I have to write a Compare and Contrast Essay, between two types of transportation, using the point-for-point method. I was feeling proud of what I'd done until I reread my essay today. I'm having doubts as to whether it really follows all the requirements of a good compare and contrast essay. I would appreciate any thoughts anyone might have. Thank you!
Summer vacation is fast approaching. While kids are busy planning all the fun they will have, parents are responsible for planning how they will reach their destination. Flying and driving are obviously the top two travel options, but mom and dad must do some research in order to make a final decision. There are a lot of important details to take into consideration when choosing a mode of transportation. To find out whether wings or wheels are the best decision for the family, a comparison must first be made concerning cost, convenience, and safety.
Price is definitely a big issue when it comes to traveling. Parents are going to want to have as much fun as possible while spending as little money as possible. Determining whether flying or driving is better, cost-wise, depends on several factors. Distance and number of travelers are very important details that need to be known before the family can figure out anything else. When it comes to flying, ticket prices are the main concern. Plane tickets vary in price according to destination and time of purchase. Buying tickets well in advance ultimately leads to the best deal, although a family can choose to take a risk by waiting and buying tickets on short notice when there is a chance that they will also find a deal. With driving the biggest concern is gas prices, but the family must also keep in mind the cost of necessary maintenance. Travel inflicts hidden wear and tear on a vehicle, and there is always the risk of an accident. Tolls add even more to the total cost. However, the price per person actually gets cheaper when carpooling. This is unlike travel by plane, where everyone has to buy his or her own ticket. Also, there are taxi and parking fees, as well as the price of a rental car, to think about when taking a plane to one's destination. Flying also means that there is a restriction on luggage size and weight, so some items may have to be bought or rented once the family reaches their vacation spot. With a car the family is free to bring along whatever they have enough room for. It is estimated that a one-way trip from New York City to Philadelphia by plane would cost $66.00 per person. For a car with 22.6 miles per gallon, 5.5 cents per mile for maintenance, and with gasoline prices at $3.00 per gallon, the same trip would cost $19.00. A one-way trip from New York City to Los Angeles would cost approximately $151.00 if flying. Driving a car with the same specifications mentioned above over the same distance would cost about $524.00. Thus, the family can reach the conclusion that the car is the cheapest mode of transportation for short trips, but that the plane is the better deal when it comes to long trips.
Of course, the family is going to want to make sure that the trip is worth their money as far as speed and comfort are concerned. At first glance the plane might seem to be the quickest way to travel, but a closer look reveals that this is not necessarily true. Parents must remember to add the amount of time it takes to reach the terminal and then the time spent waiting there. A one-way trip from New York City to Philadelphia is 102 miles. It would take about two and a half hours to drive non-stop, and a flight would take about half an hour. However, if one assumes that the wait will be one hour, as well as the trip to and from the terminal, the flight is no better than the car trip. This is assuming, also, that there will be no flight delays. When driving, however, there are of course the possible delays that could arise from weather, road construction, and other unavoidable circumstances. The family may also make several stops along the way for meals and other reasons. It takes about forty-three hours to drive non-stop over the two-thousand plus miles separating New York City and Los Angeles. The six hours it takes to fly the same distance, plus the two and a half hours of travel and waiting at the terminal, results in eight and a half total hours spent if the family opts to take the plane. The car can probably be awarded first place, though, when it comes to comfort because of the freedom one has when driving. The driver can stop wherever and whenever he chooses, and he can bring along whoever and whatever he wants. The slower pace offers vehicle passengers a great chance for sightseeing, as well. On the other hand, flying gives one the opportunity to read, study, work, or sleep while traveling; the driver can do none of these things while behind the wheel. Also, it is up to parents to decide what mode of transportation would be best for their children. Both parties can become restless and impatient on a long car trip, but certain children may not be mature enough to ride on an airplane. When it comes to convenience, the car is, again, best for short distances, and the plane is best for long distances.
Safety is the most important concern for the family when traveling. Many people have a fear of flying, usually because they do not have the control in a plane that they feel they have in a car. In reality, though, there is little control in either situation. Flying involves having trust in the pilot, while driving involves having trust in other drivers. Bad weather and mechanical problems are inevitable safety hazards for both flyers and drivers. Plane crashes reported in the news are another source of fear, but the reason that these crashes are reported in the first place is that they are so rare. Car crashes happen every day, so the news does not need to make a big deal out of them. To find out which mode of transportation is safer takes an amount of study. While cars are more likely to be involved in an accident, passengers are not injured or killed in every incident. Planes, on the other hand, rarely crash, but when they do, it is usually fatal for all on board. The fatality rate per billion passenger miles traveled has been estimated to be 7.2 for cars and 2.3 for airplanes. For a vacation spot at a decent distance from home, it would be safest to take the family on a plane ride.
After looking into the cost, convenience, and safety of both modes of transportation, the plane appears to be the winner for long distance traveling and the car remains good for traveling close to home. Airplanes are worth the money spent on far away vacations because they can bring the family quickly and safely. Car trips are fairly comfortable and cheap when the family does not need to go far. Whatever transportation the family chooses to take them to their vacation spot in the end, everyone is sure to agree that getting there is half the fun.
My prescription for this essay:
Eliminate a sentence here and a phrase there when you can, saying it in fewer words when possible. That is something all writers should do, though.
Also, add one more sentence to that first paragraph. After you look at the whole essay, you can think of one more sentence to add to that first paragraph: a sentence about a rule or principle you notice when comparing the two. The last sentence of the first paragraph should tell the most significant conclusion you drew, or some useful observation for people to remember.
You might say: In general, if time is a concern it is good to fly, but if money is a concern it is good to drive.