Miami, FL to L.A, California???
Hi, I'm debating on whether to make this trip. I will be
traveling with my 2 children and spouse. My youger child
has special needs (not physical) and I'm concerned with
the length of the trip and safety. Has anyone here made a
trip from these two points or nearby? I was planning for
end of January and returning end of March. We are going
to be in LA for 2 months and thought it would be a good
idea to save on car rental and airfare, but not sure if
the savings would be worth any risk of being on the road
that long. Any suggestions or comments would be greatly
How long for the driving portion?
That distance can be easily covered in five days one-way. Three if you really push it. I have driven that route about ten times in recent years. So, not really sure what about the trip constitutes the "...risk of being on the road..."
If time pressures aren't an issue, a road trip can be very relaxing and an "eye-opening" experience. There are so many cool and wonderful places to stop and check out along that route.
If you provide some idea of how long you can take to travel the distance -- a number of experienced roadtrippers will probably offer a wealth of suggestions for possible routes.
Thank you for your response. I was hoping to make the trip in no longer than 3-4 days. I've never been on a road trip for more than 8 hours so I guess I don't know what to expect when traveling for that length of time.
I would love some suggestions on routes and any other valuable and useful information.
The best way to do this trip in the shortest amount of time is to go north the quickest way possible and pick up I-10, and stay on that all the way to LA.
The total distance is a bit over 2700 miles (40 hours of driving at normal highway speeds). You can do that in 4 days if you do nothing else but drive -- that's figuring being on the road at 8:00 AM and driving until at least 7:00 PM (this is hard to do with kids). No meals, no nothing (except before 8:00 AM and after 7:00 PM). I'd suggest taking an extra day or two, at least, and slowing down a little so you can enjoy the trip. The key for your kids is to pack some road games/activities to keep them occupied, to combat the road boredom they'll catch very quickly. Just run a search on THIS website ("kids") and you'll come up with lots of good stuff.
You'll find plenty of roadside services on the interstate highway, so no worries there. Make sure you get your car checked out before you go -- a breakdown on the road is usually something simple like a belt, hose, water pump, etc -- and usually something that can be detected by a good mechanic before you go. Not ALWAYS, but usually. This is assuming you have a vehicle in sound condition to start with.
Make sure you have a good spare with air in it, a jack and lug wrench. Take a couple gallons of drinking water. A first aid kit, with over the counter meds for stomach aches and diarrhea. Aspirin for YOU. Etc. If you need to do this on a budget, check out tips for doing that on this site also. A cell phone is indispensable; make sure you have a cell phone charging cord for the car, and a spare battery if possible.
This time of year, you'll have no problem finding accommodations at the end of each day. You won't need reservations; just drive and when you come to the end of your day (or just before), look for a room. In the west particularly, if it is 5:00 PM and the next decent-sized town is 200 miles down the road, you may want to stop where you're at (or not). Generally, for a 4-day trip, your night-stops would fall near Mobile AL, San Antonio TX, and Tucson AZ.
Then, after you've done all the prep work -- enjoy the drive. A roadtrip is usually an unforgettable adventure! If you approach it that way, your kids probably will too. I know I caught the fever from MY parents.
I drove from Los Angeles to Miami (and back) last September by myself. I didn't have any problems at all. I went straight through and didn't sight-see much on my way. I went on the I10 - it was very easy driving, no traffic at all, and easy directions. I didn't even use my map - just followed the signs.
I never felt too alone because there were always cars or trucks within viewing distance from me. There were plenty of places to stop. If I remember right, it cost me about $500 with gas, lodging and food. I stayed at Fairfield Inn a couple times and Holiday Express a couple times. It took 5 days (probably could have taken less time but I didn't push the driving too much. With two of you, you could make the trip in much shorter time.) I usually drove in the morning and afternoon. I safely drove 80mph most of the time, so I made good time.
The only part of the trip I didn't like was in some parts of Texas, there were long stretches of land without anything around. So make sure you get gas often in Texas just in case you run into long stretches. Also, I hit a rain storm in LA and there were a few overturned big rigs, which was scary. So I just stopped early that day and waited to continue driving the next day.
I was so afraid to go on this trip before I went. And then afterwards, I couldn't believe how easy it was. I think the reason it went well for me was because I had a RELIABLE CAR. I think that's the most important thing. If your car is okay, then it's a breeze.
I think driving with 2 kids and a spouse might be a little tougher than how I did it. For me, I could blast my music and have a great time singing! But with kids, it might be tough. But the only thing I can say is that logistically, it's not a hard trip. I was surprised how easy it was for me. It was great having my car in Florida with me!