By land or by air? (Definitely not by sea)

I debated whether to drive or fly to FitBloggin’ this weekend. (I suppose going by sea could have been an option if I owned a boat or a hovercraft or one of those duck boats, but I don’t.) According to Google Maps it is a 5hr 38min drive from Chapel Hill, NC to Baltimore, MD, which is about the upper limit of time I’m willing (or rather the headache is willing) to drive in a day. The flight from Raleigh to Baltimore is approximately 1 hour, but when you add in the time driving to the airport, parking, going through security, getting their early just in case, getting on the plane, getting off the plane, waiting for the curbside checked baggage to be unloaded at the gate because the overhead baggage compartment is too small on regional flights, and taking a shuttle to the hotel, I think OMG why would I ever want to fly? If I drive I can come and go when I want to, and I don’t have to wake up at the ass crack of dawn to catch a flight.

Of course, I would never make a final decision on this matter until I created a—can you guess?—spreadsheet! All hail Excel. I used my car’s highway mile-per-gallon average (which I determine and record every time I fuel up because I am psycho like that) and calculated that driving was cheaper than flying even with gas prices nearing $4/gal. It still came out cheaper when comparing the parking fees at the hotel vs. the parking fees at the airport combined with shuttle fare to and from the hotel. So, driving it is! I’ve timed my departure to hopefully miss the Washington DC rush hour since I don’t want to spend half my life parked on I-95 singing that damn Tori Amos song that is stuck in my head again this year.

I’ve got all my podcasts loaded up on my MP3 player, and I’ve been saving the latest episode of RadioLab just for this trip. Since I’m driving, I also thought I’d take full advantage of the opportunity to pack this stuff:

Sharp objects!

Bottles of liquids

That’s right people, I’m bringing a bag of razor blades and 12oz bottles of shampoo and conditioner! It’s crazy time! Crazy, crazy, crazy! And if feels sooooo good. I’m going to keep my shoes on the whole time, too. I feel like such a bad girl.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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Jennifer • May 19, 2011 at 7:58 am

You rebel, you. ;-D Drive carefully, young lady!!!


Tina • May 19, 2011 at 8:07 am

I’ve been reading your blog since the beginning, and I just have to say that I love your writing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – they make my mornings! And you’re SO funny!

Have a great conference!!!


Karen • May 19, 2011 at 8:46 am

I travel a lot, mostly driving, for the same reasons you list. Plus you can bring a cooler full of normal priced drinks and snacks, and stop for a bathroom break as often as you like. Love the freedom!

(Though, I wish train travel was more available. That would be an acceptable alternative for me.)


Laura N • May 19, 2011 at 11:29 am

We are drive the car kind of people, too. Always better to have control. Airlines are a PITA, esp. if you have connecting flights, which are the devil’s way of bringing purgatory to us here on earth.

Hope you have a nice drive. Fingers crossed for no rain. Hate driving in the rain.


Maureen • May 19, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Gas is just nearing $4 a gallon? Wow, ours is $4.23/gal-we are getting ripped off! I love a road trip, hopefully it will be clear sailing for you. Have a great drive!


Becca • May 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm

be sure to take the BW parkway so you get off the beltway as soon as possible—and there are no trucks on the parkway.


Amy • May 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I am confused about just one thing – is it really crazy to keep detailed mpg records for one’s car, or only if one actually puts them into spreadsheet form?

I bought my car in 2002, and have a record of every fill-up since. :)


Linda Ford (entering to win book) • May 19, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Ditto on what other’s have said. I love your writing! I had some friends who took the train from St. Louis to Chicago after finding out the hotel in Chicago was going to charge them $42.00 a day to park their car every night they were there. (They originally were going to drive). The price was “less” than 50.00 a person “roundtrip”. What a deal. She said the trip was so relaxing. They slept most of the time. Again, love your writing style!


Laurie • May 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm

I’ve followed PastaQueen and I’ll follow Jenful–except why not “Jenniful”?! Its mellifluous : ) LOVE your style and voice!


Jenn • May 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm

However, you will miss out on the thrill of being felt up at security…unless you stop at a shady rest stop. Drive safe!


Mama_Dee • May 20, 2011 at 7:25 am

WAY cheaper to fly! Have fun, Jen!


Mama_Dee • May 20, 2011 at 7:26 am

@Mama_Dee – Way cheaper to DRIVE I mean!


Ashley • May 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I’m shocked it was cheaper to drive. I have that DING app from Southwest and BWI to Raleigh-Durham for $64 comes up all the time as a special. (I live in Baltimore, so we get really good Southwest deals all the time though. Also, I know you are coming for a conference and will be working, but if you need restaurant suggestions or anything, feel free to send me an e-mail.)


Lisa Duncan • May 20, 2011 at 8:35 pm

When did you go back to (regular) shampoo?


sophie • May 21, 2011 at 3:20 am

Wow, I wish I were as thorough as you when weighing the flying versus driving choices. If the time taken is the same, I will always drive. I am sooo sick of the TSA (Thousands Standing Around). It would be great if you posted the spreadsheet so I could copy and paste the categories into my own Excel spreadsheet. If I have to drive more than ten hours to get somewhere I really want to go, I may–maybe, not for sure–consider enduring TSA’s abuse of power again.

I was smiling when I read your post. Then I read, “I’m going to keep my shoes on the whole time, too. I feel like such a bad girl.” and cracked up. You really are funny!


JenFul • May 21, 2011 at 7:18 am

@Lisa Duncan – I only use a bit every week. I think I go through 4-5 bottles of conditioner before I have to replace the shampoo bottle.


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Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, chronic headache sufferer, (former?) weight-loss inspiration, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She was formerly known as PastaQueen. You can contact her if you promise to be nice.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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