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Old Yesterday, 07:42 AM   #1
jfoofj
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MA to FL Thanksgiving week... ideas?

SO, my inlaws are retired and living in southern FL. We are invited to come down for Thanksgiving this year, and we would really like to do so since we haven't been down to see them at their new home as of yet. The issue is how to get there. I have been pricing out airfare for Thanksgiving week, and it is looking like it will be quite expensive (we are willing to take the kids out of school the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, we can leave the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, even still, it is big bucks to fly and flying home the weekend after Thanksgiving is outrageous airfare). Southwest hasn't released their airfare calendar yet, but I'm thinking it won't be too much different than Jet Blue.

We were just in FL in January and went to Universal Studios. I purchased the annual passes (the limited one, with blackout dates, though blackout dates don't occur over Thanksgiving) because they made more sense for our length of stay in January. I'm now thinking that if we drove down to FL we could stop in Orlando and do two nights at Universal and see the completed WWOHP then continue on down to the inlaws house. This would break up the trip, and the kids would LOVE to stop at Universal for a couple of nights (as would I, and DH.... if I can get him on board with driving to FL).

SO- convince me, or more to the point, tell me how to convince DH that driving from central MA to southern FL is not an insane idea, especially during the week of Thanksgiving. I am looking for any advice, travel tips, routes, places to stop (I'm thinking we will need to stop for an overnight somewhere on the way down and up.... not sure that we can drive through).

Mods, if this is the wrong forum for this please feel free to move it.

TIA!

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Old Yesterday, 08:03 AM   #2
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That would be a tough drive to do in 9 days. It's doable though. I drive from Central VA to Southwest FL once a year. It's almost 1,000 miles and I'm a single mom so I do all the driving with two kids and two dogs. You'd be using 4 days out of 9 to drive and you'd probably be wiped out when you got there and wiped out when you got home. And if you stopped at Universal (which I would do in a heartbeat) it seems like that's only 3 days in Southern FL.

I will say that's a lovely time to be in FL. We have spent many, many Thanksgivings in SW Florida and it's awesome. I'm not sure we'll do it this year because DD is starting middle school (and it's an IB program ) but it's not packed and the weather usually is lovely.

If you can make it from MA to Florence, SC that's a decent place to stop. Then day 2 wouldn't be so bad. But that may be too much driving for day 1.

As far as traffic, I rarely have issues but I start from Richmond, VA. If I do run into problems it's in SC (why on earth is 95 2 lanes there?). But last year I had no issues at all.
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Old Yesterday, 08:21 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! I'm figuring if we left Friday night, drove through the night (I'm a night shift person, and DH used to be, so we are pretty nocturnal and used to staying up all night) and most of Saturday that would get us most of the way there. We could stop somewhere Saturday, eat, let the kids jump in a hotel pool, sleep and head out EARLY Sunday, get to Orlando Sunday and stay overnight at Universal and have hopefully some of Sunday and all of Monday in the parks. Maybe stay Monday night at Universal too... not sure about that, but definitely arrive at inlaws by Tuesday and stay through Saturday. Then head home Saturday. Not sure how feasible that is... I've never driven to FL before.

Thanks for the info on SC. I've always wanted to visit Charleston but I don't think that will happen during this trip.
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Old Yesterday, 08:33 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jfoofj View Post
Thanks for the reply! I'm figuring if we left Friday night, drove through the night (I'm a night shift person, and DH used to be, so we are pretty nocturnal and used to staying up all night) and most of Saturday that would get us most of the way there. We could stop somewhere Saturday, eat, let the kids jump in a hotel pool, sleep and head out EARLY Sunday, get to Orlando Sunday and stay overnight at Universal and have hopefully some of Sunday and all of Monday in the parks. Maybe stay Monday night at Universal too... not sure about that, but definitely arrive at inlaws by Tuesday and stay through Saturday. Then head home Saturday. Not sure how feasible that is... I've never driven to FL before.

Thanks for the info on SC. I've always wanted to visit Charleston but I don't think that will happen during this trip.
That sounds pretty manageable. My ex used to drive through the night. It was tough, but was easier when the kids were little and we missed all of the traffic. I couldn't do it safely but tend to start at 3 or 4 am because I know I'll run out of steam by 7PM.

I'd say go for it if you can't make plane tickets work. Sounds like a great opportunity to have a nice family vacation.
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Old Yesterday, 05:39 PM   #5
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Consider the autotrain for on the way back. You pick up the train in the afternoon in Sanford, arrive the next morning mid-morning in Lorton VA and drive directly home. The train on the way back breaks up that long drive and extends the adventure a bit longer. Both drivers will be more rested to return to work on Monday.
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Old Yesterday, 06:09 PM   #6
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Consider the autotrain for on the way back. You pick up the train in the afternoon in Sanford, arrive the next morning mid-morning in Lorton VA and drive directly home. The train on the way back breaks up that long drive and extends the adventure a bit longer. Both drivers will be more rested to return to work on Monday.
Seems like a great idea... until you look at the cost. I was curious.... as I am thinking of driving from Mass for an upcoming trip... and I ran the dates for a 1 way in June for a family of 4 (Sanford to Lorton)... $508 for 4 coach seats and another $186 for the car ...might as well fly for that kind of $$. Is there a secret to the train fares? I will never understand why the trains are so flipping exspensive in the USA. Everytime I think it would be more economical, I look and have always found flying is less to my surprise.
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Old Yesterday, 06:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jfoofj View Post
Thanks for the reply! I'm figuring if we left Friday night, drove through the night (I'm a night shift person, and DH used to be, so we are pretty nocturnal and used to staying up all night) and most of Saturday that would get us most of the way there. We could stop somewhere Saturday, eat, let the kids jump in a hotel pool, sleep and head out EARLY Sunday, get to Orlando Sunday and stay overnight at Universal and have hopefully some of Sunday and all of Monday in the parks. Maybe stay Monday night at Universal too... not sure about that, but definitely arrive at inlaws by Tuesday and stay through Saturday. Then head home Saturday. Not sure how feasible that is... I've never driven to FL before.
We drive from NH 2-3xs a year. Leave Friday night, drive all night, breakfast after DC, stop in GA or northern FL Saturday afternoon. Sunday arrive at WDW. We then leave WDW on Friday. On the way home we generally drive until late, stop in NC or VA and drive the rest of the way Saturday arriving really late that night. Sunday we lay about. The biggest issue with late November is snow/ice. We have room on either end of the trip to leave a day early or late if needed.
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Old Yesterday, 06:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suger Mag View Post
Seems like a great idea... until you look at the cost. I was curious.... as I am thinking of driving from Mass for an upcoming trip... and I ran the dates for a 1 way in June for a family of 4 (Sanford to Lorton)... $508 for 4 coach seats and another $186 for the car ...might as well fly for that kind of $$. Is there a secret to the train fares? I will never understand why the trains are so flipping exspensive in the USA. Everytime I think it would be more economical, I look and have always found flying is less to my surprise.
The biggest issue IME with the auto train is that coming from New England you still have to deal with the worst traffic to get there (NYC/Philly/DC). Anything south of DC is a breeze. Then you have to time your drive around all that rush hour traffic or stay in a hotel. We found it a total pain to schedule in. Then had a long sleepless night on a bouncy train. Worth it for the experience once but I doubt we would do it again.
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Old Yesterday, 06:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suger Mag View Post
Seems like a great idea... until you look at the cost. I was curious.... as I am thinking of driving from Mass for an upcoming trip... and I ran the dates for a 1 way in June for a family of 4 (Sanford to Lorton)... $508 for 4 coach seats and another $186 for the car ...might as well fly for that kind of $$. Is there a secret to the train fares? I will never understand why the trains are so flipping exspensive in the USA. Everytime I think it would be more economical, I look and have always found flying is less to my surprise.
Yeah, I've never understood the appeal. We've lived in Northern VA and now Central VA and I drive to SW Florida annually and I'd rather spend the money on plane tickets than the auto train. I know there's an audience, but it's not me.
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Old Today, 09:23 AM   #10
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We live in the center of VT and from here it is a 13 hour drive to Florence SC and then 8 hours from there to orlando. 9 days is plenty of time to drive and florida in nov is awsome.
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