Travel Math – It Does Not Add Up

Do you remember basic math concepts from your school days? When you add something with positive value the result is more than the original amount. 1+2=3, in other words.

Well, travel math is different.

I just finished planning a trip that flaunted the rules of math. By the way, I was pretty good at math once upon a time. I even discovered and published a math formula in high school.

My new travel math formula is: airfare + car rental < rental car.

That is, I was able to find an airfare plus rental car that was less than the rental car.

Would you like me to explain?

For a 10 day Spring Break trip to South Florida we would usually fly into Ft. Lauderdale. The airfare was over $400 and the car rental was $500. Yikes!

I checked Miami. The car rental was $800 (c’mon Hertz, really?) and the airfare was also over $500.

Then I checked other alternate airports, including Palm Beach, Melbourne, Ft. Myers, Orlando, and Daytona Beach. Nothing better. In fact, some fares were over $500. The best deal was actually Tampa; airfare around $250 and car rental of $300.

Interestingly, I also considered Albuquerque with $250 nonstop flights and a $200 car rental. Speaking of travel math, is a flight calculator that showed me that Albuquerque is 1,600 miles from my home while Ft. Lauderdale is 900. Airfare prices have nothing to do with distance but we knew that! I also recently booked a flight to Casablanca (4,600 miles) for $421. It is insane that I found cheaper flights to Africa than Florida.

Back to the Florida trip.

Ideally, we want to spend about 5 days near Ft. Lauderdale and 5 days in the Florida Keys. I decided to research airfares into Key West. My experience, however, is that Key West fares were higher. True to form, Key West flights cost over $600.

However, I found a one-way flight to Key West for only $134.

It is slightly complicated but I fly into Key West for $134, get a rental car for $300, and return the rental car to Miami from where I fly home ($200).

To review, I would have had to pay $800 just for the rental car from Miami. Instead, I am paying less than $650 ($134 + $200 + $300) for flights to Key West and from Miami PLUS the rental car from Key West that I return to Miami.

Brilliant! Now I have more time for vacation, as I do not have to drive from Miami to Key West to start my vacation. I begin right there in the Conch Republic.

sunset from Key West, Florida
sunset from Key West, Florida

Note: indeed it would have been about $100 less for the Tampa option but I would have spent at least 8 extra hours driving between Tampa and Miami. I like my choice!

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3 thoughts on “Travel Math – It Does Not Add Up”

  1. If you are coming for just a few hours then take an airboat ride which will allow you to experience everything that the swamp has to offer without tiring or sweating..More adventurous can venture farther across where they might be able to glimpse the majestic Florida panther. It is the most famous waterfront biker restaurant that has live music country line dancers and the real life people you only see in Simpsons. This non for profit organization provides opportunity to everyone by including educational programmers tailored towards adults children schools and people with disabilities..Their services are so extensive that you can take an entire day and never be content.

  2. Who flies to Key West? And where were you flying from? What’s the best way to find who flies to where you want to go?

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