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  1. Default Driving Northern NJ to Austin Texas...good places to stop overnight?

    Hello all-My family is making the move from New Jersey to Austin Texas. We will be leaving on January 11th. Good bye Polar Vortex!!! While a moving company will be doing the hard work, my husband and I will be driving our two vehicles, our four year old son and our two dachshunds. (My sister will be along for the ride as well to help with driving) We have driven from New Jersey to Florida and back three different times. My little guy handled those drives pretty well. We have driven with the dogs from NJ to Virginia and back several times as well.

    Has anyone made this drive before? Itís a longer drive than NJ to FL. Iíd love to know where others have stopped for the night. How long on average do people take to make this drive? My sister is desperate to stop in Nashville. And it seems we do drive through Nashville on the route but itís an awfully long way to go for our first stop.

    My little son is pretty good. We donít have to stop all that often really. Iíd just like to know where a good place to stop might be.

    Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated. We are so excited for this new adventure. Ready for warmer weather...and lower taxes...and no state income tax. 😬 thanks everyone!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,355

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    At about 1700 mile via the shortest route, this is at least a 3-day drive, 4 if you want to stop and look around in Nashville. We recommend 500 miles per day, especially when traveling at this time of the year when daylight hours are shorter. Dogs and kids love to get out and stretch, too. As always at this time of year, allow extra time in case you have to detour around a severe weather pattern that shows up.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,879

    Default Take the Time to Do It Right

    As Donna said, this is really a four day minimum drive, what with a child, two dogs, and driving in tandem. Make that five days if you really want to explore Nashville in any depth, and six days to leave a little wiggle room should you encounter weather that's not fit for driving. As you can see, you won't know when you start out how long it will take you for the full trip, so you won't know where to plan on stopping each night. So rather than setting firm goals for distance each day, you should instead set aspirational goals, i.e. if everything goes right, I should be at such-and-such at the end of the day. But be ready to alter them at a moment's notice. Traveling in mid-January is not a popular 'sport' so there really isn't much chance of encountering fully booked lodging along the way.

    So... I'd aim on splitting both main legs, NJ-Nashville and Nashville-Austin into two segments and have an idea of where roughly halfway is, say Staunton VA and Arkadelphia AR. Those aren't major cities, but they're right on the Interstates and are big enough to have multiple lodging options. And again, they're just targets. If you hit bad weather, get off the road early, before everybody else does. Both your son and your dogs will need the chance to get out and run around a bit along the way. Fortunately there are lots of opportunities.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Welcome to RTA!

    At about 1700 mile via the shortest route, this is at least a 3-day drive, 4 if you want to stop and look around in Nashville. We recommend 500 miles per day, especially when traveling at this time of the year when daylight hours are shorter. Dogs and kids love to get out and stretch, too. As always at this time of year, allow extra time in case you have to detour around a severe weather pattern that shows up.


    Donna
    Thank you SO much for your advice! This helps immensely. I just could not quite figure out how long this was going to take. It gives me a much better sense of how long and where to stop!! THANK YOU!!

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    As Donna said, this is really a four day minimum drive, what with a child, two dogs, and driving in tandem. Make that five days if you really want to explore Nashville in any depth, and six days to leave a little wiggle room should you encounter weather that's not fit for driving. As you can see, you won't know when you start out how long it will take you for the full trip, so you won't know where to plan on stopping each night. So rather than setting firm goals for distance each day, you should instead set aspirational goals, i.e. if everything goes right, I should be at such-and-such at the end of the day. But be ready to alter them at a moment's notice. Traveling in mid-January is not a popular 'sport' so there really isn't much chance of encountering fully booked lodging along the way.

    So... I'd aim on splitting both main legs, NJ-Nashville and Nashville-Austin into two segments and have an idea of where roughly halfway is, say Staunton VA and Arkadelphia AR. Those aren't major cities, but they're right on the Interstates and are big enough to have multiple lodging options. And again, they're just targets. If you hit bad weather, get off the road early, before everybody else does. Both your son and your dogs will need the chance to get out and run around a bit along the way. Fortunately there are lots of opportunities.

    AZBuck
    I canít adequately express how incredibly helpful this advice is to me!!! I feel much better oriented even with just a couple of suggestions of where to stop. Once I could see how to break it up I feel much better prepared to tackle this drive. This move is a big change on so many levels and weíd like to enjoy our trip into the future as opposed to being stressed out and feeling lost. This is exactly the kind of information I was hoping to find. Thank you. Really. So so much!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,355

    Default

    Have a phone app such as Expedia or TripAdvisor, which would allow you to book a hotel on the fly. Pull over into a rest area, do a search when you think you will make a specific destination that day, and book. Both Staunton and Arkadelphia, suggested early, have a lot of accommodations in every budget level. So does Nashville. You should get better rates booking ahead than pulling up to a place, and you'll be able to find which ones are pet-friendly for two dogs, too.


    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,842

    Default

    You should get better rates booking ahead than pulling up to a place
    Unless you have rest area coupons.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,620

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Unless you have rest area coupons.
    The Rest Area coupon books were my primary method of discount hotel bookings throughout the 90s and 00s, but I couldn't tell you the last time I actually used one.

    For most of the past decade, I've found the coupons rarely come out with better prices than you can find searching on line, especially when you factor in the restrictions of most coupons (typically extra charges on weekends and for more than 2 people) and the possibility of motel alternatives like AirBnB.

    Speaking of searching for motels, don't forget, you can search for lodging right from RTA.

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