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  1. Default spring break travelling from Cincinnati, OH to Destin, North FL.

    We are travelling the above route to stay for 1 week in FL for spring break. Map software say it's a 11 - 12 hour journey. Is this possible in one journey with 2 drivers plus a 3 and 6 year old in the back? I'm thinking maybe leaving Friday night might be good to split the journey. We've just moved here from the UK and have never done these kinds of distances before so advice would be great. Also any recommendations for stop offs would be great, thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Taking it easy with children.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    You need to understand that computer software travel times are pure fantasy. They assume that you will never ever need to stop, never see congestion or any of the myriad of events which happen on a roadtrip. Assume it will take you closer to 14 or 15 hours.

    Leaving in the late afternoon and getting two or three hours down the road would possibly work well. Then make your way to Destin the following day.

    But hey! if you have only just moved into the US you are not allowing yourself any time to check out any points of interest you may see along the way. That would be a shame. Get hold of some good maps or a road atlas, and check out what there is along the way which might interest you as much as the attractions at your destination. Software will not have most of the information which you will find on a map. Would it matter greatly to have one less day at the beach to learn more about the country through which you will be travelling?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default First and Foremost

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Simply ignore any time estimate you get from mapping software. Those routines make outlandish assumption about what you can accomplish, including that you will be behind the wheel for every second of those 11-12 hours, never needing to stop for gas, never needing to stop for food, and never needing to even stop for a WC. They also assume that you will travel at or above the posted speed limit for every one of those minutes, never getting behind a slow truck or RV in the passing lane, never seeing any traffic of any kind or construction or even a stop sign or traffic light. Trips of this length should be measured in days, not hours. Even for someone who is used to such long drives 550-600 miles is the limit of what you should try to do in a day. Note that professional long-haul drivers are prohibited by law from going more than 600 miles in any 24 hour period. Having a young child along for the ride also means that you will need to stop more frequently and longer at each stop than if it were just the two adults. With all that being said, you should plan at a minimum to take a day and a half to get from Cincinnati to Destin. Closer to two days would be even better.

    So, if you can get on the road well before rush hour on your first day, then you should be able to get far enough down the road that evening to leave you just a single day's drive on Day 2 and still be able to get comfortably situated in a motel in time for your youngster's bedtime (or a little bit later). Roughly speaking, you need to put in five solid hours of driving on the first day for this to work. That means getting out of town by 3:00 PM in order to get off the road by 8:00-9:00. Ideally, you should try to get to the south side of Nashville TN so that you can leave the next morning without having to drive through that city at rush hour. I realize that this would be on Saturday, but it's still a good habit to get into to drive to the far side of any city you stop in so that you're already headed out of town the next morning.

    Now, I wouldn't make any stops on that first evening's drive. Everyone will be a little excited to be on the road and you can probably keep the children entertained with simple road games. But on the second day, you should have time for a few short rest stops at local parks near the highway so the kids can get out of the car for some fresh air and exercise and the adult drivers can shake off the cobwebs and stretch their own legs.

    If you can't get out of Cincinnati until after rush hour on Friday, then you'd be far better off just waiting until the next morning and taking it easy, planning on arrive in Destin no sooner than Sunday afternoon.


  4. Default

    Thank you both for your good advice.

  5. Default

    On our many childhood vacations from Michigan to Florida, we would stop for the night near Chattanooga Tennesee. The next morning we would ride up the incline and then take a bus to Rock City. We always looked forward to this.

    There are lots of other attractions in the area. You could even hit some on the way home.

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