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Driving from New York to Los Angeles

New York City, New...
6 posts
Driving from New York to Los Angeles

I'll be relocating to LA in about a month and I'm looking to drive there from New York where I currently live. I'm making the trip with my mother who wants to travel along Route 66. I figured we would drive to Chicago and pick up there, and we plan on driving for about 4 days in total, about 10 hours a day. Does anyone have any experience or advice when it comes to traveling this route or maybe alternative routes that might be easier?

18 replies to this topic
Tacoma, Washington
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1. Re: Driving from New York to Los Angeles

Driving this in just 4 days gives you no time to see anything other than what’s outside on the interstate.

10 hrs wheels turning is being kind. When factoring traffic it’s more like 11-12 hrs wheels turning plus stops to eat and get fuel.

New York City, New...
6 posts
2. Re: Driving from New York to Los Angeles

We don't really plan on doing too much in the way of sightseeing or diverging from route 66. We'll be driving more or less 10-12 hours a day but these numbers are just kind of a rough sketch of what we're planning. We gave ourselves an extra day for whatever chance might come our way as well. Have you driven this route before?

NC
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1,633 posts
154 reviews
3. Re: Driving from New York to Los Angeles

You're talking 42 hours of just driving on interstate the whole way. That does not include stops for gas, eat, potty breaks, stretching, traffic, etc. You cannot do this drive on back roads (Route 66) in 4 days. Do you need to do the drive in 4 days or do you have longer to take back roads?

New York City, New...
6 posts
4. Re: Driving from New York to Los Angeles

We have a few more days that we can use but our goal isn’t really sightseeing, it’s mostly to drive like hell and get to LA. My hours are just an average of what this trip will look like for us. If there’s a better route to get us there that’s more suited to the way we’re traveling I’d love to get some info.

NC
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1,633 posts
154 reviews
5. Re: Driving from New York to Los Angeles

If you're looking for the fastest route, (sounds like you are) the interstates will be your best friend. You can hit it hard, if you're able to. Will this be your first long road trip? If so, lots of folks underestimate how hard a drive like this can be. They think they can drive 10 hours a day, but, if you haven't done it before, it's hard. Have you thought about the maximum hours a day you want to drive? How many drivers will there be?

Tacoma, Washington
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6. Re: Driving from New York to Los Angeles

78 to 81 to 40...this is a 41 hr drive assuming no traffic or construction delays. Add in stops for food or fuel.

Plan on 6 days if you want to stop and see rowns you pass thru.

Lewes, United...
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7. Re: Driving from New York to Los Angeles

If you plan in simply driving like hell, then forget Route 66 entirely. There's no point. Nothing to be seen of it from I-40 or any of the nearby interstates, and very few signs of any kind to suggest there's anything even nearby. You need to get off the interstates and slow right down to see anything of it. Seems you have no interest in that, so don't bother, just take the most direct route, and just take breaks when you need to.

SWT

Wilmington, North...
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50 posts
8. Re: Driving from New York to Los Angeles

As each of the above have mentioned -- you have no time for ambling along Route 66. The distance is 2800 miles assuming New York City and not upstate. You can assume you will slow for construction areas along the way, congestion near heavy traffic areas, etc.

Do not consider lightly the comments by jenmaybe -- there is heavy fatigue in long distance driving, even when there are two drivers. It is essential to stop at least every three hours for 20 minutes or so to do rapid walking or other stretching plus time for eating, potty, fueling, and locating motels. You must do this to be a safe driver. The fatigue and possible hypnotic effect of heavy interstate driving is cumulative so it must be anticipated at the outset. You will be facing the sun on much of the trip which can add stress. It is on the driver's side all day when you go west.

If you can, target for five days.

New York City, New...
6 posts
9. Re: Driving from New York to Los Angeles

We haven’t done a drive this extensive before but we have tackled 10-hour driving days. We’re pretty used to being in cars and driving for extended periods of time so we’re comfortable with that. My mother is a bit whimsical which is why she’s set on Route 66 even though we’re not getting off to sight see. She just wants to be able to say she drove all of 66. I’ve mapped out other journeys based on some articles I’ve read by other travelers so would you say it would be less taxing to travel the major highways in our situation? We’re hoping to finish this trip in no more than 5 days.

Wilmington, North...
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10. Re: Driving from New York to Los Angeles

Look at it this way. 2800 miles on the most direct Interstate routes and five days. That's 560 miles a day. Figure 55 miles an hour -- that's good considering delays and reduced speed areas. That's 11 hours with the car moving. Then 3 pit stops of 30 minutes and lunch for 45 minutes. Over 13 hours not counting breakfast and dinner plus sack time. If you leave the motel at 8 am you'll get to the next motel at 9 pm ready for dinner. Your plans would be 13 hours followed by 13 hours and 13 hours and 13 hours and another 13 hours. My suggested five days should have been six days as this pace is dangerous and probably commercial truck drivers would suggest six days. And they're professionals.

You may consider my estimates as being too conservative, however just consider how long it will take you to get to the nearest Interstate from your starting place and then to get up to speed. This type of delay is repeated at each stop. A rainy day will slow you down more.

Excuse my tone, but I do not know how else to express my concern.

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