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Saturday morning drive to Philadelphia?

Fishers, Indiana
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920 posts
105 reviews
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Saturday morning drive to Philadelphia?

My son and I are making a trip next weekend to visit a handful of colleges in the immediate DC area. He has decided he would like to visit Penn on Saturday October 15.

We would need to be on campus for an 11 a.m. information session and a Noon tour.

My initial reaction is to take Amtrak - it looks like about $130 round trip each. Without even trying any discount codes, etc, I see I can get a rental car, gas, etc for no more than a third of what it would cost for both of us to take the train and back.

Its hard to right off $175 or $200 of savings without researching it.

If I were to get a car at DCA on Saturday morning around 7 and leave immediately for Philly, how bad of a drive should I expect? I would think Saturday morning traffic would be among the lightest in the area, but I know never to assume.

I would expect heavier traffic coming back - but I would not be up against the clock coming back - and who knows what stops we might make coming back. The intent would be to be returning the car at DCA no later tha 8 or 9 p.m.

Thanks for your input.

Silver Spring...
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1. Re: Saturday morning drive to Philadelphia?

Sounds like a plan. I go past Philadelphia into NJ several times a year via 95 and you can hit traffic at the Delaware tollbooth sometimes (they were working on the tollbooth but maybe they are done now) and of course if there is an accident.

I would not dilly-dally picking up the car.

Will the car have an EZ pass?

Fishers, Indiana
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920 posts
105 reviews
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2. Re: Saturday morning drive to Philadelphia?

Thanks for the input.

Good point on the EZ Pass - worthwhile to add it. Out here with no toll roads within two hours I forget about that but from business trips driving from Philly to to the middle of Jersey I know its worthwhile. Also add to the cost.

Looks like Avis opens at 6, Budget at 7. Haven't checked the others.

Arlington, Virginia
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for Arlington
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3. Re: Saturday morning drive to Philadelphia?

If you ever are placed in the position of having to travel to Philadelphia, Saturday and Sunday mornings of non-holiday weekends are the best times to do it. I would absolutely drive rather than take the train for the trip you describe.

Assuming you rent the car and park at or near Penn, you'll want to make sure your auto insurance covers window breakage / break-in protection on rental cars. There is a non-zero chance this will become important for you.

On the way back, consider dinner / a visit to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. Some fun stuff to see / do there.

Fishers, Indiana
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920 posts
105 reviews
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4. Re: Saturday morning drive to Philadelphia?

We ended up getting what I thought was a decent rate for Amtrak to Philly - we got 2 tickets for $144. All things considered I was fine with that rate for the relaxing train ride - we had been up exceptionally early for three straight days.

We were in Baltimore on Friday checking out schools and enjoyed our time at the Inner Harbor and had a good dinner there as well.

Thanks for all the input.

5. Re: Saturday morning drive to Philadelphia?

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