I have some vacation time at the beginning of June, and the plan was to drive to Washington, DC with the family and take in some of the sites and monuments in the capital of the United States. We were planning on driving since flying with 6 kids is a non-starter. The round trip mileage to the city from our house would be about 635 miles. I would estimate another 60 miles per day running around since we would likely stay in the suburban area. The grand total mileage would then be estimated to be about 1700 miles when the trip is completed.
Again, having 6 kids means need room for 8 people plus the associated luggage. We have a Chevy Suburban which would get about 17 miles to the gallon on average. So let’s assume 100 gallons of gasoline would be needed to complete the trip. At $4 per gallon, that would be $400 in fuel costs.
The alternative might be to travel to Mackinac Island in Michigan. The mileage to travel there would be 510 miles one way. Furthermore, there would be minimal additional mileage to get around in the main part of town. The island itself does not allow cars so we would take a ferry across and commute by bicycle or walking. So, I would estimate about 1100 total miles for the trip which would require about 65 gallons of gasoline. At the same $4 per gallon estimate, the fuel costs would be $260.
I am not sure that this would be a make or break difference overall, so another determining factor may very well end up being lodging or the expense of activities in the area.
Doing the Math
I am glad that I undertook this exercise because it really doesn’t seem like the distances are enough different to warrant a change of plans. However, I must confess that no firm plans or reservations had been made.
The other suggestion was going to Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. This is only 300 miles away so the fuel cost could be decreased even farther to about $165. This might be worth considering provided a decent place to stay could be found.
With such a large crew, we often will rent a house on vacation so that we can shop at the grocery and cook meals. This saves quite a bit of money versus eating in restaurants. Saving money where possible is key since the cost for attractions can add up rather quickly.
Ultimately, I want to make sure that we have some fun but, at the same time, control costs and not add any debt to fund the trip.