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Are Aussie road trips cheaper than flying?


Laine Gordon

By Laine Gordon

3 min read

It’s school holidays time – so no doubt parents will be thinking of ways to keep the kids entertained. Choosing the destination for a family holiday isn't the only consideration — how to get there is just as important. With a holiday savings account on the go, heading away on holiday could be more achievable than ever.

Domestic overnight tourism spending soared to $53.3 billion in the year ending June 2014, according to Tourism Research Australia (TRA), a four percent increase on the previous year. In terms of growth, "visiting friends and relatives" took out the top spot, with seven percent growth over the same period. Domestic holiday trips increased two percent, too.

"While growth in overseas holidays remains solid, assisted by a stubborn Australian dollar, this is expected to moderate with some switching of demand toward domestic holiday travel," said Tim Quinn, TRA Manager of Strategic Research and Analysis.

Head into the skies

Jumping on a plane is a popular choice for those looking to go overland, while it's a necessity if you want to cross foreign waters.

There are plenty of flight comparison websites that can help you get a great deal, though some caution is necessary. School holidays are a notorious time for heading north, south, east or west. Whether an outback adventure or a week at the Whitsunday Islands is on the cards, you won't be the only family with such intentions.

Accordingly, flight prices tend to increase during peak travel seasons, which include school holidays. If you're only heading away for a few days, flying may be a better option as you'll maximise your time. However, this convenience comes at a price! Book flights well in advance to get the best deals possible.

Remember, there are other costs associated with flying, such as extra charges for baggage (particularly if you fly with budget airlines) and airport transfers. If you head overseas, prepare for further surcharges, too.

Get on the road

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 17.6 million motor vehicles registered in Australia in 2014, marking a 2.6 percent increase on the previous year.

As a nation of car lovers, it's no wonder road trips are a popular way to get from A to B. Rather than paying for a flight for each and every family member, you simply need to fill up the tank with gas. However, the cost of this can vary, depending on how fuel efficient your vehicle is.

Plus, there are other costs to owning a vehicle beyond filling it with petrol. Taking out a car loan, securing vehicle insurance and staying up to date with regular maintenance can quickly add up. If you'd rather keep your odometer reading in favourable territory, a lengthy road trip might give way to air travel.

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