Skip to Content

Cheaper To Fly Or Drive This Summer? This New Calculator Will Tell You

Share The Article

Last Updated

With the price of international travel soaring to scary new heights, many travelers across the US are turning to domestic staycations instead of expensive trips abroad in a bid to save more than just a few dollars. However, just because you’re traveling domestic doesn’t always make it easier or cheaper to book a vacation, with travelers still faced with daunting levels of planning and preparation – not least calculating whether or not it’s cheaper to travel in the air or on the asphalt. 

Thankfully for travelers, Kayak now features a tool on its website that will help prospective holidaymakers work out whether or not it is cheaper to fly to their destination this summer or to drive there. Here’s a look at Kayak’s trip calculator feature, including how it works and what else it can offer those looking to get away this summer. 

Kayak’s New Trip Calculator – What Travelers Should Know

Whilst the easing of pandemic-related entry restrictions around the world gave travelers one less task as part of their pre-travel checklist, the sharp rise in both flight prices and hotel stays around the world means that more than ever, travelers are having to pay close attention to budgets and finances before taking a trip. Thankfully, the travel industry is creative in coming up with traveler-orientated solutions, and Kayak’s new trip calculator is one that could help American travelers save cash this summer. 

The trip calculator’s webpage looks like any other travel booking webpage on the Internet; enter your origin and destination, select whether it’s a one way trip or a round trip, enter the number of travelers, choose the month of the trip and click on the search icon. However, when generating the search results, it offers not only the estimated flight cost, but information about driving between the two destinations – including trip time, distance and total cost – before offering its recommendation on which method to select.

For example, when inputting a trip for two travelers between New York City and Jacksonville, Florida, the total estimated price for flights comes out at $494 ($247 per person) and it has a link to search for flights. For the same trip in a car, the calculator states that the 950 mile journey – with a round-trip road time of just over 30 hours and 89 gallons of fuel used – will cost $462 dollars. Underneath this information, a recommendation to drive is added, highlighting the $32 saving it will generate. 

However, the trip calculator doesn’t just stop there – it has everything needed to book the trip there and then. Underneath the costs of traveling and the calculator’s recommendations, it also provides the prices of rental cars in the traveler’s place of origin in case they don’t want to put wear and tear on their own wheels. It also offers hotel deals for the travelers destination, as well as the latest restaurant deals and promotions, provided courtesy of the restaurant-reservation service company OpenTable. 

Happy Family In Hotel Room

In order to provide the figures for the air travel and road estimates, Kayak draws upon values generated from searches on the platform in the past. For flights, it analyzes searches conducted across Kayak domains in the last 2 years, including both direct and indirect connections, whilst for cars the fuel cost is updated weekly and an average fuel consumption rate was used. For car rentals, it analyzes searches taken in the past 31 days on the website, taking into account the place of origin. Whilst figures may not be exact, they’re a good estimate for travelers to use.

Gasoline Fuel Being Pumped Into Car, Road Trip Concept

For those who do elect to travel by car, the trip calculator also offers a number of handy travel guides designed to make the journey as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. These include:

  • Best road trip cars
  • Road trip hacks
  • Best family road trip
  • Best couples road trip games
  • Best road trip snacks
  • Road trips with dogs

With the help of these guides and the knowledge that you’re saving a few bucks, the road trip could end up becoming the highlight of the trip itself. 

Where To Find The Trip Calculator

Travelers can start comparing their flight and road trip costs on Kayak's new web page called ‘Summer Trip Calculator‘.

family of 4 packing up the car for a summer road trip

Read More:

U.S. State Department Issues 7 New Travel Advisory Updates

Travel Insurance That Covers Covid-19 For 2022

Over 1,800 Campgrounds In The U.S. And Canada Are Now Available On Booking.Com

↓ Elevate Your Travel↓

Sign Up Now For Travel Off Path Premium! No ads, VIP Content, Personal Travel Concierge, Huge Savings, Daily Deals, Members Forum & More!


Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path's latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Wednesday 29th of June 2022

Does the calculator calculate the hours and sometimes days of waiting for a flight because of a cancellation?