Comparing the cost of driving vs. flying to southwest cities for Thanksgiving – KTNV Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — To fly or to drive this Thanksgiving…that is the question. If you’re planning to visit friends or family in a nearby southwest city, 13 Action News has got you covered!

13 Action News used Google Flights and Gas Buddy’s Gas Trip Calculator to break down the cost benefit of driving vs. flying to three nearby destinations: Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City.

Up first, Los Angeles, which is about an hour flight from Las Vegas each way. The cheapest flights we found were $117 per person round-trip.

You may not save all that much by driving. It should cost you between $50-$130 in gas to get from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and back, but you have to be willing to spend a total of eight or nine hours in the car on I-15, and maybe more with traffic. For some, that just means more quality time with the family.

“Sitting in the car with the whole family and driving, stopping in beautiful places like here, it kinda keeps you together,” said Nestor Martinez while filling up his gas tank.

AAA predicts Phoenix will be the fourth most popular travel destination this Thanksgiving. Flights from Las Vegas to Phoenix are significantly more expensive, averaging between $255-$400 dollars per person round-trip.

You could save hundreds of dollars by driving. The drive along US-93 should take you between nine and ten hours total. And again, gas should cost you $50-$130 to fill up the tank twice, which is more expensive than past years.

“We’d like the prices to be lower. We’d like the government to take some actions to lower the gas prices because we’re suffering. The people are suffering,” one driver told us while filling up at a Las Vegas gas station.

Finally, let’s compare prices to get to Salt Lake City and back. Thanksgiving flights from Las Vegas to Salt Lake are averaging between $300-$360 per person round-trip.

Once again, the road trip route is more affordable. The drive along I-15 to Salt Lake City takes about six hours each way without stopping, or 12 hours total, and gas should cost you $80-$180 dollars. The longer drive means you might have to fill up a third time, but drivers say it’s still more affordable.

“I didn’t really have a choice because my mom couldn’t afford to fly me and my girlfriend, because since COVID, everybody’s buying flights now,” a student named Garrett told us at a Las Vegas gas station.

If you’re wondering why the discrepancy in gas prices is so large, it’s because it’s based on a lot of factors, including the year of your vehicle, the make and model, its fuel efficiency, where you get your gas, and the type of gas. But Gas Buddy’s Gas Trip Calculator factors all that in and recommends the cheapest places to refuel along your route.

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