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InsideOut 07-06-2019 02:14 PM

Here are some factors to consider...
  • Are you trying to "get there" to a destination to enjoy or are you on a more leisurely trip?
  • How many days in a row are you driving?
  • Are you the sole driver or do you have someone to switch off with?
  • Are there any expected weather delays?
  • Do you have flexibility in your schedule?
  • Are there any destinations along the route that you are wanting to visit?
  • Are you traveling with others?
  • Open highways, through congested cities, twisty mountain or country roads?

My husband & I (both still working) just finished a 4,500 mile/3-week (actually turned into 4 weeks - but that's another story) trip - some of it "rushed" to get to the destination area across the country, then more leisurely for the duration, then "rushed" again to get home. On this trip, we were trying to get across country to our destination area quickly as we were meeting others in the area on a set day/time.

We both took turns driving on the way out - we ranged from 100 miles to 500 miles. We normally trade off every 2 to 2-½ hours at potty or gas stops on the longer legs and never drive faster than 65 mph.

For us, the 100-200 mile days are either a ½ day afternoon (after working ½ day) to get a head start on the trip or ½ day in the morning to move to a different area within the same general vicinity. These are the most fun days because, we arrive in time to see the sites at our new destination. This is usually our goal when traveling with others too because its always takes longer when traveling in a group.

The most manageable days on our own were 250-375 miles. These days are when we are still trying to "get there" but leave more time to stop & smell the roses or take a leisurely lunchtime stroll somewhere. We arrive much more relaxed and enjoyed the day (& each other!) more.

We had a couple of 475-525 mile days - these are not my favorite and we try not to plan two of these in a row...ever. On our first 500+ mile day this trip, we ran into severe T-Storms/hail & tornado watches traveling east in the same direction we were headed which slowed us down quite bit - the storm was basically following us the entire day. If we would have had some flexibility in our schedule, we would have stopped and waited it out. We switched off driving as normal, but it was not very enjoyable. The drive was pretty stressful and at times challenging. We were both worn out when we got to our destination - 12+ hours later. Too tired to do anything except grab a bite to eat and hit the sack.

For the second half of the trip - my husband had flown home and I was a solo driver. My longest day solo was 475 miles - but the weather was clear and the roads were all highways headed home. It wasn't bad - even as a solo driver with "stretch stops" every 2 to 2-½ hours, but I did enjoy the shorter (250-350 mile) days.

On occasion, we have done the "long haul, straight through" trips of 750-1,000 miles. For these, we will trade off every 3-½ to 4 hours and and have a bed set-up in the back of our SUV to sleep in-between shifts. Definitely NOT our preferred way to travel - but we've done it a couple of times.

I concur with:

Originally Posted by SilverWind (Post 2261143)
...experiment with various lengths until you find what truly makes you comfortable and happy.

So, since you are new to longer trips I would suggest starting off with 200-300 miles - see how you feel and then maybe adjust accordingly. Before long, you'll know what fits for you for your different trip circumstances.

Remember, it's supposed to be fun!

Shari :flowers:
Just a working chick - longing for retirement when I'm not so driven by schedule...

mayco 07-06-2019 02:33 PM


Originally Posted by Tschupp (Post 2261075)
We’ve been full time for 15 months and have changed travel styles significantly. We now prefer 4 hours or less per day. We may do that two or three days in a row to get to a desired location. Stay two weeks or more if the area is demanding more attention. We boon dock a lot. Out of the way spots are fine interspersed with stays at FH campgrounds for laundry etc. I think you find what is your comfort zone in travel. We are all about the travel, not so much about the getting there. I can’t think of any part of my life I have enjoyed so much as this last 15 months of travel.

I'm totally with you on this. We are not road warriors, we keep it laid back and explore new places as we go. Always allowing time to stay somewhere a couple of days if we like it. But, we're retired and have plenty of time. When we do get to our final destination, I'm not all worn out from multiple 6-8 hr days of driving. We also stay off the Interstates as much as we can, traveling mainly on US highway routes. It's amazing how many cool little campgrounds we find in and around small towns. Many times they are city run.

BobnGayl 07-06-2019 02:47 PM

We like to go 400-500 per day, depending on the type of trip, roads, traffic, weather, etc. Our worst, or best depending how you look at it, was 950. We didn't intend to go that far, but parks were full and nothing looked appealing, so we just kept going. We have also changed our type of camping. We still prefer state parks, except some states have really crappy parks and ridiculously high fees. We live in Michigan where we feel park fees are pretty fair, for residents and visitors alike. We had a few bad experiences where we went miles out of our way to a state park (in other states) only to find it was really awful. Now with on-line information this doesn't happen as much, but in the "good old days" it did. Now if we are only overnighting on a longer trip, we aren't adverse to commercial campgrounds. For longer stays we still prefer boondocking, National or State parks.

I haven't seen any mention of it, but internet has certainly made things easier, IMHO.

xrvr 07-06-2019 02:53 PM

The op asked for how many hours on the road per day. Some of us have a reading comprehension problem. We did about ten including stops.

Milo1952 07-06-2019 04:34 PM

driving distance
It all depends. Are there things you want to do/see along your route ?
Do you enjoy driving, or do you find it a necessary evil.
I have gone as many as 650 mi. ( would not recommend it ).
I try to top it out at 500 mi. max.
It also depends on how long the distance I am planning to travel.
I recently planned a trip to Utah. I leave after rush hour (7:30-8pm)and cover 200 mi the first nite. 2 days of 500 mi a day, that way we get in early to set up camp on the 4th day of travel. This way we have the rest of the day to explore.
Alaska would be different. Chicago to Alaska, stopping to see as much as we can, we plan on taking 3 months. Long days thru USA to Canada border.
Then as things become more scenic stopping whenever we like. We will not make reservations or travel plans as we plan to do a great deal of boondocking, with an occasional full hookup. The hardest thing for me was leaning how to

Milo1952 07-06-2019 04:45 PM

driving distance
We generally go by distance not time. If travel is fast we may cover more distance. Seeing as we do overnites in free parking lots it makes no sense to us to "get in early".Think Walmart.
If you are doing pay camping spots, then it may make sense to get in early and use the facilities. We tend to want to get to our destinations in a hurry, and then go at a relaxed when we get there.

A W Warn 07-06-2019 04:49 PM

Now that have free time every day, there is no need to rush. I might go 4 hours or 6. If I get tired I stop.
360 miles in 6 hours is a long day for me.

My longest day ever was 678 miles in about 13 hours. When I "had to be home " for work :-(

Lag323 07-06-2019 05:51 PM

Travel Time
6 hours 400 miles is my usual goal. I give myself a +\- 50 mile buffer. If I feel good, I keep going if not I stop. I’ll pre plan those stops and call the sites in advance and check availability. They’re usually pretty good about telling whether or not I should reserve a spot. I used to go 12 hours. Those days are done.

Lafitte 07-06-2019 06:35 PM

us 2

Originally Posted by PCJ (Post 2261160)
We're full timers so we go close to the 2, 2 & 2 rule which is always end the day by 2 PM, don't drive more than 200 miles and stay at least 2 days.

We travel 200-250 miles/ day , set up camp , relax and if in an interesting area ,stay 2 nites. If after 3-4 days travel , stay 2 nites no matter where. Sometimes stay longer depending on location. NO HURRY........ Being retired , it isn't a race ......

ejami5 07-06-2019 07:26 PM

I usually plan for 6 hours (including lunch) per day. I've had as little as 4 hours (due to unforeseen circumstances) and as much as 12 hours (just wanted to get to a destination). The night before I note 3-4 overnight options that takes in account less than or more than 6 hours. If I'm working from the AS, I plan ahead to drive long Saturdays and Sundays and stay in a nice campground for the work week (M-F). I have 2 generators (mainly for AC) in case I need to boondock overnight.

rowiebowie 07-06-2019 07:27 PM

We do driving vacations and rarely spend a second night in the same spot. So, depending on the distance between locations, it's nearly always at least 200 miles but never more than 300-350*. Not a problem as when we are enjoying the scenery the miles just flow by. We start late at about 9:00am but are not usually in camp until after 5:00 which makes for some uncertainty as we do not make reservations (thank heaven for Park Hosts).

* - Our only problem with miles is always on the last day or two of our trips. As much as I always promise myself I won't do it, the urge to get home takes over. Each time the mileage the last day ups to 400 miles or more. The latest trip home was from Amarillo to Corpus Christi (in one day trying to outrun bad weather) was 600 miles. Not a fun day, but for some reason I keep doing it that way and getting worse.:o

rkentb 07-06-2019 08:34 PM

Thanks for all the responses, guys. I’m planning our trip I think i’ll shoot for 300-400 miles between stops to start with. Then adjust things from there to find a good pace that works for us. Thanks for the help.

superChop 07-06-2019 09:54 PM

One more consideration
Thought I would jump in to the “advice” mode. Lots of different miles and hours provided in these comments. Here is a different perspective: 1. What time will you depart in the morning? Some folks leave early in the morning, others closer to checkout time. This has a big impact on hours to drive and park AS in daylight. 2. Will you drive after dark? Our headlights did poorly with only a small squat during our one night of driving during last year’s 8,000 mile cross country trip. We could not imagine how some Trucks with severe squat can see the road at night? 3. How many refueling stops do you want to make with truck and trailer? F150 has a 26 gallon tank @ 10 MPG, we need to stop at <200 miles. Hoping our new F250 with 34 gallon tank has longer legs. Stopping for gas can be most str stressful part of the day, waiting for an acceptable pump, and finding a place to park while using restroom and possibly picking up some food. Agree with other posters. Figure out a comfortable time to drive for your family and how fast you will drive and enjoy the journey. Seems like faster speeds (>65) wear you out quicker?

Life is a Highway 07-06-2019 10:26 PM

We are cast from the same mold I chuckled reading your post. I do find myself stopping at more rest stops and 1/2 tank fill ups. Feel better taking a stretch and checking on the trailer. that cuts into the mileage game.


Originally Posted by Mollysdad (Post 2260819)
I start off with a plan. 400 miles.
That goes out the window the first day. Suddenly, I'm in Atlanta and it's rush hour (always).
Then since I drive solo, no one tells me when to stop or take a break.
10 years ago I did 600 miles/day.Then I decided that was too much, but suddenly I find there's no campgrounds, or a large city is in the way, and I just keep going.
Also, keep in mind, I do this to get somewhere. There's nothing I want to stop for between my home and my destination. I relax when I arrive.

I'm trying to plan more, I've downloaded RV Trip Wizard and maybe (?) I'll have a reasonable destination next trip.

Also, the last day going home, I might push it just to get home. Last trip I did 675 miles on the last day.:blush:

chrisetmike 07-07-2019 06:30 AM

I have retirement envy right now :) My husband and I are both working full time so a lot of our trips are in a time crunch. We have to get there as quickly as possible.

We usually stay within the maritime provinces for most of our travels (2 to 4 hours range) but our last trip was to Connecticut. It took us 12 hours with the Airstream (pee and lunch breaks included) It is not something I would recommend to anyone. It was a very long haul.

Caffeinated 07-07-2019 09:10 AM

Our longest drive was 685 miles, Portland to Santa Nella, and that was a death march when I was a lot younger. Now, we try to keep it under five hours a day. Four is even better. It gives us time to something other than drive. This fall we are heading to the Bourbon trail carravan in Kentucky. We will give ourselves two weeks to get there, stopping along the way to see Cody, the Black Hills, a guitar store in Lawrence, KS...


geo 07-07-2019 11:26 AM


Originally Posted by rmkrum (Post 2260802)
I try to plan no more than 400 miles per day if I’m doing detailed planning. If it’s a casual trip, I drive until I get to a ‘reasonable’ spot and stop for the night. YMMV.

After our epic Airstream shakedown cruise, in which we arrived at our Jasper, AB, campsite around 11pm in the middle of a snowstorm (in September!), we learned to reset our range expectations. And we found that limiting driving time to six hours a day, not including rest stops, tends to work out best. At maximum towing speeds, that works out to around 630 km (400 miles) per day.

A particularly important rule of thumb for us is to avoid arriving at a campsite after dark. That way it’s a lot easier to set things up, get a good night’s sleep, and wake up refreshed the next day.

PKI 07-07-2019 11:33 AM

A point worth considering. Often a short distance/time is the result of a single driver and the time they feel comfortable driving. It is appropriate to co-drive. There will come a time when a second driver is needed. It may be because of injury/illness, or it may be because a schedule demands more than 6-10 hrs of travel. In any case, two competent drivers makes travel safer and easier. The way you become competent is seat time. Even if it's only Interstates with no major cities in your way, get seat time as a driver. The same is true for navigating. If you doze off as the passenger, you are not doing your fair share. Give the driver info on what is coming, following and hazards that may have been missed. Four eyes is better than two. Navigating takes practice to learn what is helpful to the driver and what is distracting. Work together as a team and your relationship grows. The travel is more enjoyable and some efficiency develops over time. It's good out there. Enjoy the ride. :). Pat

jcanavera 07-07-2019 12:11 PM

I usually will travel no more than 300-400 miles a day. I tow between 55-60 mph, and if you consider gas stops, food and bathroom stops my average speed is about 50 mph. So I am on the road about 8 hours a day unless we run into delays on the highway. On multiple day drives I'll pick and reserve an overnight campground in that 350-400 mile range.


banderabob 07-07-2019 05:43 PM

Answers as varied as the responders. Max for us is 500, though incredibly our longest was +/- 1,000.....Destin to Bandera. Foolish in retrospect, but there was a reason. Anyhow, we do what is comfortable based on 1) are we shooting for a final destination in a specific period of time, or 2) are we on a long pleasure trip of multiple weeks (or months) where the journey is more important than any particular destination and there are things to do or see along the way. It's really whatever works for you. Though I will admit that every year, what works for me gets a bit shorter.

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