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Tuesday, 18 November 2014 00:00

Planes, Trains Or Hire Cars: Which Is The Best Option For Domestic Travel?

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Car, train and planeImage by H. Michael Miley

When it comes to travelling within the UK, many domestic tourists tend to overlook the hire car as a viable mode of transport. Instead, many holidaymakers that don't own a car choose to take a train or, in the age of the budget airline, a plane to get them to their destination.

Although car hire is better associated with holidaying overseas, we believe it’s a transport solution that shouldn't be overlooked for domestic travel. To prove this, we researched the cost and time it would take to travel in a plane, train and hire car from London to four of the UK's most popular destinations. Read on to discover our findings.

How Was The Research Calculated?

In order to make sure our research was fair and accurate, the results were calculated by using the following variables;

Date of data collection: Monday 11 August 2014.


Leaving: Monday 1 September 2014 (AM).


Returning: Sunday 7 September 2014 (PM).


Number of people travelling: Two adults, two children.


Other conditions for travel: One piece of baggage; insurance for the journey; excess insurance for the hire car.


Flight Prices: The cheapest available flights on TravelSupermarket.com.


Rail Prices: The cheapest available trains on thetrainline.com.


Extras: Family insurance with Cheaper.co.uk (Flights); cancellation insurance with thetrainline.com (train); car hire excess insurance through iCarhireinsurance.com (hire car).

Car Hire Prices: The Cheapest available hire car (a Peugeot 107 or similar) on the iCarhireinsurance.com car hire booking engine. Pick up and drop off from London Waterloo train station.


Petrol: Pick up and return full fuel policy. Price calculated by using this reference for the miles per gallon average for a Peugeot 107 and this fuel calculator.


Journey Time: Total journey time as stated by the booking information; estimated driving time calculated by Google Maps (in good traffic).


We added two hours to the journey time by plane to account for check-in, security checks and baggage collection. And for the train we added 40 minutes to the journey time to account for parking, ticket collection and connecting journeys.

London To Edinburgh By Plane, Train and Hire Car

 

Plane

Train

Hire Car

Journey

London Gatwick to Edinburgh Return (EasyJet)

London Waterloo to Edinburgh Waverley

Peugeot 107 or similar

Return Tickets

£427.92

£315

£149.78

Baggage/Petrol

£26

Not applicable

£92.20

Extras*

£3.69 (Family Insurance)

£8.00

£20.93

Total Cost

£457.61

£324.50 (including booking fee)

£262.91

Journey Time

3 hours 25 minutes

5 hours 39 minutes

6 hours 38 minutes

Return Journey Time

3 hours 30 minutes

6 hours 27 minutes

6 hours 35 minutes

 

London To Manchester By Plane, Train and Hire Car

 

Plane

Train

Hire Car

Journey

London Heathrow to Manchester Airport (Virgin)

London Waterloo to Manchester Piccadilly

Peugeot 107 or similar

Return Tickets

£387

£123

£149.78

Baggage/Petrol

Free

Not applicable

£46.44

Extras*

£3.69 (Family Insurance)

£8.00

£20.93

Total Cost

£390.69

£132.50 (including booking fee)

£217.15

Journey Time

3 hours

3 hours 22 minutes

3 hours 28 minutes

Return Journey Time

3 hour 5 minutes

4 hours 19 minutes

3 hours 30 minutes

London To Newcastle By Plane, Train and Hire Car

 

Plane

Train

Hire Car

Journey

London Gatwick to Newcastle Airport (EasyJet)

London Waterloo to Newcastle

Peugeot 107 or similar

Return Tickets

£339.92

£306

£149.78

Baggage/Petrol

£24

Not applicable

£62.96

Extras*

£3.69 (Family Insurance)

 

£8.00

£20.93

Total Cost

£367.61

£315.50 (including booking fee)

£233.67

Journey Time

3 hours 30 minutes

4 hours 30 minutes

4 hours 36 minutes

Return Journey Time

3 hours 25 minutes

5 hours 54 minutes

4 hours 38 minutes

 

London To Leeds By Plane, Train and Hire Car

 

Plane

Train

Hire Car

Journey

London Gatwick to Leeds Bradford Airport (British Airways)

London Waterloo to Edinburgh Waverley

Peugeot 107 or similar

Return Tickets

£392

£153.30

£149.78

Baggage/Petrol

£20

Not applicable

£43.13

Extras*

£.3.69 (Family Insurance)

£8.00

£20.93

Total Cost

£415.69

£162.80 (including booking fee)

£214.31

Journey Time

3 hours

3 hours 31 minutes

3 hours 26 minutes

Return Journey Time

2 hours 55 minutes

3 hours 48 minutes

3 hours 26 minutes

 

* These extra costs vary depending on the type of travel e.g. cancellation insurance on tickets for the train, car hire excess insurance for a hire car and travel insurance for flights.

Overview

Although budget airlines have reduced the cost of flying in recent years, for domestic travel at least, it remains the most expensive mode of transport. The train is the cheapest mode of transport for getting to Manchester and Leeds, while the hire car is cheaper for getting to Newcastle and Edinburgh.

For each of the four destinations covered it is quicker to take the plane, and in some cases it is quicker to take the train too. However, the gains are marginal once you factor in travel to and from the station/airport.

The train is the cheapest mode of transport for two of the destinations researched. However with the price of train tickets set to rise again by a massive 3.5% in 2015, there is significant doubt over whether this will remain the case. Plus, the cheapest train tickets are only available at anti-social hours and parking your car at the station could end up adding significantly to the costs.

The hire car is the cheapest mode of transport for getting to Newcastle and Edinburgh. But to keep the price down when booking a car, you will need to be careful not to overpay for extras such as car hire excess insurance. As such, you should consider purchasing excess insurance through a standalone provider, rather than over the desk of your hire car company. For a quick quote on car hire insurance that is up to 70% cheaper than the price offered by hire car companies, click here.

Last modified on Saturday, 27 June 2015 13:16
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All prices within this section were correct at time of publication.