Choosing a Travel Method for Summer Vacation

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If you’re thinking about taking a summer vacation, now is the time to start planning. When choosing your mode of transportation, you’ll want to consider cost, speed, reliability, safety, and perhaps even your impact on the environment. So we’ve compiled some travel tips and transportation statistics — some of which might surprise you. At the least, this infographic should provide you with interesting information in regards to three popular ways to travel: Planes, trains and automobiles.

Transportation Tidbits: Planes, Trains and Automobiles


Infographic Roundup

Planes, trains and automobiles are three of the most common ways people travel for leisure. Generally, the distance of your destination largely determines which option works best; but if you’re considering any of these methods of transportation for your summer vacation, here are some things to keep in mind.



  • Book on Tuesday at 3 p.m. (ET). A study found this to be the best time for buying airline tickets.
  • Leave on a Wednesday. It’s the cheapest day to fly, especially for domestic travel.


  • SUNDAY = $$$
  • MONDAY = $$
  • TUESDAY = $
  • WEDNEDAY = $
  • THURSDAY = $$
  • FRIDAY = $$$
  • SATURDAY = $
  • Get up and go. The first flight of the morning is usually the cheapest. The next-cheapest flight times are around lunchtime and dinnertime.
  • Book six weeks in advance. The cheapest time to purchase your airfare is about six weeks prior to travel.
  • Avoid peak travel days. Consider scheduling your trip to avoid peak travel days. Leaving on slower days will allow you to find better deals.

FEES MATTER: According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, airlines made $3.3 billion in baggage fees alone in 2011.1



  • Reliability is very comparable. Airlines arrive on time approximately 79.5% of the time, compared to trains at 79.7% of the time. Trains are also delayed less due to weather.
  • Planes are safer than trains. In 2009, there were 0.69 fatalities per 100 million aircraft miles and 2.9 fatalities per 100 million passenger train miles.
  • Trains are better for the environment. Passenger rail is 30 – 40% more energy efficient overall than cars and commercial airlines.
  • Trains = 2,398 Btus per passenger mile
  • Planes = 2,995 Btus per passenger mile
  • Cars = 3,437 Btus. per passenger mile

PUTTING THE CAR IN “TRAIN CAR”: Amtrak’s “Auto Train” runs from Lorton, Virginia to Sanford, Florida, allowing passengers to bring their vehicle along for the ride! It is the longest passenger train in the world, and promoted as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option for East Coast families heading down to popular central Florida attractions.3



  • Pool your resources. Team up with friends to cut down on costs. When everybody chips in, the whole crew stands to gain!
  • Stay local. There are many parks and public properties with free admission. Many areas also have low-cost camping grounds with outdoor activities. Often, these facilities are located near popular travel destinations, so you can balance the cost of more expensive attractions.
  • Stock up. Buy food in bulk at discount stores before your trip to take advantage of the space you have in the car!
  • Go healthy. Instead of more expensive snacks, bring fruits, vegetables and dips. Instead of sugary sodas, drink water.

FUN FACT: 79% of leisure trips are by car, compared to only 48% for business trips.5

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Eddie Rybarski is a copywriter at Enova International, Inc. He has previously worked as a multimedia journalist in television news and managed a pedicab company in Chicago. In his spare time he enjoys running, biking, golfing, and competing in fantasy sports leagues. Find out more about him on Google+.


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