a move, the decision might even be of more importance than usual.

The first thing that should factor into your decision is how far you are moving. If you can drive there in one day or just with an overnight stop, then driving might be the simpler thing to do. Anything past that is when flying might make more sense.

Having said that, the distance to airports matters. If your old home and new home are both relatively close to airports, then it lends itself more to flying your family. However, if either home is far from an airport, you might be looking at driving on top of flying. A direct road trip could still make sense.

How quickly you need to move also factors into your decision. If you’re on a tight timeline, then you might need to load everyone on a plane and fly to your new home. On the other hand, if you have time between wrapping up in one city or state and starting off in the next place you live, then you have more time for a road trip. You might even be able to squeeze in a few vacation stops along the way to let everyone catch their breath.

The biggest factor is usually simply your budget. The bigger your family is, the more sensible driving becomes because airfare adds up fast and you’d have to ship your vehicles, too. Hitting the road means you can travel in your own cars. Gas, food, and lodging can still get expensive, but it might average out to be cheaper than airline tickets for everyone.

Auto Transport Cost Factors

If you wind up choosing to fly your family, then you would need to either sell your family’s passenger vehicles or have them shipped to your new home via a reliable auto transport service. Several factors wind up determining how that much will cost.

  • Type of Vehicle: Passenger vehicles that are taller than usual, longer than most, or just heavier than usual might need special accommodations that can result in higher prices.
  • Destination: Auto transport is often charged per the mile. Longer trips wind up resulting in higher costs, although the price per mile might also go down on average for longer runs.
  • Vehicle Condition: Shipping something that is inoperable will cost more due to the need for more labor and tools to accommodate such cargo. However, anything that can steer, roll, and still brake is something that can ship, even if it doesn’t run.
  • Kind of Transport: Most carriers are open transports, so they’re more affordable and available. Enclosed transports require more handling, so costs can be higher but might not always be.

Potential Deciding Factors

For all the pros and cons to flying or driving, there might be certain factors that wind up deciding things one way or the other for you and your family.

  • Fear of Flying: If anyone in your family has a fear of flying, then you need to gauge how much of an issue it is. Splitting the family up at this time is rarely a good idea. Keep everyone together whatever travel method you choose.
  • Doing Without for Some Time: If you decide to drive, you might move your family along with all your belongings or at least on a somewhat comparable schedule. However, if you fly, you might get there days in advance of all your things. You might have to account for temporary accommodations and transportation until your things catch up to you.
  • Crossing Time Zones: The thought of driving across multiple time zones might not appeal to you. However, flying kids across even a single time zone in a single day can disrupt their biological cycles for days to weeks. They’re losing so much routine as it is that you might not want to deal with that on top of your own get lag. It’s easier to manage flying west than it is east, however.
  • How Kids Handle Things: If your kids have never flown before, they might actually be mesmerized by the adventure of it all. It might even take some of the stress out of having their entire world in upheaval.

Getting the Kids Ready

Moving your family involves a lot of different details, and how your kids are going to process it all might be the last thing on your mind. Still, it goes better for everyone if you remember how many different things they are going through right now.

For starters, give them as much time as you can to say goodbye to their old home. Make sure they have some designated toys and clothes that will stay with them throughout the trip, whether by road or air. The consistency can comfort them. Also, make sure they see what is getting packed so they know it will be there in their new home.

Try to get the contact information of their current friends. Find ways for them to connect on social media or even video chat, even before you move. These friendships might fade in time, but the longer they can stay connected with them, the less shock they’ll go through. They’ll also enjoy social support before they make new friends in your new location.

If possible, have relatives visit or help with the move. You might even visit them during your drive if you go that route.


Jeff Campbell