LA to Orlando Single Parent of 3
I have been planning a trip for my kids to Disney World. I have been researching different avenues of getting there. My plans are that we will leave L.A. on Dec 16 if driving and arrive Dec 19. Is this doable? Any budget ideas would be helpful also. We will eat out of a cooler and want to stay at a budget hotel/motel at night. We will be in Orlando for 10 nights. On the way back to LA we can slow down and see the country as we will not have to be back to L.A. until the second week of Jan. Any advice for a single parent traveling with kids would be appreciated.
Also, I've read different debates on rest stops and sleeping. I don't plan to sleep in the rest stops but would like to use a propane grill and cook a meal in the early evening if this is safe enough or not?
Better: 5 days
The trip is over 2500 miles -- and 40+ hours of driving. If you do it in 4 days, that's 10-12 hours of driving time alone each day. Can you do it? It'd be a marathon.
I would add another day to the drive and take it easier so you are READY to see the attractions when you arrive. Four pressed, twelve hour days in a car on the interstate, and you won't even LIKE your kids anymore... :) Plus, you'll need to sleep for two days to recover.
Rest areas are fine for picnics -- just be careful about lonely ones. You're not likely to find a lonely rest area along I-10 though. Most of them, you'll be surrounded by other people, and that's what you want.
What Bob says!
I agree with Bob to an extent. If your kids are anything like mine, even 5 days of driving will be too long for kids to be cooped up in a car every day. You may want to spread it out a bit more. I think if I were you, I would take it as it comes. If it takes you 6, 7, or 8 days to make it to Orlando, fine. If you enjoy the journey, that's the main thing. While this might decrease your time in the Orlando area by a few days, if your trip is better because of it, why not?
Why would you want to subject yourself and your kids to that kind of torture? Spread it out, make it more fun, even if you spend a few less days at Disney World. There's no point in getting there early if your whole family is going to be miserable, even less if you get in an accident along the way. 10-12 hours of straight driving is not a whole lot of fun for kids or adults. Can you imagine being strapped to an office chair the whole day? Break it up into 6 or more days and visit a few places along the way, you'll have to take rest stops every couple of hours anyway, might as well make them fun. Then maybe take a different route back and visit different places.
As for budget, It will vary. Eating out of a cooler will save you a lot of money, but go out to eat at a local diner once in a while just to break the monotony. You could probably get by on less than $100 a day for room and meals, maybe less, maybe more. Hard to say exactly without knowing more details.
I just wanted some expert advise from you all. We will probably be going back next summer and will have longer to travel six whole weeks. So I think for the December Trip we will brave the friendly skies. But would still like information about where to stop next summer and what some of the sites are on I-10. As a kid we drove back and forth on the Old Route 66. But don't remember ever doing I-10. Can you give me any pointers as to what a 15 yr old, 11 yr old and 8 yr old would like to do alone this route.
San Antonio is a good stop. The Alamo and the Riverwalk are fun for kids. I enjoyed wandering around the Alamo and other Spanish missions when I was a kid. Take a tour of an old plantation home around Laffayette, LA good place to stretch your legs and learn some history.
Gulf Coast Beach
I've heard the beaches at Panama City are gorgeous -- supposedly among the best anywhere. Worth checking out!
If you're doing I-10 the whole way, and MS Streets & Trips does recommend this as the quickest route, you might want to check out the following:
Tucson, AZ: Old Tucson Studios where you can enjoy mock gunfights and stunt demos. However, this is probably old hat to you since you live in LA.
Tombstone, AZ: Only about 20 miles south of your route and should be fun. Walk in the steps of Wyatt Earp by going to the Birdcage, Boothill, and seeing a re-enactment of the famous shootout at the OK Corrall. Bisbee is
supposed to have lots of neat old west stuff, too.
Just after entering New Mexico, you might want to veer off your route to check out White Sands. A very cool place.
El Paso has a mission and a zoo and some historic trails.
San Antonio, TX, has The Alamo.
Houston has 6 Flags.
Not sure about stuff farther East.
If you have 6 weeks for this trip, maybe you should decide on what sights you want to see in the various states along the way and then plan your route based on hip-hopping to those places as you head east and back west again. YOu should have more than enough time to make some fun sidetrips along the way.