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Old 11-24-2012, 09:55 AM   #1
Oakville
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Driving from Ontario - Florida in Feb (book hotels? Places to visit on the way back?)

Hi all,

I have been reading several threads about driving from Ontario to Florida. We, a family with 3 kids of which one will be 1 year old, are planning to take the Buffalo route in February-Early March and I still have several questions:

1) Do you book your hotel rooms in advance? The reason I am asking is that if the weather is going to be bad, we might take the I-75 instead but having 3 kids in the back, we don't want to take the risks that we can not easily find a room if we can't find anything.

2) We have been thinking of taking our time driving back. The problem is of course that it will be winter so there might not be that interesting places to stop. We are looking at Myrtle Beach for 2 nights but wouldn't mind something closer to home. Any suggestions?

Thanks

Last edited by Oakville; 11-24-2012 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:59 PM   #2
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Having driven the I75 route several times my advice is not to bother booking rooms. Drive as far as you want or can then pull off at the next off ramp and look that way you're not obligated to any one place. There's more motels than there is Tim Hortons*L* We stop at the first rest area in the state we're gonna stay for the night in and pick up a free hotel discount coupon book then look through it, pick a motel, pick a back up motel then drive to it. In all the times we've driven and the motels along the way we have only had to use the back up motel once. We usually pick no frills places like Super8, Red Roof Inn etc. but that comes down to personal preference. A room per night is usually anywhere between $40 - $50 at those places. We also pick smaller towns or cities as we find they can be a little less money and we like to be less than a km from the I75 to start. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:00 PM   #3
OntFamily
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I would not book rooms, until you're about an hour from stopping. We have done the drive many times (i79, 77, etc). Lots of places to stay.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:00 AM   #4
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I also do not book rooms. You may not make it as far as you think, or make it farther. We would figure at dinner time how much farther we would go and call ahead and book if we were concerned on a busy day. I would think in Feb it should be ok. I also stay at HolidayInn Express that have indoor pools and breakfast in the morning. It allows the kids to burn off some of that extra energy from driving in the car all day!
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:32 AM   #5
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Can anyone shed any light on what the drive is like. Hubby wants to do it, but the idea of travelling all that way with three small children in the back scares me to death.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:58 PM   #6
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We book hotels because we are a family of 6 and it isn't always easy to find rooms that we fit in.
We are leaving Tuesday night and have a room booked in Byron, GA. This is where we stopped on the last trip. Dh and I both share the drive so we don`t mind a long drive on our first day and then we aren`t so tired our WDW arrival day.
We are just trying to figure out our stops on the way home. DDs want to go to the AG store in Atlanta, so we are stopping there our first night (stopping for 2 nights on the way home). We just haven`t decided on the next stop.
I usually check out sixsuitcasetravel.com for hotel info.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommytodarlings View Post
We book hotels because we are a family of 6 and it isn't always easy to find rooms that we fit in.
We are leaving Tuesday night and have a room booked in Byron, GA. This is where we stopped on the last trip. Dh and I both share the drive so we don`t mind a long drive on our first day and then we aren`t so tired our WDW arrival day.
We are just trying to figure out our stops on the way home. DDs want to go to the AG store in Atlanta, so we are stopping there our first night (stopping for 2 nights on the way home). We just haven`t decided on the next stop.
I usually check out sixsuitcasetravel.com for hotel info.
Stopping in Atlanta for the AG store sounds like my daughters' idea of heaven. I'm so afraid of the weather. How do you find it. We would drive from Mississauga.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:51 PM   #8
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I am not too scared about the weather. You just need to be smart about it. Get off the road when it is getting bad. Maybe you have to stay in a hotel for a day. That would suck but there are worse things.

Check the weather forecast very regularly and alter your plans if you have to. In our case, we want to leave after lunch on a Friday but if there is a snow storm predicted, we might leave Thursday evening or maybe Saturday morning very very early.

In a way, always be mentally prepared that you won't arrive at your destination when you wanted to. You might arrive a day late but as long you arrive alive...

About driving with 3 kids.... We are in the same boat although we have done several 6 hours drives with no big issues. But I expect that they will be more eager to get to WDW. So I guess we have to mentally prepare them that we are going to stay in 2 hotels before we get to Florida and plenty of stuff with us to keep them entertained.

Only after the trip we will really know if it was a good idea or not (but plenty of people have done it before....)
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:56 PM   #9
Oakville
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommytodarlings View Post
We are leaving Tuesday night and have a room booked in Byron, GA. This is where we stopped on the last trip. Dh and I both share the drive so we don`t mind a long drive on our first day and then we aren`t so tired our WDW arrival day.
I wouldn't mind doing that but the wife is not that interested in doing that. Plus I would be afraid to fall asleep behind the wheel. How long would you drive till you get to your hotel?

We want to do it in 2.5 days but we are looking in breaking up the trip home and do some sightseeing if possible.
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:24 PM   #10
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We've made the trip a few times- twice in the winter. As previously noted, we pay very close attention to the weather in the days preceding the trip (there is a great weather site where you can select which interstate you're travelling and it shows the weather forecast for major cities along its length).

We have the luxury of time (we're both retired) so it's easy to leave a day early to avoid bad weather (had to do that the last time, and a good thing too since long sections of the interstate ended up closed the next day).

Although it is certainly possible to do the trip without too much hardship in 2 days, we do it in 3- arriving by noon on the 3rd day. DH does most of the driving, although I usually drive for a while in the afternoon. We stop for breaks every 2 hours- either a short 10 min pee stop or a meal and gas stop. This keeps us from getting too drowsy or tired. And it's great to let the kids run around and burn up a little excess energy- the interstate rest stops are great for this.

We do book our hotels for each night enroute, but only because we use our hotel points that we've accumulated over the year to pay for them (so we're essentially only paying gas and food for the trip down and back). But I agree that unless you're travelling on a long weekend, there's not much reason to book in advance. We use the AAA guide books and our GPS to find motels and restaurants close to each exit that we're interested in.

As for stopping points for each night- we use CAA triptiks to plan them out. We map out the route and pick a stopping point depending in how many hours we think we'll drive that day (usually 8-10). The triptik gives estimated times for each section of the trip.

HTH
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:40 PM   #11
Oakville
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I am very interested in that weather site

I have just booked the hotels. However, if I really need to, I can still cancel the hotels till 6 pm on the day of arrival without any costs so I am not really losing anything.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:12 PM   #12
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Here's the site we used:

http://www.weather.com/activities/driving/interstate/

If you select I 75 it takes you all the way from Sault Ste. Marie all the way to Ft. Lauderdale. Click on an individual city for more details, including their 10 day forecast. .
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:53 PM   #13
Oakville
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Thanks. It has been bookmarked...
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:39 PM   #14
Oakville
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I found this weather map and I like it a lot.

You key in the place where you start and where you end including the date and the start time and it gives you the weather along your route.

http://www.wunderground.com/wundermap/

Thought I should share...
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:32 AM   #15
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OP...you mentioned going through Myrtle Beach on your way home. Don't bother. This time of year it's cold(gets warm mid April) and the majority of things will be closed. It's a summer place. I've been to MB many times in both the summer and winter.

Also, the drive from MB back to the main highway is a few hours of absolutely nothing. Single lane road, small towns, few gas stations and no hotels. The signage is poor and it is very easy to get lost.


BTW....I would think that since your youngest can still fly free you could fly from BUF or another US airport for the same amount of money that the drive will cost you. The last time we drove to WDW the cost was $700 RT and that was driving straight through coming home...so add another $80-$100 for a hotel. We also packed all our food in a cooler so we may have only spent about $60 on that.
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