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6 days to drive from Wisconsin to Florida solo?


Apr 24th, 2017, 03:50 PM
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6 days to drive from Wisconsin to Florida solo?

Hello! So I have a couple days off coming up in May. May 18th-23rd to be exact. A Thursday-Tuesday. So I've been trying to plan some kind of trip and so far I've come up with Penascola and New Otleans. My starting point is Racine, WI and my gps says it is about a 15 hour drive down to Pensacola. I'm debating driving the night before (the 17th) when I get off work at 7pm and driving straight through. I've heard mixed opinions on this. I would then spend Thursday and Friday night in Pensacola. And drive the couple hours over the New Orleans, and spend Saturday and Sunday there. I would leave Monday morning for home and stop somewhere in between (maybe Memphis?) and get home sometime Tuesday (it's 16 hours home) Does this trip seem do-able solo? I've driven long distances before, but never solo. I've been looking into Airbnb's (a lot cheaper) and possibly a hostel in New Orleans so I can meet people to explore the city with. Thoughts on this trip? Or suggestions on other trips that are do-able and reasonable priced for 6 days? at one point I considered niagra falls/Toronto. Also for the record I am a 21 year old female so I'd like some type of nightlife to explore.Thanks!
kyliiiie is offline  
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Apr 24th, 2017, 04:16 PM
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I don't know what kind of mixed opinions you've heard about the first night. I hope it's mostly involved a mix of "hell no" and "are you crazy". I don't think thats doable at all. Presumably you've been up for 10 hours at that point (8 hour shift plus meals) and then you want to drive 15 hours? Even that last day- that's 8 hours behind the wheel and at that point, as a solo driver, I'm bugging out.

I'd drive to Chicago and then fly out of O'Hare or take a train down to New Orleans. You should be able to get a train ticket or plane ticket for less than the price of gas. For my car, one way, that's probably 120. So 240 round trip and that gives you Philly, NYC, New Orleans, Orlando, DC, and Lax all as possibilities. Which in turn gives you 5 days in any of those places- everywhere except Orlando has hostels that would be the same price as airbnb and would give you social possibilities.

If driving is a must, for some reason, I'd do just New Orleans. Drive as far south as possible the first night; stop when tired. Drive the rest of the way the next morning. Do the same thing on the way back. That gives you about 4 days in New Orleans and at least makes it a safe trip. It also gives you a little time to stretch your legs and sightsee along the way.

Btw: the little globe icon means you marked it as a trip report. When you just as a question, don't check the box. You'll get more feedback.

(Niagara falls and Toronto you could also do by train, so not a bad idea, and the hostel will be significantly cheaper due to exchange rate.)
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Apr 24th, 2017, 06:50 PM
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It is doable -even the first night - if you are young and health. If your 50+ then no. When I was in my 20s I had numbers of those kinds of trips. However, I did learn that if I got sleepy, I pulled in a rest stop or somewhere and sleep for an hour or two. Generally that would recharge me for another six to eight hours.

Would I encourage my sons to do that ?? NO but I have done stupider things and lived.
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Apr 24th, 2017, 10:46 PM
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Hell to the no.

How many times have you gotten off work at 7pm, and then not gone to bed until 11 the next morning? Well, more like 3pm since that's the time you can check-in to a hotel to get some sleep.

And driving is worse than partying all night, it's very hard to stay awake when you're driving.....make sure you have a plan for when you start dozing off at 3am and you're in the middle of nowhere.

Now a flat tire or busted water pump at 4am in Bumfark Alabama wouldnt be much fun when you're solo...do you have AAA membership for a tow and are you ready to wait outside Bubba's Repair shop until they open at 8am?

And I'm not sure what you think "reasonably priced" is but even if you don't have any car trouble, just the fuel is going to cost you maybe $300
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Apr 24th, 2017, 11:18 PM
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P.S. How about a weekend in Dallas? Southwest has a nonstop out of Milwaukee at 6am on Friday morning, and the return is Tuesday around 3pm. So you'd have almost 4 days to explore the city. $160 round trip if you book soon (and Southwest tickets are changeable if you change your mind you'll get credit to use for a year.)
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Apr 25th, 2017, 07:21 AM
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Why Pensacola? It's a nice beach if that is the draw, but you don't seem to have time.
Why not just go to NOLA via Memphis for the first night.
Gretchen is online now  
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Apr 25th, 2017, 03:16 PM
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Thanks for the input everyone! I did consider flying in the beginning of planning this trip but I honestly love a road trip, just thinking about packing up my trunk and going gets me in a good mood. I think I like the freedom of stopping wherever, stopping to see anything that looks interesting, and just cruising along with a good playlist. The more I think about it the more just going straight for New Orleans would make sense. It will suck skipping the beach, since that was originally the goal was to get to the ocean and spend a day laying out and I really wanted to sit and listen to the waves at night, but I'm sure I could drive the coast from New Orleans one night for that On our last road trip, I drove the full stretch to Colorado after work at around 11 pm but stopped plenty, and had two other people in the car for company and to switch if needed. I did see cheap flights to Texas and did consider it but I've honestly never considered that as a destination for a trip so maybe I could look into it! I think I'm so set on New Orleans because it's always been on my list and seems like a great city for a solo traveler. But I do believe sticking with New Orleans and giving myself extra time to stop over night on the drive if needed will be added into my trip. Does anyone know how the coast is near New Orleans? Good enough for a beach day?
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Apr 26th, 2017, 06:28 AM
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Can you take a couple hours off and get to the Sturtevant Amtrak station (250 parking spaces) by 6PM?
The 340 Hiawatha leaves at 6:08 and gets you to Chicago about 50 minutes before the City of New Orleans leaves at 8:05.
Ride the CONO overnight to Memphis arriving about 6:30AM.
You night even be able to sleep in a coach seat.
Across the street from the Amtrak station in Memphis is the Arcade restaurant which was an Elvis hangout.
Take the next days CONO from Memphis to New Orleans.
Rent a car in New Orleans to go to Biloxi for a good beach day.
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Apr 26th, 2017, 08:09 AM
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Please IGNORE the ageist comments above, particularly the ones about people who are (GASP!!!!!) over 50.

Look, if you want New Orleans AND "a beach" all you have to do is drive east into Mississippi and you can sit on that one.
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Apr 26th, 2017, 10:34 AM
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I think the most difficult part of a solo driving trip where you will want to drive straight through the night is the fact that there will be no one to help keep you awake. All of that night time driving can get monotonous and trance-inducing. A few seconds of dozing off can have serious consequences.

The bayous and the old plantations are also fun to see in Louisiana, so you might want to add a few of those types of stops to your list. And, yes, as Dukey says you will be able to find beach just by driving eastward.
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