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USA Fly drive -how many miles can/should you cover in a day?

Nottingham, United...
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USA Fly drive -how many miles can/should you cover in a day?

Hi all - we are looking at a western fly drive next year, but are a little concerned about some of the miles quoted in packages - sometimes as many as 250 or 300 in a day. Is it the fact that the distances are so great you just put your foot down and drive, or would covering such distances mean that we had no time to stop off along the way to spend some time at places? 300 miles is quite a way even at a reasonable pace! We want to be able to stop when we want but are nervous that we wont have the time to because we have to churn the miles. Any advice or experience much appreciated.

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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1. Re: USA Fly drive -how many miles can/should you cover in a day?

My advice ~ do not book a pre-packaged Fly-Drive. Create an itinerary that works for YOU with help from forum members. A pre-packaged Fly-Drive requires you to stop at the places that someone else has determined without any thought about your travel style.

Let us know what kind of trip you're considering, and we can give you feedback about what will or will not work. We can tell you about a better place to stop for the night or a place that might be more fun (based on the info you share about your travel style.)

A pre-packaged Fly-Drive itinerary might be a good place to start, but definitely tweak it. Read guide books. Read the Top Questions here on the California page and on the pages for the destinations you want to visit. Lurk (just read) other folks' threads. Then post your own itinerary planning questions.

San Diego
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2. Re: USA Fly drive -how many miles can/should you cover in a day?

I agree with the advice above.

Make a list of the places you'd like to visit and come back and ask folks to help you plan the trip.

Depending on where you are driving(which roads) 300 miles can take only a little over 4hrs. at 70mph speed.

On the other hand it can take 6hrs. at 50 soooo where you are going really matters in your planning.

Nottingham, United...
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3. Re: USA Fly drive -how many miles can/should you cover in a day?

Thanks both for some good advice. I suppose because it's all new to us, the package seems the easy option, but as we have over a year to go we have time to get it right. Thanks again! We will have a planning session and come back!

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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4. Re: USA Fly drive -how many miles can/should you cover in a day?

Excellent. One more tip ~ lodging in Yosemite Valley books one year in advance. Some popular options are gone the first day.

LA
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5. Re: USA Fly drive -how many miles can/should you cover in a day?

300 miles a day hardly qualifies for the traditional American "Road Trip" 200 miles a day is a commute for some people. There are many parts of the country that require long drives if you want to get to important sights.

I usually count the number of hours of driving. 8 hours is a reasonable upper limit.. 4 hours is too few, if you plan on actually making it anywhere.

As above, do not buy a pre-packaged Fly/Drive. You can easily plan this out yourself by using a guidebook and asking about itineraries here on TripAdvisor. Personally, I like the Lonely Planet USA guide, as it is geared towards foreign travelers and has many options of all budget levels. However, there are others.

Critical issues;

1. How many nights do you have for this trip (plan by the nights)?

2. What do you have on a wish-list? (Need to understand your inspirations)

3. What do you not want to do? (No need to recommend Hearst Castle if you want to spend all the time in Disneyland and Legoland)

4. What sort of accomodations are you considering? Would you be camping?

Menlo Park...
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6. Re: USA Fly drive -how many miles can/should you cover in a day?

if you are just looking to cover ground on an interstate highway, you will get run over from behind if you attempt to go slower than 75, almost as fast as on continental Europe fast roads, so 8 hours at the wheel takes you 600 miles. The interstates cover the entire country. So there's no need to book a room every 300 miles unless there is something to see. In the West the distances are vast but it's more scenic. There is a large part of our country that we refer to as "fly over country" meaning that there's little of interest or scenic appeal to those who do not live there, and it's best travelled at high speed or by plane.

San Francisco
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7. Re: USA Fly drive -how many miles can/should you cover in a day?

Excellent advice in this thread. Do some reading, make a list of things you want to see and design an itinerary. Understand that it will go through various iterations as you realize things may have to be dropped due to time constraints, etc.

And just to show how everyone is different, 8 hours of driving is painful to me. I go back and forth between SF and San Diego (about 9 hours via Highway 101 which I choose over the interstate) and I've given up trying to do it in a day. I'm exhausted and even using cruise control my legs and back are tired. Of course if you have two to do the driving it isn't so bad.

But there is so much to see in California (beach and coast, mountains, desert) that doing long stretches of driving really isn't necessary. Be careful not to design an itinerary that has you seeing the sights through the windshield of the car because you don't have enough time to stop and soak up the scenery.

Uden, The...
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8. Re: USA Fly drive -how many miles can/should you cover in a day?

Do you have a link for the fly/drive?

Also try the Road Trips forum for help on a multi states roadtrip:

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567-Road_Tri…

Nottingham, United...
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9. Re: USA Fly drive -how many miles can/should you cover in a day?

Here's one we have seen: americansky.co.uk/fly-drive-self-drive/self-…

Thanks for the link.

San Jose, California
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10. Re: USA Fly drive -how many miles can/should you cover in a day?

Yep - this looks just like the fly/drive packages I usually see - all of which leave me thinking "Are you freaking kidding me?" They leave you almost no time to actually see anything. Some days are fine, but some are just silly.

This particular itinerary leaves you almost zero time to see LA - you leave immediately for Palm Springs for 1 night, then 1 night in Scottsdale before you zoom off to the Grand Canyon for another one-night stand. You don't get 2 nights in the same place until you get to Las Vegas.

So if you have jet lag, you have no time to recover because you are off and running from almost the moment you arrive. I don't see the point of going all the way to Scottsdale since you won't have much time there - I would skip it and go straight from Palm Springs to the Grand Canyon - then you would have an extra night in Palm Springs or Grand Canyon.

Another example of pure silliness in this itinerary - you would drive from Furnace Creek to Yosemite (326 miles, but more like a 6-7 hour drive) and then only have 1 night in Yosemite before zooming off to SF - AND - you aren't even staying IN Yosemite itself, you you would literally have a drive-by experience of Yosemite. Yosemite needs at least 2 nights to even scratch the surface of this park.

In SF, you only have 2 nights and then you are off to Pismo Beach - this day is only 280 miles, but you will be passing through some of the most beautiful coastline anywhere. Part of this drive is very curvey and you should expect to drive 25-35 mph for quite a large portion of this drive - plan on 5 hours for just the drive itself.