NWMR: travel s/o. Should we DRIVE? — The Bump
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NWMR: travel s/o. Should we DRIVE?

Have you done a long drive with small kids? Success stories abound online, so even though I told DH he was insane last night for suggesting we consider driving, I'm starting to wonder if he's right. Flying with all the gear, plus renting the car, is so expensive and difficult. Maybe driving wouldn't be toooo bad?? We have a minivan with DVD and could try driving through the night while the kids sleep, then taking a break the next day/night and having a shorter second leg of the trip. Hmmmmmm. Is this crazy?
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Re: NWMR: travel s/o. Should we DRIVE?

  • How long of a drive vs. how long flying? 
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  • We've done a long drive -24 hours split up over 2 days. We did it at 6 months and at 18 months. Its totally doable, you just need to have lots of distractions and lots of patience. And plan for it to take longer than you think.
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  • It would be a 21 hour drive (WI to Naples, FL). We'd break it up into 2 days for sure and try to get a lot of driving in while the kids slept. Not sure of the best way to break it up. I.e. better to drive all night (and be exhausted) or break it up into 3 hour blocks with 1 to 2 hr rest/meal stops in between.

    Flight would be only 3 hours, direct, but we'd have to haul strollers, gear, car seats, and rent a car that can handle 3 seats (probably a minivan; maybe some full size). 

    Estimated cost of gas, meals, hotel=$500 vs about $2,000 to fly and rent a car.
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  • I am generally a fan of driving.  We just did a 14 hr drive (1 trip on the way there and a 9 and 5 hr drive over two days the way back) and it was fine.  We made the mistake of leaving super early the first day thinking DS would fall back asleep.  He didn't really and was cranky the rest of the day.  When we do it this summer we are going to break the trip in half and stay in a hotel.

    We had DVDs, books, music, snacks, and toys for DS and some teething toys for DD.  It was a little hard for us because DD is still on an eat every 4 hr schedule, so I think it'll be easier this summer when she is on a "normal" eating schedule.
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  • Does it significantly eat into the amount of your vacation time?  If you only have a week, and over half is in the car, I would fly.

  • I drove 22 hrs with a 6 mo before. I agree driving when the kids are sleeping is best. Take lots of breaks during waking hrs.
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  • How long are you going for? We did a 7hr drive with kids 3yrs and 1.5yrs for a weekend and it was rough. In general I think it sucks to spend more time driving than actually being at your location. So that would be a factor.

    Can you pay for the grandparents to come to you?
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  • I will have left my job (mostly) by the trip, so for once vacation time isn't as much of a factor (DH is self-employed). I am thinking we could work in a couple nights visiting my brother in Mobile, too, so that would be a huge plus. We are leaning towards driving through the night on the way down, and just making lots of stops. 
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  • Well, if you can take your time and make it part of the adventure, then driving sounds like a great idea.

    emberlee3[Deleted User]
  • edited January 2014
    NicoleWI said:
    It would be a 21 hour drive (WI to Naples, FL). We'd break it up into 2 days for sure and try to get a lot of driving in while the kids slept. Not sure of the best way to break it up. I.e. better to drive all night (and be exhausted) or break it up into 3 hour blocks with 1 to 2 hr rest/meal stops in between.

    Flight would be only 3 hours, direct, but we'd have to haul strollers, gear, car seats, and rent a car that can handle 3 seats (probably a minivan; maybe some full size). 

    Estimated cost of gas, meals, hotel=$500 vs about $2,000 to fly and rent a car.
    Hm.  I can see arguments for both flying and driving, but I would NOT drive 21 hours when I could take a 3 hour flight.  The cost is obviously a big factor, and I understand not being able to afford to fly, but man 21 hours v. 3 hours? I would really try to fly. 

    Also driving is a million times more dangerous (sorry I exaggerate) and that's always a concern.

    But anyway if it was a 10 hour drive maybe but 21 hours? eek. 

    Edit: I just saw you want to make more of an adventure out of the drive and stop lots of places.  I can see that working, but I still cringe at being in a car for so many hours with 3 kids.  Either way good luck!
  • DH and I considered doing a 20+ hour drive with a 4 year old, 2 year old, and 5 month old for Christmas. I considered it for about a day, and then decided to suck it up and buy the plane tickets. My oldest could handle it, but the younger ones would be difficult. We haven't driven more than 2 hours in the last couple years, so we have no idea how the kids would do after being in the car for so long. Taking their behavior on a 2 hour drive and extrapolating to 20+ hours is a recipe for disaster. A 12 hour drive might be doable because we could do most of it while they are sleeping, but 20+ hours is too much for me. Can you rent baby gear? Use a hotel crib? We usually just fly to see family, so I bought a pack&play and umbrella stroller to keep at my parents' house, and my mom makes beds on the floor for the older kids with her camping mats and sleeping bags. I wear the baby instead of bringing a stroller. And we borrow a car from my parents too. We have 2 radian car seats, so we can fit 3 across in their SUV and have room for luggage in the back. None of those things may be options for you, but just some ideas in case they are. I told DH we would revisit the idea of driving when our youngest is 3. Until then, I'll pay $2k to not have that experience.
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  • We flew to FL- (from NY) and I would do it again in a heartbeat rather than drive.  We have done 8 hour drives (I think my limit would be 10 or 12 before I would fly) so it is doable, but I gladly spent 2K on 7 plane tickets in May rather than driving 2 days in a minivan.
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