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  1. Default Long Island, NY to Phoenix, AZ

    Hello all, long-time lurker (going on 3 years now!) looking for some advice. Moving from Long Island, NY to Phoenix, AZ in 4 weeks. Wife and three kids with me, driving our car. Moving company is handling the moving truck, so driving should be smooth. With the kids though, we'll have to stop for lunch (literally stop for 30-45 minutes and get out of the car for our sanity!) each day. We'll also probably have to stop for 15-20 minutes each afternoon to stretch the legs. Wife and I can alternate driving every 3-4 hours if needs be.

    Getting there quickly is not an issue, but I also don't want to drag it out with the kids. We won't be doing any site-seeing stops.

    Here is my tentative route, I'd appreciate your comments and suggestions:

    Day 1: Long Island to Roanoke, VA (522 miles) via 495/78/81, which will avoid Philly, DC/Baltimore and I-95

    Day 2: Roanoke, VA to Memphis, TN (653 miles) via I-40

    Day 3: Memphis, TN to Oklahoma City, OK (465 miles) via I-40

    Day 4: OK City to Albuquerque, NM (548 miles) via I-40

    Day 5: to Phoenix (499 miles) via I-40 to I-17

    I'm trying to stick to larger cities for overnight stops as we'll be staying in hotels with the kids, and I'd like to get the best rates possible (may be using We've done Phoenix to Salt Lake City in a day before, which is roughly 700 miles, so I'm not too worried about day 2, although I realize this is a multi-day trip.

    I would like to drive 50-100 miles more on day 3, but don't know if there are any semi-large cities to stop in after OK city. Amarillo is too far for that day.

    Any thoughts?
    Last edited by ItsGavinC; 05-28-2009 at 07:00 PM.

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

    Default dragging it out

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It seems like you've got yourself a little contradiction. You don't want to drag this out with the kids, yet you don't want to make any stops.

    I can assure you that the trip will seem a whole lot shorter if you are taking some time to enjoy things, rather than just trying to pile up miles after miles, especially with kids. Taking more time where they have something to enjoy isn't going to drag nearly as much as having 3 kids couped up in a car for 5 days with nothing but views out the window to show for it.

    Since you've said time isn't a big issue, why not take a couple extra days and see some things you won't easily be able to see again - after all when are you going to get to drive cross country easily again? But even if you don't really take more time and just treat the stops that you know you'll have to make for lunch as a chance to have fun rather than a required chore to appease the family, I think you'll all end up having a much more enjoyable and memorable trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I would also recommend you stay in hotels in smaller cities and towns, the rates will generally be cheaper and you won't have rush hours to deal with getting in and out. For example, there will be plenty of reasonably priced hotels right off the Interstate between OKC and Amarillo. I don't even see the need to prebook - when you get tired, start looking. I've never had to pay more than $75 on a dropin.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the suggestions. We may try to stretch it out a bit. As it stands now, we'll probably drive for 3-4 hours on the first day, which will help us with the stretch from Roanoke to Memphis.

    We're excited!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A three-year Lurker? Welcome!

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsGavinC View Post
    Hello all, long-time lurker (going on 3 years now!) looking for some ]advice.
    Just had to jump in here -- glad you make the leap to becoming a "visible" member. Here are some more tips about family road trips -- all tested and I think that if you adopt the "road trip go kit" for each of your kids, you'll have more fun!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Kids and short breaks

    These just don't mix well.

    I don't know the ages of your kids but making some lengthier stops at places that are interesting to them and will let them burn some energy will really make the trip much more pleasant for all of you.

    If they're old enough, perhaps they can research a few stops along the way and help choose them. If they're not old enough to do the research, maybe you can give them a few options to choose from.

    In my experience with kids on multi-day trips, it's much better to leave a bit earlier in the morning and stop for the night a bit later if that means that you can have more and longer stops in interesting, fun places during the day that meets their interests and are age-appropriate. If they're young, this might just mean a good park with plenty of play equipment and room to run.

    And I totally agree that you will find much better prices along the interstate than you will in/near cities.

  7. Default Trip update!

    All, thanks for all of the posted suggestions. Our trip will be finished tomorrow, and I wanted to give a brief recap of our experience.

    First, my three children (ages 7, 5, and 1 years old) have been excellent! They've enjoyed talking about what they see out the window, we've shared special "state facts" with them and taken photos of each state sign as we've entered new states. I couldn't have asked for more from them.

    We began on Wednesday, 6/24. We packed our moving truck and then left Long Island, NY at 2pm. Day 1 was a short half-day of driving, but we were exhausted physically and emotionally after packing the truck and saying goodbye to friends, etc.

    Day 1: Long Island, NY to Chambersburg, PA (255 miles)
    Day 2: Chambersburg, PA to Cookeville, TN (501 miles)
    Day 3: Cookeville, TN to Russellville, AR (495 miles)
    Day 4: Russellville, AR to Amarillo, TX (522 miles)
    Day 5: Amarillo, TX to Gallup, NM (423 miles)
    Day 6: Gallup, NM to Phoenix, AZ (329 miles)

    We found that 500 miles was the max we could do in a day (at least with kids). I could have gone for 100 more each day, but the kids really became restless around 450 miles. We stopped each day for over an hour for lunch, and also let the kids play wherever we could find (a mall in Amarillo with an indoor play area was our home for nearly 2 hours one afternoon!).

    It's been a great trip, and the scenery has been gorgeous. I'm glad the timing of this trip worked out to right before July 4th. Our country is beautiful and diverse, and the kids have been through many states that they may never see again.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A well-managed trip!

    Hey thanks for the update and welcome to your new home!

    Great advice about the kids and the travel.

    Thanks again and happy 4th to all of you!


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