Chicago to San Diego
I'm gonna be driving from Chicago to San Diego on April 15th.
I was thinking of going south to Nashville then heading west on I-40 to San Diego.
Any suggestions on better routes. The car is a big rear wheel drive american V8 so the less snow and ice the better.
Any ideas on where to sleep cheap along the way?(not opposed to sleeping in campgrounds. Just got AAA, how much of a discount should I expect when pulling into a motel?
I'm gonna try to make it in as little time as possible without going insanely fast (like to cruise around 75mph) about how long should I realistically expect the trip to take?
Don't know about AAA but others will. I-40 route is fine. You won't normally find any snow or ice this time of year on that route. Figure roughly 3 days if you are a person who likes to drive and minimizes the stopping. Look for Mom and Pop motels in small towns for inexpensive rates, but always ask to see the room first as quality and cleanliness can vary. There are also good rates to be found at the inexpensive chain motels (like Red Roof and Motel 6), but those places tend to be noisier. You can check for discount coupons at the Welcome Centers located inside each state's borders -- they might also be able to tell you about campgrounds if they're staffed by live people (they often are). Have a great trip!
Flying Low - Cheap
Well, the typical AAA discount is 10% which can add up quickly and pay for the cost of membership in one good road trip.
I disagree with Moderator Bob a bit on the travel time. ChiTown to SD via Nashville is about 2500 miles, so even if you do 75 every minute you're in the car, you've got to put in 11+ hours behind the wheel each of the three days. 4 days might be more comfortable. But you know your own stamina and tolerance better than anyone else.
However many miles or hours a day you feel are comfortable for you, I have found it is better, when I'm just out to cover ground on a trip, to plan ahead and book my motels before I start out. Others like to go 'til they're ready to drop, but then you have to find and negotiate a rate for a motel room when you're really not at your best and have to take what's available. If you book ahead, you know you've got a room waiting and you've already negotiated your rate. Again, this is a judgement call you'll have to make, but whatever plan you prefer, do be ready to walk away from a room that is not up to your standards. There is always something else not too far down the road.
Moderator Bob is absolutely right about the lowest cost chain motels being noisier than most. Particularly avoid any such motels that are near military bases. Their major role in life seems to be as the party house for the local enlisted personel and even if there isn't a party on the night of your stay, the rooms tend to be much more beat up than normal.
Commercial campgrounds won't save you that much money over a cheap motel and you tend to pay for the savings in the time used getting to them, getting set up, poor or lost sleep, breaking camp, etc. State parks have some of the best and cheapest camping around, but they also tend to be much farther from the Interstates. If you're goal is to make the trip in as little time as possible, go the 'roadside motel' route.
And, as with all messages on this forum, these are suggestions gleaned from experience, your experience WILL be different. If it weren't, there'd be no point to road trips, would there?
Last edited by AZBuck; 04-09-2005 at 12:34 PM.
BTW - Nashville?
By the way, Nashville is not on the most direct route to San Diego. Unless you have a specific reason for including it in your itinerary (in which case you REALLY need to budget more than 3 days) you'd be better off taking a route that more closely follows the old US-66:
Chicago to St. Louis: I-55
St. Louis to Oklahoma City: I-44
Pick up I-40 in OKC and stay on it until you drop down to I-8 in Arizona for the final stretch into San Diego.
This saves you about 350 miles, maybe $35 or so in gas, and makes a 3 day transit at least feasible.
The only reason I chose to go through nashville was because I-40 ran through it. Any quicker route is appreciated, so thanks for the suggestion.
I really need to avoid snow as the car would be near undriveable in the snow.
By "camping" I really just mean parking in a spot in a state park (or equivalent) and sleeping in the car.
Thanks and keep the suggestions coming.
What is your planned route -- south?
But, you are starting in Chicago, right? Nashville is a long ways east of Chicago.
Originally Posted by lowflyingbird
If you go by the most direct route (using I-40) you won't join that highway until Oklahoma City in Oklahoma -- which is hundreds of miles to the west of Nashville.
I'd second this suggestion. I've been this way a few times going from the far north Chicago suburbs to central AZ, and never had any complaints about the route. Also, if you go towards Nashville to get on I-40, you will have to drive through Arkansas on I-40... I was just through there a couple weeks ago and I thought the road was pretty rough. Not like it's going to tear up your car, but it was a lot more noisy and bumpy than I expected. It has been a while since I've been on I-44, but I don't remember it ever being rough.
Originally Posted by AZBuck
If I remember right, I-44 is a turnpike though(Will Rogers Turnpike?) when going through OK, so be ready to pay a few bucks for that, and do NOT speed. I distinctly remember Camaro police cars hiding in the breaks of the concrete median, and they are short enough that you can't see them until it's way too late.
Good luck with your trip, drive safe!
Make a list of towns/stopping points for your trip, and then contact your local AAA office.
Did this once for a 12-day five-state trip, and the AAA folks booked us into cheap but clean motels at each point (held for late check-in), and then printed up a spiral-bound book which showed us each leg with maps and exit information and hotel confirmations - and it's free if you're a member. Another sweet thing (although not technically correct) was that they booked us at the AAA rates, but sometimes at check-in sleepy clerks would take the ten percent off again... we were too tired *ahem* to notice... And ask them for hotels with breakfast too, this can help you save a little.
The benefit of following the earlier advice about booking ahead is that, especially since you plan to stay on major interstates, often the cheap motels advertized along the side of the road ('Best Western Next Exit') fill up fast late in the evening when the truck drivers give up for the night.
I saw that on AAA's website, but its probably not gonna work for me. I'm just gonna drive until I get tired then check into a motel. Trying to make this trip in as little time as possible.
Originally Posted by BoredTXGirl