We used to fly everywhere because it was faster and we could get to our destination in just hours.
But then airports started annoying me. People in the airport started to really annoy me.
~ How do people still not know the best and quickest way to get through Security? Seriously. Take off your freaking shoes and belt before it's your turn to walk through the metal detector. And empty your pockets. (For those of you who wear sandals and go barefoot through the line...EW! They clean the floors at most airports once a day... AT NIGHT. Foot fungus, anyone?)
~ Take your electronic gadgets out and put them on the belt. You have to. It's been this way for years. Why do you think you get a pass not to do this?
~ Why do people insist on lining up and being in the way to get on the plane? They will call your Zone number when it's your turn. So get the crap out of my way.
I get it. It sucks to have to pay to check bags to travel. But trying to pack everything you need for a week long trip into a carry-on bag is insane. (The overhead bins seem to get smaller while your carry-on bags seem to get larger.) And stop using the space above MY seat when you are 10 rows up. Not to mention, the plane isn't going ANYWHERE until you stow your crap and sit down.
And I always get a seat in front of a hyper kid who somehow manages to kick my seat every 20 seconds. (Of course, his mother never seems to notice this. Ever.)
On one flight, there was a mother and her little boy, I'm guessing he was around 2. Her husband and other child were seated further back. Right after takeoff, the kid pukes. That's not what made me upset, although the smell of vomit was overwhelming. No, it was that she was a mother of 2.. on a plane with both kids and no diaper bag. No bag of any kind. No wipes for the kid. No napkins. No diapers to change him if needed. She had NOTHING to clean up the puke. And she told the Flight Attendant that the kid was already sick before the flight. Seriously. I have never seen a mom get on a plane without a bag full of wipes, snacks, diapers, etc. I have no idea what she was thinking. (Thank you to the Flight Attendant for giving her stacks of napkins to try to clean it up.)
And then the delays. Oh. Holy. God.
I flew 5 times in one year. And of those five flights, not one came in or left on time. Not one.
And I am not talking a few minutes of a delay.
I am talking HOURS.
Missing connecting flights hours.
Having to just drive home due to missing connecting flights hours. (Please, for your sanity. Try to never fly on US Airways through Charlotte, NC. They have to be the worst offender.)
Flying back into Chattanooga, I had to drive home instead of flying at least 3 times in a year or two: from Atlanta, Charlotte, and Memphis.
Leaving Hilton Head once, on our HONEYMOON, we actually got bumped from the flight. It was overloaded due to too much luggage and how much the plane weighed due to moisture and humidity. (*insert swearing streak here*)
So a couple of years ago, we started driving. And my sanity returned on trips. (Think we're nuts? Well, go stand over in the corner with my mom and discuss it. She's right there with you.)
Once we sat down and did the math, we realized that we could save a lot of money if we drove.
Flying from MSP to Hilton Head Island, SC- Granted, it's a small island. There are a limited number of planes flying in and out a day, through only 2 airlines. But $600 per person, round trip? That's $1200+ for my husband and I to get to the island by plane.
Driving from MN to Hilton Head Island, SC- Yes, it's roughly 1300+ miles and takes 21 hours (roughly) to drive there, but it's cheaper. The first time we did it, we saved each gas receipt on the way there and on the way back. We had the receipts for the hotel we used on the way there and back. In total, we spent $700.
So we saved about $500 by driving, even staying in a good hotel in Kentucky a night on the way there and a night on the way back. Why in the hell would we want to fly?
And since we drive, we can stop when we want to stop. It's usually just the 2 of us in the car and it's peaceful. We can take detours and see new things. In planes, you try to make out what you fly over but usually, you're nowhere close to getting it right. You cannot explore new places in the country when you're sitting on a plane, desperately trying to get the feeling back in your legs from being jammed into those tiny seats.
The first time we took the kids with us was a trip to Kansas to see their bio mom, after she had lived there almost a year. (That's another story for another day.)
On the way back, we stopped in Nebraska for a few days and went to the zoo in Omaha and the children's museum in Lincoln. (Highly recommend both, by the way.)
Since we left MN and headed to Kansas through Iowa and on the way back we were leaving from Omaha, we were traveling a different stretch of interstate than on the way down. And that's how we found the Danish Windmill in Elk Horn, Iowa. I had no idea there was a real Danish windmill in Iowa before seeing those signs. And we were all glad that we stopped to see it. It's actually an official Iowa Welcome Center.
(And it was fate that in the parking lot, there was a truck with Georgia tags and a University of Georgia magnet on the tailgate. The drivers of that truck were easy to spot since they were wearing the same Georiga 'G' that I was wearing on my shirt. We talked. It was nice. Go Dawgs!)
If we had flown to Kansas, we would have flown straight home. We didn't decide to go to Omaha and Lincoln until halfway through the two days in Kansas (the trip was terrible and we wanted to salvage it for the kids). If we had flown, we would have never seen and gone up into that windmill.
I prefer driving across this country for so many reasons. The most important to me being that I want to see and photograph as much of it as I can. And I want the kids to experience this country at a young age by going on these trips... not reading about these things in a geography book. I wish that I could have gone on more road trips as a child and not had to wait until by adult years.