Many airlines are now charging for extra bags, curbside check in, and extra fuel charges, but Southwest Airlines is not, and to put an extra cherry on top of it, all they are offering special fares within California for only $49-$59 (plus taxes and fees) each way! Depending on the car you are driving, that may be less than what you would pay for gas to drive. One way to Chicago is only $129, so even with a hybrid and today's price of gas running $4.23 a gallon, you will save not only money, but time and your back by flying. If you want to take advantage of the offer, make sure you book early to get the flights you want.
Trains are another alternative to driving that I always use in Europe; now with gas prices here at European levels (well, almost, gas is running about $8 a gallon there now), trains are becoming a more popular choice here too. Trains are always a better option if you hate freeway traffic (and who doesn't?). Now with Amtrak's special rates, if you book through August 8, you can get a $15 fare between Los Angeles and Palm Springs with no added fees or taxes good for travel from September 2 through December 11, 2008. Not only will you save the aggravation of time and traffic, but you will also enjoy two hours to read or snooze.
Who would have ever imagined that planes and trains would be a wiser choice in both dollars and sense than automobiles?