My head feels like a pretzel tonight. I’ve got 3 different tabs running deals for Southwest Airlines, plus another tab open to Google Maps. I’ve already figured out approximately how much an economy rental car would cost me for 2 weeks, and now I’m trying to figure out the cost difference between flying 3 people back across the country and renting a car vs. buying the car at the opposite end of the country and having those 3 people drive it all the way back.
Fact #1: We are all supposed to go back to our home state for a birthday party for my mom. Normally we would fly round-trip and rent a car for our use while there.
Fact #2: SuperDad needs a replacement car. He wants it to have home state license plates. Purchasing it while in our home state would negate the need for a rental car — and also the need for return tickets for 3 of us.
Fact #3: Encyclopedia Blue needs a lot more driving hours (required before he can move on in the process of becoming licensed). Driving across the country with me in SuperDad’s newly purchased vehicle (see fact #2) would fulfill that requirement.
Fact #4: MusicMan and Humorous-Juniorous need fly home to get there before the start of band camp.
I’ve figured out that it is going to cost (at current prices) approximately $1,626.80 to fly 6 of us across the country and 3 of us back home again. (That includes savings of $570.60 by not purchasing return tickets for 3 of us.) Not renting a car for 2 weeks would also save approximately $500 … for a grand total of approximately $1100 “saved.”
Now I need to subtract the cost of lodging while driving home. I’m guessing that will run around $400. I’m planning to save a little by bunking at 2 different extended family abodes along the way. Let’s see: $1100 minus $400 = $700 in savings. But wait! There’s the cost of fuel for the vehicle! Is it safe to assume I’ll be paying $3 per gallon? If so, how many gallons of gas will I need to drive 1,650 miles? And why does that number seem insanely small? Shoot, I already closed the tab with the map. Pfffffft.
When all is said and done, is it actually costing me more to spend an entire week driving across the country instead of flying home again?
My brain hurts. I need a spreadsheet. Actually, I need SuperDad to make a spreadsheet. I need to sleep!