I know I wrote in another post that we were driving to port. My husband and I did not come to that decision lightly. After all, living in Indiana, we are 20+ hours from Port Canaveral, FL. (we are about 12 hours from the closest port, Baltimore, so no matter what port we use, it's a very long drive) But it's a 2 1/2 hour flight to Orlando from O'Hare. You have to be thinking right now that it's a no-brainer to fly, right?
If it was just the two of us, I would agree wholeheartedly. We would easily be able to deal with the airport and our luggage. We would need to spend about 5 hours total in the airports; along with flights, it would be no more than 10 hours total (we'd hope) of airport/plane time. That's not too shabby for a vacation.
But....with kids? That 10 hours might be a nightmare. On top of that, we would have to have 3-4 suitcases, stroller, and car seats. We wouldn't want to pay the extra fees to check everything (as it would cost over $1100 as it is to fly), so we'd have 3-4 carry on suitcases, plus our individual bags with things like Kindle, toys, diapers, etc.
Restrictions on what we can take. Sunscreen for 4 people, 2 of them pasty white kids? Yes, we need a gallon of it.
And, since we would want an early flight (less chance of delays), we would have to be there by around 5am. At O'Hare, which is 2 hours away from us. So...we'd have to spring for a hotel. Dollar signs are rolling.
I'm the only one in the family that has flown, so that's another stress point. Having a 4 and 2 year old who can't pop their ears (or chew gum to help), yikes. Don't want to imagine that. And I know there are ways to get around that, but my kids are not easy like that. They would end up with ruptured eardrums.
On top of that, we would need to deal with shuttles to and from port (ugh), or rent a car...$$$
And the headache to the other passengers? I don't want to ruin someone's flight because my kids are awful, ya know?
Okay, so the flight would be faster. That is the ONLY pro that my husband and I could find. Not less stress, not cheaper. Just faster.
I don't even want to imagine the nightmare of changing a diaper on a plane...
So driving. Yep, it will be around 40 hours total in the car. With 2 kids. One of whom hates to be in the car. But the price will be cheaper, even when you consider the fact that we will probably need at least 1 night in a hotel on the way down, probably 2 nights. So 3-4 nights in a hotel probably (round-trip), plus gas. Plus food on the way back (we plan to pack a cooler for the drive down, save at least $50 that way). That will still be cheaper (unless gas prices get totally insane next spring) than flying.
Also, we can take whatever we want. No restrictions about liquids (yay gallon of sunscreen!) or anything of that sort. No hassles with carting everything through an airport with 2 screaming kids (or 1 screaming kid and 2 adults screaming at the bigger kid to "STAY OVER HERE!").
We will be on our own schedule, so no hurrying because we will miss a flight/connection/shuttle.
And no irritating other people! We will be in our own enclosed pod of screaming and poo.
If we need to change a diaper? Plenty of places to do it!
So, for us, driving is the better option for this vacation. Our next big family vacation the kids will be older, so that might change everything, but for now? Road trip!