Minneapolis to south Texas
My girlfriend and I have been planning to go to the McAllen/South Padre Island area of Texas for spring break and to see her grandmother who spends winters there. We would definitely prefer to drive, but we only have 2 weekends and a week in between. We are going from Minneapolis to McAllen, which is about 1500 miles, so we figure that would require at least 20-22 hours (not including stops) of 70-75 mph driving. Is it ridiculous to assume that we could do that in about a day and a half? I know when you get really excited for something like this that you tend to overlook how badly that much time in a car might suck. I have driven to Florida twice with my parents, and I remember those times as some of the best of my childhood. I have always preferred traveling by car to flying and would love to see something new with my girlfriend. We have estimated that the cost of gas (depending on whose car we take) would be anywhere from $200-300 for gas and probably an overnight in a hotel on the way there and the way back for a total of about $300-400. On the other hand, we could fly directly from Minneapolis to the Harlingen, TX airport non-stop in 3 hours each way for about $275/person/round trip. My dad has offered to pay for the plane tickets for "piece of mind", but I am afraid that once we get there we will have nothing to drive and I hate having to borrow someone's car all the time. I really think that I would prefer to drive, though it would put a lot of strain on the car driving that far in that short amount of time. As you can probably tell, I am stuck here on whether to fly or drive. Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much!
You could fly and then rent a car. Many times there are flight packages that include free rental.
Two long days each way
I would guess you can do this drive in two 12 hour days (about 10 hours of driving each). Is your vehicle in good shape? Good brakes and tires? If so, and it is fairly late model, I don't know that you really need to worry about putting any strain on it -- most cars are made to drive!
On the other hand, with an offer of paid air fare , you could easily rent a vehicle in Harlingen for $100 to $150 a week, I'd bet -- with taxes and everything, probably about $200.
My choice is always to drive whenever I can -- but if time is the most important thing, then flying is the answer.
Mpls - S. Texas
We drove Duluth to just north of Houston in September with 5 kids (2-14years old). We've roadtripped a few times with them (and planning a trip to Utah in a few weeks).
What works well for us is to leave about 4:30 or 5:00 am and drive about 12 hours. (That put us at Joplin, MO the first night by 4:30pm.) Then we have a nice dinner out, a dip in the pool and bed. Had continental breakfast and on the road by 8:30am. We were to our destination - Conroe-- by 5:30pm.
(12 hours the first day and 9 the next.)
We bring sandwich fixings and snacks and only stop for 10-15 minutes every 2 hours or so at a rest stop for the bathroom.
On the way home we stopped at Eisenhower's birthplace in Northern Texas (Denton, I believe). It was a nice stop for an hour.
Freetrip told us it was a 20 1/2 hour trip, which was pretty accurate. Depending where you're leaving from in the cities, you would tack on time from Houston to South Padre Island (about 5 hours?) but subtract time from Duluth to Mpls. It takes us about 2 1/2 hours to get to the Southern end of the Cities.
Hope this helps some!