October 6, 2008 in City

West Side weekend

Trips to Seattle can be less costly depending on travel method
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Brian Plonka photo

The trip from the Spokane area to Seattle leaves several options for travel by air, rail and car.
(Full-size photo)

Plane, train or automobile

Trip 1Trip 2Trip 3Trip 4Trip 5Trip 6Trip 7

 $46.88

Driving 578 miles – 558 there and back, and 20 miles around town – in a Toyota Prius

45 mpg, at $3.65 per gallon

Total time: 8 hours

Family of four: No change in price, though that Prius is going to be crowded.

 $68.05

Driving 578 miles – 558 there and back, and 20 miles around town – in a Honda Accord

31 mpg, at $3.65 per gallon

Total time: 8 hours

Family of four: No change in price.

$119

Taking the Empire Builder train

Note: train leaves Spokane at 2:15 in the morning, and gets back after midnight

Total time: 16 hours

Family of four: $476

$124.10

Driving 578 miles – 558 there and back, and 20 miles around town – in a Chevrolet Astro

17 mpg, at $3.65 per gallon

Total time: 8 hours

Family of Four: No change in price

$139

Flying out Friday night, flying back Sunday

Ticket purchased six weeks ahead, best price at online site

Total cost: $109 airfare, with fees; estimated $30 for parking or transportation – $139

Travel time: 2:16 in the air, 3 hours to and from the airport – 5:16

Family of four: $556

 $236

Flying out Friday night, flying back Sunday

Ticket purchased two weeks ahead, best price at online site

Total cost: $206 airfare, with fees; estimated $30 for parking or transportation – $236

Travel time: 2:16 in the air, 3 hours to and from the airport – 5:16

Family of four: $944

$266

Flying out Friday night, flying back Sunday

Ticket purchased within a week, best price at online site

Total cost: $236 airfare, with fees: estimated $30 for parking or transportation – $266.

Travel time: 2:16 in the air, 3 hours to and from the airport – 5:16

Family of four: $1,064

A trip to Seattle – whether it’s for a Seahawks game or a film festival – is a pretty common weekend escape.

But depending on how you get there and how many people go along, the price tag for travel can range from less than $100 to more than $1,000.

We did some comparisons to find the best deal for getting to and from the Emerald City, and found that unless you’re driving a Hummer or a Lamborghini – in which case you might not be worried about the cost anyway – it’s still a better bet to drive, in terms of cost. And that’s especially true if you’re taking the family.

But what’s your time worth? You can save several hours by flying instead of driving, and the earlier you buy your ticket, of course, the cheaper it is.

Here are seven scenarios for traveling to Seattle on a Friday night and returning on a Sunday.


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