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  1. Default CA- VA in 4 days dec 20-24??? Is it possible or advisable?

    We are a military family, moving from sunny CA to the east coast.... and we are trying to get there for xmas.
    no, we can't leave earlier (tho it would be nice)
    A very complicated yet simple question- is it possible at this time of year to make it from CA to the VA in 4 days? (while keeping a relative amount of sanity and safety?)
    Any advice is appreciated!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    In one word: NO. It is basically a 5-6 day drive. Depending on where in CA and where in VA (I took San Diego to Norfolk, which is one of the most common military moves), you're looking at about a 2800 mile move. Trying to do 700 miles a day for 4 days in a row is a killer, even with 2 drivers. Having kids in the car (you said "family") makes it worse. That much mileage means at least 14 hours in the car -- and at 10 hours, your body is "done", and you are probably driving not-so-safely at that point. There are reasons that the military will give you 6 days travel time on this route, for per diem purposes, and safety is the biggest reason!

    Have your family wait to celebrate Christmas with you when you arrive. Santa Claus understands that families have to be safe and he is magic -- he will come when you're ready. :-)


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default effectively, no

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You didn't say where exactly you are starting/ending - CA and VA are big states - but essentially no, you really can't make this trip safely in 4 days at any time of year.

    We recommend you limit yourself to 550-600 miles per day - which works out to about 10-12 hours a day on the road in real world conditions, factoring in basic quick stops for fuel, food, traffic, etc. That's the limit of what professional drivers are allowed because of safety laws, and the limit of what really can safely be driven on a multiple day basis - even if you have multiple drivers.

    From southern CA to far western VA, you'd be right at the upper edge of what could be done in 4 days, in good conditions, but for really anywhere else, you're looking at at least 2500 miles, and thus at least 5 days to safely complete this trip, even 6 days if you're starting from Northern California and going all the way to the Virginia Coast.

    Of course, that doesn't factor in your specific travel dates, of being right before Christmas. It's impossible to say what the weather will be a few weeks from now, but there certainly is the chance that you'll see at least some winter weather that will force you slow down, or even stop and wait for conditions to improve. I'd also say the holidays will increase your chances of seeing slowdowns due to extra traffic. Because of those factors, it would be wise to keep things flexible and be prepared to take an extra day or two more, if needed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default If You Can't Make the Move by Christmas.....

    ...then move Christmas!

    I've been in your shoes. I used to live quite far from my extended family and worked a job that needed to be staffed 24/7/365. My/our solution was to simply delay the celebration by a day or two. For the small children who were stuck waiting for me there would be a small celebration in their own homes where they got to open their presents from Santa, but the main family gathering would be on what the British call Boxing Day (the day after Christmas).

    In your case there are a couple of possibilities. If you are heading for family at your new base, then a delay of the communal celebration might be possible. If not, or if your children are so small that they'll be concerned that Santa will overlook them while they're on the road, try to find a nice B&B or 'vacation rental' that will allow you to take it easy on the evening of the 24th and all day on the 25th, and celebrate amongst yourselves.

    But as everyone else has pointed out, trying to make it all the way to Virginia in only four days could very easily result in a Christmas you'll always remember - for all the wrong reasons.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    If you actually have a full 5 days leaving early on the 20th and arrive late on the 24th (20th to 24th you say ?) then as mentioned, it may be possible depending on start and finish points and the weather being kind. The problem is the daylight hours will be shorter and the journey would be quite exhausting even at it's best, so for sanity and safety you may as well plan on taking a little more time, enjoy the journey and find somewhere nice to stop over christmas eve.

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