TaraCrooksUSAA's avatarTaraCrooksUSAAMoney Matters Blog | ‎11-15-2013 03:38 PM

“Home” for the Holidays

shutterstock_79370314.jpgI just hung up the phone with my mama. It’s October so you know where this conversation is headed. Yep. What are our holiday plans? Let the guilt, stress, and creative planning in order to please everyone and their brother begin!

 

Please tell me I’m not alone. Being a military family we’re the ones that aren’t located near “home” and thus we’re the ones that are expected to travel. I don’t think anyone truly appreciates what it means to truck a van load of your entire crew, two dogs, and all of your Christmas presents half way across the United States. I really don’t think they do, unless they have to do it. And when they do, they really appreciate it because they know they have to turn around and do it all over again five days later.

 

As I type this I am visualizing my immaculately packed to the brim (seriously not sure how we saw much of anything) navy blue Dodge Durango with our two-year old daughter, two dogs, and a cat in it complete with a pink pony from Santa that we had wrapped in a black trash bag tied down with 550 cord making its way from Springfield, MO to Fort Hood, TX. I remember that trip – the three times I got puked on, the snow going through Oklahoma, and the wet pony we unwrapped when we arrived.

 

I digress…

 

Our trips, they could seriously rival any well executed military OPORDER. Traveling home isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a journey. An event. But, we love our families. Right? We do. That’s the right answer.

 

One of our options this year, since we live near Dallas/Fort Worth with our recent PCS, is to fly. Yes, that brings on a whole other set of stressors.

 

I started with a comparison – fly or drive calculator. This may be very helpful to you while you’re planning your trip. Of course, unless it’s just you or you and your spouse chances are driving will be least expensive.


Here are some things to think about when making your plan:

 

If you drive…

 

  • Gas cost (An excellent Web tool is AAA's fuel cost calculator 
  • Mileage/Wear and tear on your vehicle
  • Food cost (during travel)
  • Hotel stays
  • Time (Mapquest.com)
  • Entertainment

 

If you fly…

 

  • Ticket(s) cost
  • Parking fees
  • Food cost (during travel)
  • Time (total time driving, flying, layover, etc.)
  • Luggage
  • Cost of shipping items back (if not room in luggage)
  • Boarding (if you have animals not going with you)
  • Transportation to from airport
  • Rental car during your stay

 

INTERACT

 

What else do you consider when choosing your mode of transportation for holiday travel?