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Old 01-22-2013, 03:40 PM   #1
rlu929s
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Driving from MO to FL with 2 young kids. Suggestions

We'll be leaving from Springfield, MO around noon and will have that night and all that next to to drive.

I map it out taking about 16-18 hours not including stops at about 2,200 miles.

1. Would you rent or drive your own vehicle? We have a 2006 Honda Pilot with about 80,000 miles on it. We just got new tires this past year and would for sure have it checked up, but still trying to decide if renting a SUV would be better. They seem to be around $600.

2. What's the best route heading there from SW MO? We want to avoid any traffic jams, but have 2 youngs kids we'll expect to stop quite a bit.

Thoughts? or Tips?

Also, according to google it looks like my 3 main road options are:

US-78E going through Memphis, Birmingham, and Tallahassee
I-75S going through Nashville, Atlanta

Last edited by rlu929s; 01-22-2013 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:52 PM   #2
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My first suggestion is to really, really consider flying if you can at all afford that. That is one LONG drive.

If you must drive, though, definitely stop somewhere overnight. Trying to make that drive straight through with kids would be murderous. I'd guess somewhere around Birmingham would be about half way for you.

Even though it may seem a little out of the way, I'd take I-20 from B'ham to Atlanta. This ensures that you remain on interstate roads all the way to WDW and not have to take non-interstate roads in south Alabama.

I'm not familiar enough with Springfield (only been there once) to tell you how to get from there to Memphis most quickly, but you'd probably want to go from Memphis to Birmingham on 78/22.

I have to reemphasize my recommendation to fly if you can. SWA flies out of Tulsa. I fly into Tulsa on SWA when I had to go to Monett, MO for some training once. Long drive from Tulsa to Monett, but it sure beat the alternative.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:19 PM   #3
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If you're willing to rent a car for $600, you probably could find a flight around the same cost for all four of you. Look into some of the budget airlines: Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant, Jet Blue, Air Tran, Southwest, etc. Most of them run flights to Orlando or other nearby Florida airports for $99 or less if you're willing to put in the time to research flights, check fares, etc.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:39 PM   #4
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I'm not a fan of flying and we're ok with a long family drive this time. We flew last time and with the plan malfunctioning and the wheels not going up coupled with the long wait at the airport for new plane....driving works for us.

What about I55 going through Memphis, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Mobile?
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:33 PM   #5
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I live in st. Louis. Its about 15 hours for us.

My brother in law lives in NW Arkansas just south of you. Its about 17 hours via 40 east to Nashville and then south on I-75.

I hope you are driving with help. That being said, I would leave about 2:00pm your time on a friday. Drive all night while the kids sleep and you will be in Disney by noon on Saturday.

I have driven the long drives with kids as young as 9 months. last time was 2 and 8....and 3 and 9. You want the kids to sleep most of your drive.

Doing this allows for the least amount of traffic, and the least worrying about fussy kids.

The 40 east route to I-75 south keeps you on good interstates as long as possible. 55 south of Memphis is a poor highway.

drive the Honda. you have paid for it. at 80,xxx miles an extra 2,500 wont mean anything for resale. And Honda run forever anyway. PM me if you have questions. we have done the drive at least 15 times over the years.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:57 PM   #6
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Great thanks for the tip on 55! If I map this out correct we'll probably take 60 till it turns into 24 and take that all the way to Nashville and on to Chattanooga. We are planning to stop and sleep at some point. I may try to make it to Macon that way we are past Atlanta and drive through late night. That is unless there is a better way around Atlanta. After Atlanta we'll just take 75 on in to Orlando.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:05 PM   #7
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Yeah, I think cutting across to Paducah then 24 to 75 is a pretty good plan for you as it's all great highways from that point on. We made it to Macon our first night from ~ an hour West of STL. Looks like you'd have to put in another 70 miles or so compared to us. It'll be a long, full day, but it's doable. There isn't a ton between ATL and Macon, but there are a handful of places to stop if you get tired. Get an early start
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:37 AM   #8
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if you are planning to go the route of 60-24, i would just take 44 est to st louis. i do that drive 6 times a year. it's an easy 2.5 hour trip to stl, then you are 15 hours from there.

44>64>57>24>75
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:28 PM   #9
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I'd be driving North to go back South. Does the HWY save that much time? Wouldn't it be better to cut across 60 going east then turn southeast?
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlu929s View Post
I'd be driving North to go back South. Does the HWY save that much time? Wouldn't it be better to cut across 60 going east then turn southeast?
60 is a good highway nowadays - id just cut straight across if I were you. Plus you get to avoid any potential traffic hang ups in STL. IIRC, there will be about 20 miles of 2-lane from Wickliffe to Paducah, but it's easy driving with no stops. Should spit you out right at exit 4 on I24 in Paducah.

If you DO come up 44, don't take it all the way downtown. Go South on 270 to 255 to 64 instead.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlu929s
I'm not a fan of flying and we're ok with a long family drive this time. We flew last time and with the plan malfunctioning and the wheels not going up coupled with the long wait at the airport for new plane....driving works for us.

What about I55 going through Memphis, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Mobile?
Sorry I would be flying with two little ones. We had issues on some of our flights but not all. The majority of our flying experiences went smooth even with the challenges of little ones. I think your going to have more issues driving but you know your family best so good luck and safe driving!
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumbo4x4 View Post
IIRC, there will be about 20 miles of 2-lane from Wickliffe to Paducah, but it's easy driving with no stops. Should spit you out right at exit 4 on I24 in Paducah.
This is right, though it's more like 25 miles. It is 2-lane road still, but it's not bad and almost 100% farmland/pasture until you get closer to Paducah and the road becomes 4-lane for a bit. As long as you don't get stuck behind a hay truck, this shouldn't be a bad part of the trip at all.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:05 PM   #13
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Our kids are 9 & 6 and they love the drive. It takes about 16 hours.

We have a rule of no DVDs until after 2 p.m. So that leaves us about 6 hours of pre-DVD entertainment.

In the morning we listen to 1 or 2 audiobooks (We try for each story to be 45 min - 1 hr). We also each pick out a well-illustrated book to be read along the way. Reading each spread and then passing it around to look at the accompanying art eats up a lot of time. We also have an ongoing game of Rubberneckers going on. (I think that is still available at amazon.) We also take either wikisticks, pipe cleaners or coloring books depending on our mood before leaving. That's more than enough for 6 hrs. The DVDs run for another 5 hrs. The remainder of the time is sleeping for the kids.

We generally take 4-5 breaks along the way. We bring a starting line and finish line (pieces of rope) to map out little races at the rest areas. Two stops are just gas and bathroom breaks. The races happen at the other breaks. We have a cooler in the car with our food, drinks and snacks.

We've split the day up into two day of travel, and sometimes we drive straight through. Straight through at night doesn't work as well for my children, as they dislike missing the trip (!), so we aren't do that so much anymore. Our latest compromise is for us to leave around 3 a.m. and arrive in the Sanford area for a late dinner and stayover.

After a couple of trips, you'll know what you like. Then your family gets older and everything changes!
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlu929s View Post
We'll be leaving from Springfield, MO around noon and will have that night and all that next to to drive.

I map it out taking about 16-18 hours not including stops at about 2,200 miles.

1. Would you rent or drive your own vehicle? We have a 2006 Honda Pilot with about 80,000 miles on it. We just got new tires this past year and would for sure have it checked up, but still trying to decide if renting a SUV would be better. They seem to be around $600.

2. What's the best route heading there from SW MO? We want to avoid any traffic jams, but have 2 youngs kids we'll expect to stop quite a bit.

Thoughts? or Tips?

Also, according to google it looks like my 3 main road options are:

US-78E going through Memphis, Birmingham, and Tallahassee
I-75S going through Nashville, Atlanta
I realize I may be late to this thread by a couple of weeks, but I'll drop in my $0.02 as I come out of I-40 in OK and follow the same route options. I do a hybrid of what you listed.

The route out of Montgomery south to Tallahassee is not all Interstate, which isn't inherently a bad thing, but I've been told by folks who've driven the area on business advise that the Alabama state roads are notorious speed traps and I have no desire to risk that. For that reason alone, I've taken the "hybrid" route of US78/I-22E out of Memphis all the way to Birmingham, then I-20E to Atlanta, then I-75S all the way to the FL turnpike and on into Orlando. That keeps me on interstates. The only caveat is that I do avoid the first five or ten miles of US78 out of Memphis, as it really isn't "highway" at all, but just a local industrial road, lots of traffic lights, start/stop, so I just drive around it. Be glad to share the alternate if you're interested.

US78/I-22 is almost totally rebuilt and new highway in Alabama, with the last mile or two that connects to Birmingham presently under construction. Great highway, and makes for an easy stretch of drive.
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