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  1. Default Need advice/tips on drive to Florida with trailer in October

    Hi Everyone,

    My wife and I are moving from Queens, NY to Florida at the end of October. We're planning on driving down, towing a 10 foot trailer behind our SUV.

    I'd appreciate any tips or advice anyone has concerning route, traffic laws and anything else that might make the trip go as smooth as possible.

    Right now we're planning on leaving around 2am on Saturday the 31st. My plan is to get past DC before the traffic kicks in and go until about 1pm and then stop for the night and then finishing up outside of Tampa on Sunday.

    If anyone has anything to offer I'd be mighty grateful.

    Last edited by Outahere; 09-24-2015 at 08:34 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You didn't mention where you're starting from, so, at the very least, you'll have to start by giving us that information.

    I will tell you right off the bat, doing a trip like this during hours you're typically not awake is generally not the best approach. I also have a feeling you're underestimating how much time you actually need for this trip (do not believe the estimates of online mapping programs), and how long you can safely be on the road, but knowing where you're starting from will make that clear.

  3. Default

    I'm leaving from Queens, NY. I do plan on getting a few hours sleep before I leave.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    A few hours of sleep really isn't sufficient to be well rested for a very long trip, that will be extra stressful because you are going to be traveling on the busiest highways on the continent, and also towing a trailer.

    I could see trying to get on the road early enough to avoid NY's rush hour, but unless you work 3rd shift and typically are starting your day around midnight, trying to leave so early is going to quickly leave you fatigued.

    That's especially important to note because you're already pushing the limits of how far you should plan to drive in a day. You're looking at a 1200 mile trip, which really is the top end of what we recommend for a 2 day drive even in a best case, speed run. When you factor in the slower speeds and extra stress of driving while towing, giving yourself 2.5 days would be something I'd strongly consider. If you try to do it in 2 days, be aware, I'd expect you'll need to be on the road for at least 12-13 hours each day.

    Rather than trying to get up before the middle of the night to avoid traffic in DC, I'd suggest you'd be better off avoiding the entire NY-DC corridor. Take I-78 out to Harrisburg, then head south on I-81 to Southern Virginia, and I-77/I-26 through the Carolinas and rejoin I-95. It does add some miles, but it would be easier driving, and I believe it could save you a lot of money in tolls.

  5. #5

    Default For me, the flatter, the better

    I see you're leaving NY on a Saturday morning. While there seems to never be a gentle day in terms of traffic in the DC/Baltimore area, I do expect that arrival from the north in the mid-late morning hours would be tolerable, even with a tow. The point being you can probably afford to snag a couple more hours of shut-eye and still avoid bad traffic woes in the DC area. Once you get past about Fredericksburg, VA, you're essentially home free in terms of urban traffic, but be advised of the fact that the great, great majority of I-95 is 2 lanes each way, and it does get busy in and of itself, even through rural areas in VA, NC, SC, and GA. That said, with your tow, you'll likely be taking it easy in the right lane and thus less concerned with the attempts at high speed travel in the hammer lane.

    I assume towing a 10' trailer behind a SUV, and from your statement that you're moving, this is a household move and the trailer will be heavily loaded. If all of that is correct, I would frankly be very reluctant to exchange the billiard table flatness which is virtually all of I-95's path from the NYC area all the way to Miami for the very roly-poly terrain traversed by I-81 and I-77. I would anticipate considerable frustration with heavy truck traffic and its slow climbs of the many long grades on I-81. Getting in and out of the right lane in order to maintain some semblance of an orderly pace by your own long towed combo may not be much fun. Neither would be the "pass them on the way up, and they blow your doors off on their way down" which can typify traveling amongst lots of tractor-trailers. It is entirely possible that the extra fuel burned in the hills, plus the extra fuel burned in the extra miles, can come close to offsetting the tolls on I-95, which are of course real and considerable.

    All in all, I'd see an early start from Queens (but not as early as 0200), an early stop in the Lumberton, NC area (possibly Florence, SC), and another early start from there as a satisfactory way to cover the approximately 1,150 miles over the flattest possible route and avoiding heavy traffic to the greatest extent practical.


  6. Default

    Thanks Foy for your tips. You really eased my nervousness quite a bit.

    We've downgraded our trailer to 8 foot since we've been able to sell quite a bit of our stuff.

    I'm now planning to leave about 3am, I should be able to get about 6 hours of solid sleep.

    Any tips on where to stop? Our only real requirement is arriving at our destination by about 3pm on Sunday November 1st and getting some real barbecue for dinner.

  7. #7

    Default No specifics as to overnight spots


    I have no experiences in motels and restaurants along I-95 inasmuch as I live in Raleigh so only experience it on the front or back end of a trip. Just looking at the mileage numbers from Queens to Tampa leads me to suggest Lumberton, NC or Florence, SC. You could even consider South of the Border, halfway between the two. Both Lumberton and Florence have the full suite of chain motels geared to serve the NY-FL traveler. South of the Border is fun, in a ridiculously kitschy way.

    Safe travels,


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