First time driving

Anyone in the Illinois area help please. Going to Disney next week and wanted to know the best driving route from Illinois and stop for the night in Macon Georgia and to Disney the next morning. First time driving down there.

What part of Illinois, what time do you want to leave out, does it have to be Macon, and lastly, do you have more than one driver?

Northlake area. Live right off 290 highway. Planning to leave like 2am-3am. We don’t have to stay in Macon but was researching and read to pass Atlanta and not to hit traffic hour.

No just one driver

DH drives for a living and he says take 294 south to 80/94 East to 65 south. Then take 65 to 24 east to 75 south. That will run you through Georgia to Florida.

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Time going around Atl is key. Looks like a good plan.

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Awesome thanks

There is no such thing as a good time to go through Atlanta - avoid it if at all possible.


There is almost no way to avoid Atlanta if you are going from north to south in the state of Georgia. So just brace for impact! lol Safe travels. The better advice would be set a course to your closest airport lol

We are not from Illinois but Macon is just a little over half way for us and is always our stopping point going down. We like that it gets the hassle of Atlanta out of the way so that the next day is a breeze. Not sure of your schedule but we have found that coming through Atlanta later in the evening helps. Around 9pm the traffic has still been busy but no slow downs. However, coming back home we hit it at 5-6pm once and sat for hours. Won’t ever do that again.

This has been our experience. Even when we managed to hit Atlanta at an “off time”, it was still a major backup due to an accident. The bypass is no better. In fact, in our our February trip, there was an accident on 75 AND the bypass (85?). Basically, make sure you hit a rest area before you get too close to Atlanta. Once you’re in the city, you’re doomed. (Last trip, no joke, I watched a guy pull off the side of the freeway and pee right there in the open. Can’t blame him, though. Not sure what else you could do.)

We drive from Michigan, so for us, the drive is 75 all the way down.

Now that is my fear because I have four children and the youngest just turned 1 and doesn’t like her carseat and my boys well there boys. I’m taking lots of snacks and things for them to entertain themselves. So is the best time to hit the road is at night?

We have five kids. Done the trip to Florida many times. But we don’t mind driving. Kids have been well trained. The more you do it, the more normal it seems.

Our trip is roughly the same distance (coming from Ann Arbor, MI area). We generally drive down on day 1 to Chattanooga. This puts you about 2 hours outside of Atlanta. If you leave at about 8:30 to 9, you hit Atlanta close to 11. It will still be really busy, but not AS busy as if you hit between 6:30 and 10:30.

The trouble with the night driving is that I feel it is more dangerous, plus it means you end up more exhausted when you arrive. I prefer to arrive to our destination, if possible, before it is dark, personally. Plus, the kids can watch movies on the drive during the day, plus do other things like read, play eye spy, etc… Once it is dark, the movie option is there…but that makes me nervous because it can be a distraction to other drivers on the road.

Thank you ryan1 good tips. You stay in Chattanooga for the night then about 8:30am you hit the road the next morning? I agree with the night driving. I afraid my husband will fall asleep on the road. It’s our actual first road trip so I am excited and nervous at the same time.

Yes. Granted, you will still have a slow go in Atlanta. There just is no avoiding it! But Chattanooga is just past halfway. You can even go slightly further if you want on day one if you can find a hotel in Dalton area, for example. More options in Chattanooga, although they are a little more expensive. Finding hotel rooms for a family of 5, 6, or 7, however, we generally stick to Comfort Suites.

Oh, I should add that if you hit Atlanta on the weekend, it is usually a little better than the week days. So if you can schedule your travel day through Atlanta to fall on Sunday, you’ll have the most luck!

I pretty much hate long drives; the 7 hours it takes me to get to Orlando is about the limit of what I will do alone. I have a hard time staying awake (for me, the worst time is between 2:00 and 4:00 PM, so I leave at crack of dawn early so I can be in Orlando by around 2:00). On longer trips Cindy and I split the driving; she doesn’t mind “open” highway driving at all, but hates it when we get into “city” highway driving, so she does a lot of the long haul stuff and I take over when we approach a metro area. Our internal time clocks complement ear other well; she’s NOT a morning person, but has no problems with the mid-late afternoon shift.

I do all of the driving, both there and back. My wife HATES driving, even around home. One trip, I got really sleepy on the drive back at one point, so we pulled off at a McDonalds for lunch. There was a Play Place and told my wife that they had to fill the next hour and a half while I slept in the car. :slight_smile:

Only had to do that once. But as the drives drag on, we save the “best music” (meaning the music I like to sing to) for those times. Singing keeps me alert. We do a lot of Les Miserables at those times!

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We actually have to be at Disney on saturday so we have to hit the road friday. I totally forgot to take into consideration of the time change. We are an hour behind. After reading threads regarding Atlanta’s traffic nightmare its frightening me. Granted our traffic in Chicago is the worst to me but seems like no comparison to Atlanta’s. Also, good pointing out regarding the hotels. They are more expensive for 5 ppl or more and I notice that there is not a lot of hotels that can accommodate 5 or more ppl.

Not sure. Probably similar. I mean, if you are just mentally prepared for it, it is okay. You’ll have a lot of time to see Atlanta. Look for the Olympic Torch. Look for GTU, that kind of thing. But if you are used to Chicago traffic, it shouldn’t be “nightmarish”.

In our last trip, there was an accident that shut down ALL lanes at the center of Atlanta except the right-most lane, and the HOV lane. (In Atlanta, that’s like 10 lanes closed!!!) So it took about 2 hours to get through. Other times, though, we’ve been through Atlanta in 30 minutes. You just never know. But there really is no alternative. If you take the Bypass, it adds a lot of time and often is more time. Just pay attention to what Google Maps recommends (or whatever nav you use) in real-time if you can.

This is why Comfort Suites is our go-to. Usually can find a suite that accommodates 6 people (7 sometimes…when they were young, we had a small cot that we’d bring), for about $130/night. But that includes a free breakfast. But I recommend reserving as early as possible, especially since it looks like you’ll need to reserve the room on a Friday night.