Driving Down


I’m having the hardest time planning the drive down this year. Last trip, we left at 6pm, and I drove all night. With toddlers/preschoolers, it’s ideal, because the kids sleep most of the drive and stops are minimal–gas and ME using the rest room.

But I’m just not sure I want to do it again. I had NO problems last trip, but the success of this plan requires that I don’t get all tired on the way. Plus, this time I can’t just plop down on my bed and sleep–I have to set up camp when we get there.

So…bored, whiney kids driving me nuts during the day?

Or…risk a long, tiring night?

I guess I’m not really looking for suggestions, just thinking out loud.


umm, I think the “unofficial guide” would suggest NOT risking the sleepy driving Cavey. :tongue:
I’d rather have pre-school aged sweeties driving me crazy all day (oh wait, I do already) than risking a long, tiring night. Especially if you have to set up camp when you get there. I would be afraid that driving all night and setting up camp may knock out your energy for the days after. Whereas if you drive during the day and get there for a nice evenings rest you may be more 'up to snuff" for all the excitement.

Then again, whatever saves you time and you are comfortable with.

OK, I am thinking aloud too.


I would suggest stoping over at our place on the way down, but that won’t save you much time. I guess drive when you will be most comfortable. Keeping the kids on their normal schedule is a plus.


Man I’ve done that for the very same reasons…so I say get as much rest before (if it is even possable) and go for it. But of course don’t drive if you are too tired…pull over and stop somewhere. I’m sure you know your limits and would not drive if you thought it was going to put your family in danger.


We have always split our trip into two days and we’ve been making the 1200 mile trips (to either Illinois, FLorida or Colorado) since the kids were 15 months old. We have a “short day” and a “long day” and that is decided by our work schedules. The last few trips we leave as soon as we’re home from work, drive about 6-7 hours, then the next day we do the 10-11 hour drive to our destination. When the kids were really little, I served as the entertainment committee, had all the games, coloring/craft activities, books, etc & sat with them in the back to keep them occupied. We would also change seating arrangements so they didn’t get too board in one spot. We were lucky enough to have a Van when they were little and moved to a Suburban when they were 4…I still ahave it and they’re almost 12!! With all of the gadgets available today…DVD players, video games, etc…it helps to keep them busy in their own way. DH is so against driving all night for several reasons, but we have friends and family members that choose to do it that way. You either sacrifice the time on the road by stopping to sleep OR you sacrifice it once you reach your destination because you’re so tired you just want to sleep for 12 hours straight. It’s a toss up, basically it’s whatever works for you and your family. Good Luck & stay safe!


Well, I have a almost 3 y/o boy who is VERY…uh…energetic…we’ll call it that… :biggrin: The best invention EVER for long trips with kids is the portable DVD player. Just about the only thing we heard out of JD during our Dec 05 drive down was “Daddy, push it” (meaning push play on his movie) and “I’m hungry.” The DVD player makes it so nice… Driving from Dover, DE, our trip is about 14 hrs…


my suggestion… FLY and rent an RV! :slight_smile:


I would say take an extra day to get there. The DVD player is a great idea. I got my kiddos one for christmas. It just isn’t safe for you to be driving all that in one stretch no matter what the time of day. As you get fatigued, you get distracted more easily and your reflexes get slower. Remember all that precious cargo your bringing with you (and no, I don’t mean the camping supplies)and drive for a few hours and stop for the night and head out fresh the next morning.


Ron… They don’t make RV’s that fly… DUH!!! :laugh:


Okay my SOUTHERN friend… let me spell this out… I meant to Fly down on a plane and then rent a RV! :dry: Have to spell everything out for you? :glare: :biggrin:


Friend? That’s a mighty large assumption there… :eek:

Cavey…still…I don’t think RV’s fly. And if they did, I’m not sure you could rent one without a pilot’s license… :laugh:


Flying would cost us more in the end–we tried that once.

And renting an RV would completely offset the cost savings of camping instead of using a resort.

Of course, my neighbor has a flying RV that he might loan me. I’m sure it’s not that hard to operate.


Oh, and believe me the drive all night–recover isn’t all that BAD.

A lot of my cave trips involve getting up at 4a.m., driving 5 hours, caving hard for 12 hours, driving 5 hours home. Getting to bed at 2a.m. So I can do it.


Just curious how long is your drive… We are going in May and we are having the same problem… deciding between driving and flying… I just love being able to be there in 2 hours… but it is very expensive for 4 of us!

I’d go for the Flying RV… I’m sure if you can handle caving you can handle flying an RV… :huh:


I agree. When I use to drive down I would make one over night stop. Holiday Inn Express is usually the best bet. Its about $50-$70 the night and includes a small breakfast in the morning. Pretty good deal.

If it all possible a portable DVD player is key. The kids would watch movies all day while I was driving. The drive was typically measured in movies, one year I did it in ten movies :happy: !

Good Luck!!!


Caver -
I would do the through the night thing in your situation. Don’t plan anything hard core for your first day there and catch up on some rest. DBF did this when he drove down last January and is doing it again in October. He left at dinner time and drove straight through. He stopped a few times when he felt himself getting a little tired. You can let Lil take over driving in the morning and get some rest yourself. I wouldn’t drive through the day with toddlers and preschoolers. I think it will seriously be a headache for you.


We have driven all night to WDW once. It wasn’t bad until about 4 am when we both got tired. We stopped at 5 am for an early breakfast to wake up, that and the energy from getting close to WDW was enough to keep us going. We didn’t seem to notice the lack of sleep during our trip.

A couple of times we have left at 3 am and driven straight through to Orlando. We got a few hours of sleep but still enjoyed the lack of traffic for a few hours.

The DVD player is a must for my DS in the car on long trips. Between that and his GameBoy he is a happy camper no matter how many hours we are in the car.


When we drove to South Carolina the first time, we left at 4:00pm and drove all night, the kids did really good, except for them getting up at 3:00am :eek: and stayed up for a couple of hours! This past November we left early in the morning and they (DS 6 and DD 4 ) did really good too. Your children my surprise you also. :happy: (I know your youngest is younger then my DD who was three the first time we traveled a long distance in a car, so that may make a differance) Like everyone else said take along a lot of things for them to do and take breaks.


This one is simple Cavey…leave the kids at home! :angel:

Now, I have done some research on your situation…since I don’t really know where you live I map quested your directions to Orlando and it says it takes about 17 hours…I know mapquest is USUALLY wrong…but i am just using it as something to go by…I would leave at night…and since the only thing you really have to do once you get there is set up camp and go to chef mickey’s…I would think if you arrived early enough you could fit a little nap in there somewhere…and since you’re used to pulling long days with your caving trips…I think you should go for it…
If not…here is some insperation I have pulled from my own childhood to help you out.

Daddy, are we there yet?
Daddy, is Disney World in another country?
Daddy, why does Mickey Mouse live in Disney World and not in _______ (insert name of random town you happen to be passing at the moment)
Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom.
Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom.
Daddy, are we there yet?
Daddy, are we there now?

My dad still talks about how much I annoyed him on our first trip to the world…and we only lived 5 hours away. :pinch:


We’ve driven several times - most recently last month - and I’m talking 32 hours of driving time AND we do it in two days. We did this even when our kids were small - I drive the “unbusy states” and DH does the “crazy busy states”. And call me weird - we had some great family times on those drives.

Anyway, I would suggest a very EARLY start - I mean no later than 5 am on the road. Hopefully, you can transfer still asleep, or at least sleepy kids to the car, and with any luck at all, they’ll fall back to sleep for a few hours. Early morning driving isn’t half as tiring or mezmerizing as late night driving. Also, books on tape, are great - especially if you can get Disney stories. I also use to wrap up “surprises” (visit the Dollar Store for these) and would hand them out for good behaviour, or every 100 miles, or whatever.