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  1. #1
    Di Guest

    Default miles/hours per day

    I have just agreed to help a friend drive from Alabama to California. Since I have never travelled more than 300 miles by car, I was looking for some basic general advice. First I am wondering what would be a realistic number of hours two of us could drive per day or mileage covered per day. We don't have a lot of time to dally, but we don't want to kill ourselves either. Any other key advise for a first time cross country trip is also welcome. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France


    we don't know what are your destination and starting point, but to give you an idea : it's 2023.1 miles from Mobile, Alabama to LA California. Estimated Total Time: 30 hours, 50 minutes (source : If you're not used to driving for many hours, I suggest you shouldn't drive for more than 5-7 hours per day. Usually, you're more in shape at the beginning of the trip, so maybe you should drive more for the first days of the trip and take it easy on the rest. Anyway, you'll have so much to see in the Southwest, that it won't bother you to stop often and go a bit slower. If everything goes well, you should complete your trip within approx. 5 days or so.

    If you feel tired, just stop at a rest area or on the side of the road (be careful though) and do a little stretching session and/or pick-up a Coke, Coffee, Iced Tea (anything with caffeine). If you're really tired don't go further, find a quiet spot (motel room, camping, unofficial campground, RV spot) and have some sleep. Even if you loose a few hours at least you won't kill yourself!

    Always have water in your car (for you and for your car) and a cb and/or cell phone. Bring maps for each state that you'll go through, visitors center and tourist info booths aren't always opened 24/7. If you're an AAA member, they have plenty of free maps, campground directories, triptiks, tourist guides, and it gives you a 10% discount at some motels/campgrounds.

    Have a great trip and drive safely!

  3. #3
    kntheboys Guest

    Default driving time per day......

    It depends highly on you personally how far you can travel per day! It really depends on whether you want to see things along the way or just "get there" as well.

    When we travel, we always push it at least 12-13 hours the first day, then 6-8 hours per day after that.

    We drove to PA 10 years ago with a 2 and 3 1/2 year old (boys) -- 12-13 hours the first day, 8 hours the second.

    We travelled to Baltimore, MD 4 years ago with a 3,5,7,9 year old (all boys) -- 17 hours the first day (stuck sitting still in Chicago for 3 hours!), 8-10 hours the second day.

    Last year drove to CA with FIVE boys - 1 1/2, 6,7,10,and 12. We drove 30 hours the first day (with a 2 hour nap at 2:30 am), 8 hours actually driving time the second day (stopping at Painted Desert and Petrified Forest), and 4 hours the 3rd day.

    We have been amazed at the good behavior of our boys during the first day of travel when they are "fresh". We have never had TV until the CA trip --got it because of the numerous night time hours driving when there is nothing to see and no light to read, etc. by!

    We will be driving to TX in Sept. Boys are now 2 1/2, 7,9,12,13. Planning to drive 12 hours the first day, 9 the second....

    We usually stop about every 2 hours or so to chase everyone around the rest area or gas station for 10-15 minutes and are sure to book a hotel with a pool at the end of the day.

    So... figure out what YOU can handle and whether you like to read in the car, do crosswords, listen to books on tape, read aloud to the driver,etc., etc. PLANNING makes all the difference!

    Have fun! :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A word of caution about mapping programs

    Nearly all of the mapping programs out there (Mappoint is a good one) use a basic arithmetic formula for elapsed time based on the speed limit with some deductions for known construction zones. No matter what your personal driving experience is and no matter what these programs will tell you, I defy anyone to be able to drive faster than an average of 53 mph on any USA roadway over the course of 8-10 hours of travel per day.

    Fuel stops, food stops, construction and congestion will lower the reasonable speed you can do in a day's travel. In most states it would be necessary to maintain better than 80 mph for most of a driving day to achieve an average speed of 65 mph over the course of the day.

    So, in the example cited by Gen (below) the Mappoint estimate is off by at least 8 hours, although her estimate of five driving days is very reasonable.

    I have done four coast-to-coast non-stop drives. With a co-driver, we stopped only for fuel, switched drivers every three hours, probably exceeded the speed limits a few times and even at that pace we didn't average much more than 60 mph.


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