Time Is Money: Would You Rather Drive or Fly?

For those of us who do a lot of travel within the United States, there's always that age old question: Should I drive or fly? To me the answer is simple, fly. For others, the decision may not be that easy. I decided to put together a little formula to help you decide.

Time Is Money

I'm a firm believer that time is money. The initial investment tends to be cheaper when you drive, but you've got to factor how much time is spent on the road. For example, I just flew from Omaha to Minneapolis. According to Google Maps the distance is 282 miles and is approximately a 1 hour and 5 minutes plane ride.

If we switch the map for driving, then the distance increases to 382 miles and our travel time jumps to 5 hours and 36 minutes.

I'm sure most of your eyes were immediately drawn to the $246 price tag for the flight, but just give me a chance to explain. 

Let's assume I have to take time off of work to get to Minneapolis. Depending on our method of transportation, that could vary anywhere from 0-16 hours. If we end up taking two days off of work to drive to Minneapolis we have to factor in that money we lose out on. For experimental sake let's say I make $15 an hour.

$15/hr x 16 = $240

By driving we lose out on $240 of potential salary. That alone is almost enough to cover the cost of your plane ticket. Don't forget to factor in that you'll probably spend at least $100 on gas and food throughout the drive. Now all of a sudden your "cheap" drive has turned into $340!


Obviously this isn't an exact science, but it can help to put a monetary value on your time spent on the road. There are also other factors that could potentially weigh into your decision, like number of passengers or physical limitations. Only you can decide which mode of transportation is best for you.

What would you rather do? Drive or Fly?