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How long to stay to make the drive worth it?

New Jersey
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How long to stay to make the drive worth it?
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GRRRRRR. I know I read this somewhere at sometime, but I'm completely drawing a blank. Is there some type of unofficial formula to figure out how many nights to stay in a location to make it worth the travel time?

Here's our situation: We need to drive out to Chicago. It will take us about 12 hours to get there. Does staying 2 nights seem worth it? We're going to check out an apartment that my son has rented so we don't need to stay long.

Any thoughts?

Thanks ~

conn
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183 reviews
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1. Re: How long to stay to make the drive worth it?
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I think I would do Chicago as a 3 night weekend. 2 nights make for a tiring drive back to NJ.

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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2. Re: How long to stay to make the drive worth it?
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Since you're not interested in seeing tourist sights, stay one night in Chicago (if you can check things out in that time frame) and then stop off one or two nights somewhere on the way home ;-)

Toronto
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for Nassau
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3. Re: How long to stay to make the drive worth it?
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I have a different take on this. The issue is not so much the destination, it's the journey. The length of stay in Chicago is irrelevant. Stay as long as you need and want to. You need to go to Chicago. That's a fact. If you were to fly instead of drive, you would likely spend the better part of 12 hours at the mercy and stress of airports, security, waiting lounges, uncomfortable airplanes, screaming kids, obnoxious travellers, luggage carousels, and who knows what. For less money and a just a bit more time, you can be comfortable in your own car, and stop whenever and wherever you want. Your choice is your method of travel, not the length of stay at the destination. It really doesn't matter how long you stay.

Cleveland
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4. Re: How long to stay to make the drive worth it?
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It would require perfect conditions and some speeding to get from NJ, especially southern NJ, to Chicago in 12 hours, even not including food, fuel and rest stops. In the next several months, you would be lucky to not encounter construction zones.

I certainly would recommend at least one night in Chicago, if that day in Chicago is going to be book-ended by two long drives to and from NJ, and the more nights in Chicago, the better.

Are you coming on I-80 or I-76? Do you want to see anything on the way to Chicago or back?

N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park, Senior Travel
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5. Re: How long to stay to make the drive worth it?
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Remember 2 nights = 1 full day, so if you need to help your son with something at the apartment, I would plan for 2 nights. That way you have some time to spend before you have to get back on the road.

Pam

Lewes, United...
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for Road Trips, Food and Travel
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6. Re: How long to stay to make the drive worth it?
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Hi

>>Is there some type of unofficial formula<<

None that I know of and judging by the wildly different responses, I trust you can work out that mostly it depends on your travel style, time available and what you personally consider to be how you want to play it.

Do understand that driving distances provided by websites such as googlemaps are only an indication. They're not too inaccurate for just a driving day without adding any tourism, but they don't account for road conditions, construction, weather delays, comfort breaks, etc, so do bear that in mind, too.

SWT

New Jersey
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10 reviews
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7. Re: How long to stay to make the drive worth it?
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Thank you for all the great responses. I realize that I posted the question quickly and didn't really explain all of the facts.

We're trying to keep the trip as short as possible - only because this is a crazy, busy summer with quite a few other trips already planned, and this one is unexpected. We have a one week window of opportunity available for the Chicago trip, but are trying to use as little time as possible. It's sandwiched between our yearly/traditional long weekend with extended family upstate NY, and our 10-day family vacation to California. It's strictly a "working" trip - we want to bring some stuff out for him and check-out opportunities to purchase used furniture. He's moving in September, but his lease starts (unexpectedly) in August so we're trying to make the September move itself a little easier. (Bring out a big car load of stuff now that he won't need at home before the actual move.)

Also, he's moving to Chicago for a 6-year period because he's starting a doctoral program at the University of Chicago. There will be plenty of road trips (taken by me and my husband) to get out there to visit him, so in this care neither the destination nor the journey are particularly important to me. Just what we have to do once we get there.

I swear that I read somewhere that if you travelled "X" amount of hours to get to a destination, you should plan on staying "some # multiplied by X" hours once you're there. As I'm typing it I realize it sounds odd, so maybe I'm just imagining it!!! I think I was hoping someone would post that I wasn't losing my mind and that there was some sort of "formula" that I had seen.

Again, thanks for the responses.

Edited: 9 years ago
Chapel Hill, North...
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8. Re: How long to stay to make the drive worth it?
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I don't think there's a formula. It just depends on your own personal comfort level.

When I was in my 20s my spouse and a friend and I drove from NC to NYC (about 10 hrs) on Saturday, saw some friends, stayed overnight, and came home the next day.

More recently I would often drive 1.5 hrs to see my parents on a Saturday and then turn around and drive 1.5 hrs home w/o spending the night, but one of my siblings ALWAYS spent the night because it wasn't worth it otherwise for them.

I don't think I could do the up one day and back the next to NYC now, but I think if I had two, or better yet three, nights in Chicago I could do the trip you're talking about. I could do it with just one day of not driving anywhere, though (two nights). It's the back-to-back long drives that get to me, but lots of people make a living driving like that, too.

Edited: 9 years ago
9. Re: How long to stay to make the drive worth it?

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