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  1. Default roadtrip software question

    I am planning a trip from Ohio to San Francisco and am using Rand McNally's trip planning software. I am unsure as to what speed I should imput so I can determine how long the trip will take. Can anyone guide me on a sensible driving speed so I can get an idea on time involved with stops for Gas, food ect.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default General Rule of Thumb

    Quote Originally Posted by debbi View Post
    I am planning a trip from Ohio to San Francisco and am using Rand McNally's trip planning software.
    After thousands of miles of roadtrips, we have found that a good number is an average speed of 57 mph west of the Mississippi River and 53 mph on all highways east of the Mississippi river. Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Here's another way to do it...

    Mark's theory works. It's a very good rule of thumb. However, if I'm planning a trip in detail because of the need to stick to an itinerary in order to get where I need to be, I do things a bit different using MS Streets & Trips. I don't know if the Rand McNally software let's you do all this and, warning, it does take awhile but the results have been worth it. Oh, I use 70mph for interstate driving when I do this. Some states have lower limits/some higher so that rate of speed seems to even out.

    Anyway, after figuring out what my must-see things to do are along the way, I plug those into the software. MS S&T allows me to input the length of time I intend to stop there so I'll guesstimate how much time I believe I'll need for each stop. It also allows me to choose a time to start the day and a time to end the day. I typically plug in something like 7am-7pm. I also usually plug in allowing for a 60 minute stop every 4 hours for things like eating/gas/stretch & restroom breaks, etc. This also helps allow for congested traffic due to traffic jams or construction. I then see if my trip can be done in the number of days I have alloted for it, and then tweak from there to make the trip work.

    Once I'm on the road, I'm actually more flexible with what I'm doing and just use the itinerary as a guideline. For example, if I need to make it to Missoula, MT, for the night to keep on schedule, I might end up going past that (thus freeing up time over the next few days to do more than I had anticipated) or I might elect to explore a bit more and not actually getting to Missoula that night. But this way I know how far behind schedule I am and what kind of time/miles I might need to make up over the next day or two to meet my goal destination.

    The must-see things I kinda prioritize in my mind, too. So, if I'm ahead of schedule, I know I can see everything on my list and maybe even stop for a few other unexpected delights I spy along the way. But if I'm getting behind schedule, I can than decide which things I'll either skip up ahead or just decide to spend less time at them than I had originally figured I'd need.

    I hope this all makes sense. It's a more complex way of coming to virtually the same end result. For me, half the fun of the roadtrip is in the planning. But, if this is tedious to you, using Mark's guidelines are the best and easiest way to go.

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