Originally Posted by axebiker
Driving = too expensive
Flying = yeah right... I'm sure that'll get cheaper and easier
Hiking = how long does it take you to cover 1200 miles on foot?
Train = now there's a thought. Maybe an option for a trip out to MT this year. We'll see.
I'm not sure what you drive, but I find driving to be the "cheapest" of all of them (considering that I don't charge myself for my time). The best part about driving is that it's the only option that gets cheaper when you add more people, instead of more expensive. Even with gas at $4+, I travelled to Maine and back over the weekend for <$160 in a little car (alone). Airfare was going to be at least $220, and if I'd had a co-pilot, I would effectively have cut my cost in half. 2-3 passengers? Even better.
Flying is definitely getting more expensive, but then, so's driving. The train is probably the least viable transportation option I can think of... Not only is the cost typically (at least around here) similar to flying, it takes about 6x as long. For instance, looking at heading to Chicago next month, I can fly round trip for about $270/person (leaving July 4, returning July 6... I have a wedding to attend), and I can be there within 2.5 hours or so, depending on the flight. Amtrak, on the other hand, is about $280pp, but I have to leave a day earlier (and get back a day and a half later) because the trip takes 18 hours.
I'd love to take the train, if I could. I use to go back and forth to Boston on the train when I was in college, and loved it. However, I'm really not interested in spending MORE than airfare for a trip that will take forever. If I'm headed west of Chicago, it's even worse. I think it's about 2 days to get to Denver, for instance, meaning that I would have to add an extra four days to my trip if I wanted to take the train to/from Denver to ski.
I'll still plan to fly west for a trip next year. I hope to either hit SLC or do a tour of Idaho/Montana, but we'll see. Flights to Spokane are right in between the cost of flights to DEN (cheap) and SLC (not cheap), so we'll see. If there's another winter like the last one, I may just head back to Maine for a few days at Saddleback...