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  1. Default 11 hour drive for 5 day trip?

    I'm sure questions like these have been asked hundreds of times, but I must not be good at phrasing my search...

    Would you say an 11 hour drive each way (could be a bit quicker, but I'm trying to be realistic) would be worth it for a 5 day (total) trip?

    Family of 4, kids are 8 & 11. They've been good on other road trips, but we usually plan them for longer amounts of time. This would give us 3 solid days at our destination, with a little time on travel days. This seems like it's right on the border of what feels reasonable. But I drive 8-9 hours to Nashville for a 4 day trip, and never really feel like it wasn't worth it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Phoenix, Arizona

    Default Not all 11 hour drives are created equal

    Hello, and welcome to the RTA Forum!

    A lot depends on where you're getting your numbers. If you're using one of the on-line mapping programs, like Google or Map Quest, and the program is telling you that the drive is 11 hours, I can guarantee that it will take you longer than that under real-world conditions (traffic, weather, stops for fuel, food, and biological necessities). 11 hours can easily stretch to 13 hours or more, and that's a dangerously long day that would be very tough on the kids.

    Tell us where you're going, and where you're starting from, and we can give you a much more accurate assessment of what might work for you.


  3. Default

    It's almost 650 miles and google is telling me 10 hours. I also have a cousin who just made the same drive with her family and did it in 10 hours, but I figure 11 is more realistic.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    650 miles is pushing it for one day.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Bridge Too Far

    650 miles, even on an all-Interstate route is simply too much for a single day's drive that includes two pre-teens. And quite frankly, I think your cousin is 'fudging' her numbers. To do 650 miles in ten hours means she averaged 65 mph, which is the speed limit on some if not many Interstates. So either she's boasting that she spent much of the time speeding or else she's boasting that she kept her family locked in a 6x5x4 foot box for ten hours with no stops for food water or toilet usage, not even a stop to fill the tank. No offense to your cousin, but I simply don't believe her and neither should you.

    What I would suggest is that you make the journey part of the vacation. Make a couple of short stops to let the kids run around and burn energy, give the adults a chance to stretch their legs, and most importantly let the driver take his/her eyes off the road for a bit and avoid highway hypnosis. Then stop maybe 200 or so miles short of your destination. Get a good night's sleep, rise early the next morning, and get to your destination before noon. Then spend a full two plus days there, and leave around dinner time on the day prior to your last day of vacation. Stop for the night after a couple of hundred miles and finish up the next day, again making a couple of short stops.

    Unless you're staying 'free' with friends or relatives at your destination, this won't increase your costs, and it will make the entire experience less pressured and more enjoyable. Yet you'll still feel a bit as though you're spending three days 'there' since you'll have two overnights at the terminus. You can also look at taking two completely different routes out and back to make this more of a RoadTrip adventure than a multi-hour slog trapped in a metal cocoon.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Balancing act.

    I totally agree with Buck, you can have a fun family road trip with 5 days, but with less time at your destination or choosing some place closer to home.

    This would give us 3 solid days at our destination, with a little time on travel days.
    You would have no spare time on travel days trying to cover 650 miles, it would be a slog and likey 12 hours of driving. Add to that time enough to wake, wash and eat breakfast and then check in the other end and eat an evening meal and you're looking at a heck of a long day. Any ground you think you may have gained by doing the trip in a single day will be lost on recovering from fatigue the next morning.

  7. Default

    Thank you for your input. I think my gut was telling me itís too much, but my heart just wanted it to be ok lol.

  8. Default

    I drive to Nashville about once a year and it takes 9 hours. Itís been less if the drive was going well and we didnít stop much at all. And thatís just under 550 miles. So adding an extra 100 miles seems like it should add about 2 hours. But I also know that that 9 hours is usually my limit for a single day drive, even on a larger road trip.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Also...

    You don't say so explicitly, but I get the impression that your nine hour drives to Nashville are solo runs. But with each additional body in the car, every stop you make will take longer as the time needed for that stop will be determined by the slowest among you, and there will be more stops since you'll have to stop any time any one of you has to go to the bathroom in addition to the stops your car requires for fuel. We're glad that you've listened to reason and your own head rather than your heart. Note that 550 miles over nine hours means that you've only averaged about 60 mph despite what I'm sure are significantly higher speed limits.


  10. #10


    It ends up being a question as to when your begin to start feeling "numb." At 400-500 miles, a person has put in a solid day of driving on a non-congested interstate, if there is a lot of interfering truck traffic anything over 400 miles can begin to wear on a person. The 550 mile day trip is about as far an anyone should go. Above that driving numbness begins to set in rapidly. Each additional increment of 50 miles is an exponential decrease in one's alertness, ability to respond to an emergency or non-standard situation. I've done it before and have no wish to put myself or other people in harm's way again.

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