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  1. Default Should we FLY or DRIVE from Seattle-Lake Tahoe

    I am so happy to run across this great forum. I need some advice. We are in Seattle and are planning a trip to Lake Tahoe in mid-August for 3 nights and 4 days. We want to rent a rental car to check drive around and also perhap go to Reno at nights for some casino and sight seeing. We check out Alaska Air and it will cost both of us about $500/roundtrip. The car rental is about another $300/for 4 days. My questions are:

    1. Do we really need to rent a car in Lake Tahoe (Southend area)?

    2. Should we drive or fly? I figure the miles from Seattle to Lake Tahoe is about 650 mile/each way which make it about 1300 miles total and the gas will be around $275 for the trip. So basically, we will saving $500/airfare for other things. I know we will adding 6 hrs+ each way (driving) compare if we were to fly (only 2 hours).

    3. If driving which route would be the shortest to take because we want to spend more time relaxing than sitting in cars.

    Thanks very much for all your response.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-24-2008 at 03:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default looks like a jet

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It might seem like odd advice from a roadtrip forum, but I don't think its a particularly close call: this is a flight only kind of trip, and its really not a close call.

    You really couldn't cover the distance in the time you have in a car, and if you did, you wouldn't have much -if any- time left over to enjoy yourself.

    The shortest distance I can find between Seattle and Lake Tahoe is 850 miles, not about 650, and quite frankly even if it was 650 miles you'd need to average more than 80 mph to cover the distance in 8 hours. Realistically, you'd be looking at a solid 15 hours on the road to cover the distance. With only 4 days total for this trip, that's a workman-like sprint, not a vacation.

    Enjoy your flight.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Awwwhhh, lovely Tahoe!

    You should have a lot of fun there. Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums.

    1. Do we really need to rent a car in Lake Tahoe (Southend area)?
    I would say a definite yes. Unless, of course, you only want to be in the casinos. Cruising the lake is a gorgeous drive. A definite must-do! A side-trip to Reno, Carson City, and Virginia City...especially Virginia City, imho...would make a car worth it.

    2. Should we drive or fly? I figure the miles from Seattle to Lake Tahoe is about 650 mile/each way which make it about 1300 miles total and the gas will be around $275 for the trip. So basically, we will saving $500/airfare for other things. I know we will adding 6 hrs+ each way (driving) compare if we were to fly (only 2 hours).
    As for me, I'd drive it. I've done it several times from the Olympic Peninsula. It's about 12 hours one way. It will be about the same from Seattle. I think the drive is gorgeous. Especially between I-5 and Susanville through the Mt. Shasta area. Remember, you have to figure far more than 2 hours for the flight. Parking at the airport, checking in 2 hours ahead of time, going through inspection to the departure gates, boarding, etc. And more time to get out of the airport, get your car rental, etc. I would say that you're looking at closer to 6 hours for the boarding/flight/debarking routine. So, yeah, the drive itself would be another 6 hours.

    I should clarify that the drive is a minimum of 12 hours. We have done it that fast when we have only stopped for fuel, fastfood, or eaten out of our cooler, and only doing very brief stops, like 5 minute photo opps. In other words, you would have to push to make it in that time. 15-16 hours is a more reasonable expectation if you want to be able to drive more leisurely, stop for a meal in a restaurant, etc.

    For me it would be worth it. It might be worth it to you if you enjoy the driving. If not, it might be worth it for you to fly. I can't answer that question for you. The money-savings would also make it worth it for me as you will be saving the airline tickets AND the car rental fees. If your budget isn't as tight as mine, that might be a moot point.

    3. If driving which route would be the shortest to take because we want to spend more time relaxing than sitting in cars.
    I almost think your statement here means that flying might be better for you. You see, most of us here think the roadtrip itself is just as fun, if not more fun, than the destination. In fact, to me the drive IS relaxing. Flying, packing for flying (I hate to check in bags so carry-on takes more planning), the uncomfortable/crowded seats, etc. on a plane are only worth it to me if I'm going a lot farther than Reno.

    However, if you decide to drive, this would be your quickest route.

    If you've never done a roadtrip and found it fun, I encourage you to give it a go with an open mind. However, I'm that you're going to enjoy the drive on this particular trip. Especially since you have such a short time for the entire trip. If you could add a day or two, I think you might actually enjoy the driving more.

    Hope this makes sense and that I haven't just confused you further. Keep asking questions and let us help you plan a great trip!

  4. Default Things to Do

    Michael and Judy, thks for your reply. I will discuss this with my wife tonight. If like what you both mentioned that it takes min 12hrs, then I think we will be flying otherwise only my wife will enjoy Lake Tahoe and I will be snoozing to get ready for the drive back :) cause I will be the driver. I thought 6-8 hrs each way would be okay but 12 is a bit too much for me. Plus like Judy mentioned if we have more days, then perhap I can relax here and there to drive.

    On another note, would you have any recommendation for things to do in Lake Tahoe or Reno,Virginia City??? We will be staying at Harvey's and have planned to do the lake cruising and the Heavenly Lift.

    Thanks again for taking the time to response.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-24-2008 at 03:38 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Yeah, do the drive another time

    Our last trip down to Reno, we left on a Tuesday and came back on Sunday. So we had 4 days there. And we love the drive so we don't find it all that tiring....and never boring. So it worked for us. We also both drive so it does make it nice to trade off being drive and navigator. :)

    I only spent one day in Tahoe. The drive around the lake and hiking on some short trails was great. It was a beautiful day. So I don't have anything more to suggest there.

    Virginia City...well, the whole town is worth seeing. Several small museums and interesting shops, bars, etc. We probably spent the most time in the historical museum but we also really enjoyed the Suicide Table (don't worry, you'll see LOTS of signs for this), the collection of slot machines from earlier, more artistic and unique, eras; and the prostitute museum and oddities. Fun place.

    Reno. I'm NOT a gambler. But it was still fun to walk around and see the designs of the different casinos. Obviously, they're not as outrageous as those in Las Vegas, but they're still interesting. I spent one very long day (virtually from opening to closing) at Harrah's Car Museum. I love cars. Especially the unique type cars in this collection. I did two tours because it was a different tour guide the second time and they shared quite different anecdotes for the different cars. I found it fascinating. And then I went back through again at my own pace to read the placques, take photos, etc. Loved it.

    Enjoy and I hope you find time for a roadtrip in the near future so we can help you plan one. Gosh, there are some amazing loop drives that you can start from Seattle that only take the weekend. Olympic Peninsula, North Cascades Highway, Mt. St. Helens/White Pass, to name a few.

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