Vote of the week: How much time will you spend in the car on a roadtrip?
Now that we're officially into fall, I'd like to take a moment to ask you about your summer vacation.
Did you go on a roadtrip? If you've been following the site, you likely know that we did, and it was a big one - seven weeks and 8,000 miles. But even though we covered a lot of miles on our trip, we didn't have that many long days within the car. We tried to break the trip into smaller chunks, with several days off the road in between our driving days as well.
Our roadtrip machine
I'm comfortable with epic stints behind the wheel - when I was in grad school, I once drove from Orlando to Houston in a single day, stopping only to gas up and hit drive-thrus at meal times. (Human "pit stops" were reserved for when the gas was pumping.) That was over 1,000 miles in a day - my personal best.
But with a wife and kids now, the family can't comfortably endure that much driving in one day. We stretched on this trip to make it from Cincinnati to Orlando in one go, but that was with a 5 am start for a 15-hour day. Most driving days, though, we were comfortable spending up to nine to 10 hours in the car, averaging between 600-700 miles.
How long are you, and your family, comfortable in the car on a single day during a roadtrip? That's our vote of the week.
I've offered the options below in miles, but it might be helpful to think of them in terms of hours. Let's figure that, with highway speeds and occasional stops for food and gas, that you might average a touch over 60 miles per hour. That would place the first option at up to four hours in the car, the second at about four-to-eight hours, the third at eight-to-12 hours and the over 750 miles option at more than 12 hours a day in the car.
Or, if you don't care for roadtrips, and are more comfortable on a plane or train for out-of-town trips, that's an option available to you as well.
Let's hear more detail in the comments. What's the longest you've spent in the car on a one-day haul? Got any funny or frustrating roadtrip stories? We'd love to hear them.
Just around 750 miles for us. We once tried going the 1200 miles from San Francisco to El Paso but thats too much for us, we cut the trip in half and stopped in Blythe, CA for the night.
Must be nice to take off for 7 weeks. This summer roadtrip I drove 2000 miles back and forth to work...
Great question. I live in Norfolk, VA and was actually debating the Cedar Point trip. Plane tickets were a bit high, and 10+ hrs 605 miles each way just was too much for me. Ended up driving to Hershey instead 5 1/2 hrs and 320 miles each way. Maybe next year I'll suck it up and drive to CP. 11 hours in the car each way just gives me cold sweats.
This past Feb we did the trip from southern N.H. to Orlando in two days on the way down (900mi day 1, 450 day 2) but on the way back we did 1350mi in 24 hours. We left the Caribbean Beach Resort at 8am on a Saturday and hit our front door at 8am on Sunday.
We live 11 hours away from Disney World and that's just about a day's max for us. If I were to drive to Disneyland I would have to break it up into 9-10 hour chunks.
Who took off for seven weeks? I kept posting the whole time. ;-)
I've made the drive from Charleston SC to Cedar Point twice, which is about 12 hours. both times, it was leave by 5 AM, stop only for gas/food/restroom.
It depends on how tight the schedule is and how long I have for vacation. The one thing I can't do is get up really early, drive 10 hours and then be expected to go to a theme park for the rest of the day directly after arriving (which I have done). Driving kills days, and if I only have a few days off, I'd rather pay for the plane tickets and make it quick and easy.
I think my most insane day was driving from Columbia, SC to Orlando and back (Christmas shopping and a two hour stint at Universal). We left at 7am and got home about 2am. But it only comes out to about 900 miles and the parks made for a nice break. The most horrific day on the road was driving from Six Flags St. Louis back to Columbia. 12 and a half hours that felt like it was NEVER going to end.
That depends on ones location. I prefer trains and i got that choice. Other countries/regions got even better train connections im closer to the next Autobahn than to the next train station. My trains are relativly slow and expensive by European standards, but they are at least regular and on time. Train travel time is essentially free time and a lot saver. Driving a car fast at the Autobahn not so much. If id have to deal with American public transport in general or worse the one in Orlando, i bet id start to do long car trips aswell.
Growing up, we would always make the ~14 hour Disney trip from Bowling Green by car, and we never stopped on the way.
What can I say? I like driving, and haven't been on a plane since 1977. Longest I drove..talking time, not miles...was heading to Orlando from Bayonne, NJ...left at about 5 am, stopped for the night at about 8..in South Carolina, just north of the Georgia border. My buddy could not drive at that time, so it was all me. I've made the 10 hour trip to Cedar Point multiple times, as well as making it from Bayonne to Kings Island and Dollywood on separate trips.
Our family has taken a few trips from NJ to Texas and the longest We have driven with kids in the car is about 625 miles, about 12 hrs driving. I think thelogest I ever drove was NJ to Chicago about 725 miles.
Living in the capital of NC we are halfwayish between the NE and Florida destinations. We are actually leaving for Orlando this sat 9-25, morning for the week and a 600 mile drive that take about 9 hrs with good weather and traffic..
All together this summer I went from virgina to vermont
I prefer trips less than 500 miles. But I'll do more, if my family can take it. Like Bob, we drive in a Prius, but with my kids being 14 and 17, and my son being 5-9 and well over 200 pounds, it's a tight fit these days.
How do you fit luggage for a family of 4 for a 7 week vacation in a Prius??? We can hardly fit our luggage in our Saturn Relay with one of the middle seats removed!
I did 800 all by myself driving from home to college once. Never did it again. The last 2 hours was through blazing thunderstorms and pelting rain. My whole body was buzzing by the time I got to my apartment.
On luggage, we have one simple rule: No hard- or rigid-sided bags. Only duffels and soft backpacks - easier to cram into the back. We also planned on laundry at least every six days.
I wasn't able to go on the trips due to money issues, but my friends have done some pretty epic car rides for coasters [I don't know exact mileage].
Ottawa to Orlando in 26 hours (about 1430 miles). However, we were a group of 4, so we switched off drivers ever 6 hours or so.
Moving to Raleigh from the Seattle area took us 5 days towing a camping trailer and carrying 4 crates filled with cats and me just off chemo. I know that my daughter is made of sterner stuff than me! We made it to our house closing with just minutes to spare with the trailer still attached and the car still packed! Never again will I do a trip like that! Being sick didn't help. It was no fun just driving down freeways for hours. We would have made the haul in 4 days, which was planned, but when we stopped in Denver for the night, and I tried to get out of bed the next morning, I literally couldn't sit up or walk I was so exhausted so we had to stay another day. That's why we just made to closing. Won't try something like that again. I'd rather fly with hassel than drive wasting all those hours sitting in a car.
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