At first blush, flying seemed like the best choice.  A 29-hour drive would have been excessive.  But while the return flight was mostly okay, the results of the I’d Drive an Hour to Avoid That game on the flight to Denver were very close.

  Flying Driving
Actual Time 12 hours 29 hours
Game Results 12  
Totals 24 hours 29 hours

Now, let’s look at the cash – because I like to feel I’ve received value for my time and money.  We’ll compare the total costs of flying vs. driving for this trip, including the seat upgrades that kept flying from being a painful experience.  Keeping in mind that the Prius’ driver’s seat has more legroom than even the “preferred” airline seating.

Flying     Driving  
Ticket $280   Gas $350
Rental Car $59   Hotel (extra nights) $120
Rental Car Insurance $44      
Seat Upgrades $108      
Rental Car Gas $40      
Total: $531   Total: $470

Flying actually cost me more when all was said and done.  Even if I hadn’t upgraded my seats, the cost savings would have been under $100.  So it really comes down to time versus comfort and flexibility.

Flying saved me two days of travel time, and a lot of the hassle of flying could have been avoided if I’d been willing to spend more ($150) for a direct flight out of Orlando to Denver. 

On the other hand, I like driving to places.  I like the process of the roadtrip, and the flexibility. So next time I go to Denver, which will not be in February, I’ll probably drive.

It’ll be a longer trip, but I’ll have options.  Maybe I’ll stay overnight in Atlanta on one of the legs and see a show at Shakespeare Tavern.  I’m sure there’s something worth seeing in Kansas or Missouri …