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Plane, train or automobile? What's best for your wallet Add to ...

You've finally given in to a months-long campaign waged by your kids: whining, protestations of "all my friends get to go!" and of course the promotional material sent to your home from the Magical Kingdom itself. You're taking the family to Disneyland this summer.

Or perhaps you've decided to explore the country a bit more with a vacation in the big city: Chinatown, Blue Jays games and yes, that exorbitant trip up to the top of the CN Tower.

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But the question remains: How will you get there?

There's a romanticism to train travel, a convenience to flying and the obvious economic advantage to getting behind the wheel yourself. But when you weigh all the costs, which one suits your family best?

The Globe and Mail crunched the numbers for roundtrip travel for a family of four from Calgary to Disneyland as well as Toronto. It pays to calculate the price of every element of your trip: it doesn't end with air or train tickets or gas. Surprisingly, the extras sometimes total more than the price of travel itself.

While the cost of gas for your car is peanuts compared to airfare, don't forget you'll have to factor a few hotel stays for your family (and deal with several days of your trip being lost to travel). Know that if you're going the discount route by train across the country (which is still pricier than plane travel) you'll have to cough up cash for several meals during the marathon journey. Even if you're flying, be mindful that the pay meter doesn't stop running once you hit the tarmac - there's transport to and from the airport, after all.

Think about it this way: Your kids will manipulate you into spending more than you budgeted for once you enter the Disneyland gates so you'd better find ways to save on travel.

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