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Traveling with your own vehicle

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Traveling with your own vehicle

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Your own vehicle that you use for all your routine local driving could be a great way to take vacations and business trips. Because it is your own vehicle that you are using on your own time, it can allow you quite a lot of flexibility. You do not have the expense of booking travel via some other method such as airplane, train, or intercity bus, or of renting a vehicle once you arrive at your destination.


Some of the advantages of traveling from your doorstep in your own vehicle are:

  • No cost for additional travelers: While those traveling by plane, train, or bus must pay for each passenger, the cost of driving is the same, regardless of the number of passengers in the car. This is good news for families who cannot afford fares for all their members.
  • No luggage limits: Unlike airplanes, which weigh baggage and charge for overweight packages, thereby requiring travelers to make tough decisions on what to bring or what not, quite a lot can be packed into a vehicle. Though technically not totally unlimited, the limit is a far cry above airplanes.
  • Flexible planning: The auto traveler may have a goal to reach a certain place by a certain time. But it is no huge loss to be a few minutes behind out of fear of missing a flight. Additionally, it is possible in many places not to book a hotel in advance but to find one along the way, as in many places, hotel rooms are easy to find.

Things to consider[edit]

Condition of your vehicle[edit]

Vehicles vary in mechanical condition. Some vehicles are in excellent condition and are fit to be driven long distances. Others are falling apart and are in danger of breakdown at any moment. Before embarking on a long journey, it is important to be sure your vehicle and certain parts such as the tires are in good enough condition to handle the journey.

Also be sure you have the money to handle an emergency such as a breakdown or accident and a roadside assistance plan.

Cost of vehicle usage[edit]

The cost of fuel varies greatly by location and fluctuates a lot. And vehicle vary greatly in fuel efficiency. There is obviously going to be a cost per mile/kilometer for all your driving during your journey. But what many overlook is that there are other costs involved in the use of a vehicle.

Notably what must be considered is depreciation. Consider what you paid for the vehicle's purchase. Divide that by the number of miles/kilometers you expect to drive it during the course of your ownership. That is an additional cost of its operation besides the fuel.

Vehicles also require periodic maintenance and repairs. Also what must be considered is the amount you will spend on these during the vehicle's lifetime divided by the number of miles/kilometers you expect to drive the vehicle.


Most vehicles require routine maintenance, such as oil changes, to be performed at certain intervals in mileage. Sometimes, a journey by road could be so long that this maintenance may become necessary while on the road. Some vehicle owners have contracts with particular service centers. Such a journey could put the vehicle owner for from this center at the time the maintenance is due, and failure to get the maintenance performed at that location and mileage could void a warranty.

Insurance costs[edit]

Many automobile insurance companies decide on your rates based on the number of miles your put on a vehicle in a period of time. If you use your vehicle for your regular commute and local travel only, you may fall into a lower tier. But the mileage put on by one long journey could make all the difference and push you to the next level in insurance pricing.


Renting a vehicle for your journey[edit]

In some cases, it may be more cost effective to rent a vehicle from a rental agency in your hometown with which you will use to complete your journey. This could spare you of all depreciation costs and the possibility that the miles/kilometers you travel will raise your insurance rates. Additionally, you will get to drive a newer vehicle that is less at risk of breakdown.


Along some popular routes are autotrains on which the vehicle can be carried in special train cars while passengers ride in others. The cost to this can be pretty high. A fare must be paid for the vehicle and each passenger. But the journey can be rewarding as you can relax on the train during the ride and you will get to drive your familiar vehicle once you arrive at your destination.