Overnight near Atlanta?

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lazydavid
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Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:00 am

We're planning a trip next year, driving from the Chicago suburbs to south Florida, and it looks like somewhere around Atlanta would be good place to stop the first day (we want the second day to be shorter). Can anyone recommend a good area? Definitely does not need to be in the city, as we'll only be there from ~6pm until 5am. We'd be looking for a relatively inexpensive, nice clean hotel close to I-75 with decent restaurants nearby so we can grab a nice dinner and crash.

Rupert
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by Rupert » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:06 am

I would not stop in Atlanta or in the Atlanta suburbs. In fact, I'd do my best to avoid driving through Atlanta at certain times of day (e.g., 4-7 p.m.). If you want a shorter trip the second day, you'll need to stay south of Atlanta anyway. You'll find all the usual chain hotels and restaurants at almost any interstate exit in Macon or Warner Robins.

lazydavid
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:15 am

Rupert wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:06 am
I would not stop in Atlanta or in the Atlanta suburbs. In fact, I'd do my best to avoid driving through Atlanta at certain times of day (e.g., 4-7 p.m.).
I know traffic is bad during the week, but we would be arriving on Saturday and departing very early Sunday morning. Is that still a problem?

bgf
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by bgf » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:22 am

lazydavid wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:15 am
Rupert wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:06 am
I would not stop in Atlanta or in the Atlanta suburbs. In fact, I'd do my best to avoid driving through Atlanta at certain times of day (e.g., 4-7 p.m.).
I know traffic is bad during the week, but we would be arriving on Saturday and departing very early Sunday morning. Is that still a problem?
Totally depends. There could be construction, sports or other events, etc. I do not avoid Atlanta entirely unless I would be traveling through during rush hour, but you are by no means assured of safe passage by going on the weekend.

If you are staying on 75 then as the prior poster said, your best bet is probably Macon.
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Super Hans
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by Super Hans » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:37 am

It may not work out with the 6 pm to 5 am plan, but we enjoyed stopping by this National Park Service site in Macon last year:

https://www.nps.gov/ocmu/index.htm

bob60014
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by bob60014 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:45 am

Traffic around Atlanta is similar to being on the Kennedy Xpwy, its busy nearly all the time. I've done this trip a couple times, nw burbs of Chicago to TPA and stayed in the Marietta area. I've had decent luck taking 285 around the west side of ATL reconnecting to 75 near Heartsfield. Leaving early Sunday morning you'll probably be ok. I use Waze for real time traffic conditions/updates.
Last edited by bob60014 on Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

bradshaw1965
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by bradshaw1965 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:51 am

Just one anecdotal datapoint for Atlanta weekend traffic, there seems to be significant ongoing weekend construction and my travel times have been as bad as commute times on 85, 75 and 285.

lazydavid
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:02 am

If 4-7 is bad even on Saturday, would we better off stopping for dinner north of the city (Kennesaw, for example), and then driving through to Macon afterwards? Or staying north and leaving super-early Sunday morning?

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climber2020
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by climber2020 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:06 am

lazydavid wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:00 am
We're planning a trip next year, driving from the Chicago suburbs to south Florida, and it looks like somewhere around Atlanta would be good place to stop the first day (we want the second day to be shorter). Can anyone recommend a good area? Definitely does not need to be in the city, as we'll only be there from ~6pm until 5am. We'd be looking for a relatively inexpensive, nice clean hotel close to I-75 with decent restaurants nearby so we can grab a nice dinner and crash.
If you can tolerate an extra hour and a half of driving, Macon is a good area to stop over. Much less crowded than Atlanta, plenty of hotels and food, and I-75 runs right through it.

Silk McCue
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by Silk McCue » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:15 am

You don't need to go as far as Macon once getting through Atlanta. There are plenty of hotels available south of the city proper. If you can't make it through Atlanta then Kennesaw has some good options that I have used in the past including Marriott Towneplace Suites that have 2 bedroom units at very reasonable prices.

From my experience driving from our place in NC to Florida on Sunday mornings a few times this year traffic around 9am has been at full speed most of the time. You should check out a few options North and South of the city and book while in transit depending upon the progress you are experiencing.

Use the Waze App for the whole trip. It does an excellent job of giving you a heads up on problems and suggesting alternate routes.

Cheers

lazydavid
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:18 am

Silk McCue wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:15 am
Use the Waze App for the whole trip. It does an excellent job of giving you a heads up on problems and suggesting alternate routes.
For sure. The wife's new car has Android Auto (a baseline requirement when we were shopping), so it will be Waze for the entire trip.

longleaf
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by longleaf » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:09 am

There are hotels on 475 which bypass Macon. Or do Forsyth.

Sunday mornings are typically okay through Atlanta...
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lazydavid
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:59 pm

So I laid this out on Google Maps (which presumably is not taking traffic/construction into account), and based on the following assumptions:

Leave at 4am, drive for 3 hours before breakfast
1 hour for breakfast, 35 minutes for lunch
Drive in 2 hour segments other than the first, 10-15 minute stop if not mealtime

We would be just south of Atlanta (in the vicinity of the airport) at about 6pm local time on Saturday. We could then either quit for the day, or break for dinner, and then push on to Macon, getting there around 8:30pm.

Does that seem realistic?

niceguy7376
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by niceguy7376 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:07 pm

Next year trip on a weekend night in Atlanta - You should be ok unless you are doing the drive during superbowl weekend (it is in atlanta).

As for hotels, every other exit from around Dalton (one hr north) to Macon (1 hr south ) will have hotel rooms available. You can either go with the flow or make a reservation and stick to it.

Atlanta to Tampa is a minimum of 7 hours drive (450 miles).

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Watty
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by Watty » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:14 pm

On the way back try to avoid driving from Florida to Atlanta on a Sunday. That is usually a heavy traffic day with other people returning from Florida to be at work on Monday.

Driving from Atlanta to South Florida would be a very long days drive, I would normally do it in two days so that you could arrive in South Florida sometime around midday the second day and not be exhausted when you arrive.

The drive from Chicago to Atlanta is similar.

To go from Chicago to Atlanta I would plan on three days where you could spend the second night somewhere around the Georgia/Florida border.

lazydavid
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:46 pm

niceguy7376 wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:07 pm
Next year trip on a weekend night in Atlanta - You should be ok unless you are doing the drive during superbowl weekend (it is in atlanta).
No, it'll be towards the end of March, so 1.5 months after the SB?
Watty wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:14 pm
On the way back try to avoid driving from Florida to Atlanta on a Sunday. That is usually a heavy traffic day with other people returning from Florida to be at work on Monday.
We're leaving on Friday, planning on doing the 1 long/1 short thing again, hoping to make it to Nashville on the first day, spend 2 nights there and then a comparatively easy drive home on Sunday. But I'm now realizing I have to be really careful about timing that because of Atlanta's rush hour.
Watty wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:14 pm
Driving from Atlanta to South Florida would be a very long days drive, I would normally do it in two days so that you could arrive in South Florida sometime around midday the second day and not be exhausted when you arrive.

The drive from Chicago to Atlanta is similar.

To go from Chicago to Atlanta I would plan on three days where you could spend the second night somewhere around the Georgia/Florida border.
It's about 20 hours total according to Google/Waze. The rough plan is to do 11-12 hours the first day, then 8-9 the second, arriving in the afternoon on Sunday.

We have 9 days total (Saturday through the following Sunday). If we take 3 days to get to Atlanta, another 2 to get to Pompano, and the same on the way back, we're driving for one day longer than we have, and spending zero time at the destination. That's not going to work for my wife :twisted:

Silk McCue
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by Silk McCue » Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:16 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:46 pm
niceguy7376 wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:07 pm
Next year trip on a weekend night in Atlanta - You should be ok unless you are doing the drive during superbowl weekend (it is in atlanta).
No, it'll be towards the end of March, so 1.5 months after the SB?
Watty wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:14 pm
On the way back try to avoid driving from Florida to Atlanta on a Sunday. That is usually a heavy traffic day with other people returning from Florida to be at work on Monday.
We're leaving on Friday, planning on doing the 1 long/1 short thing again, hoping to make it to Nashville on the first day, spend 2 nights there and then a comparatively easy drive home on Sunday. But I'm now realizing I have to be really careful about timing that because of Atlanta's rush hour.
Watty wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:14 pm
Driving from Atlanta to South Florida would be a very long days drive, I would normally do it in two days so that you could arrive in South Florida sometime around midday the second day and not be exhausted when you arrive.

The drive from Chicago to Atlanta is similar.

To go from Chicago to Atlanta I would plan on three days where you could spend the second night somewhere around the Georgia/Florida border.
It's about 20 hours total according to Google/Waze. The rough plan is to do 11-12 hours the first day, then 8-9 the second, arriving in the afternoon on Sunday.

We have 9 days total (Saturday through the following Sunday). If we take 3 days to get to Atlanta, another 2 to get to Pompano, and the same on the way back, we're driving for one day longer than we have, and spending zero time at the destination. That's not going to work for my wife :twisted:
I don’t know all of your logistics but if it were me and my wife I would be looking for the cheapest non stop from Chicago to anywhere within a nominal drive of Pompano (I say that in case the airfares are significantly different close to Pompano - Orlando is a 3 hour drive away) and rent a car with a great rate. If using Southwest you could then possibly fly nonstop to Nashville on the return, spend a couple of days and do your next leg back to Chicago. Compare that to hotel costs, food, a boatload of driving, gas etc and you may come out very close on price and you will certainly have more well deserved down time.

Cheers

lazydavid
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:56 pm

Silk McCue wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:16 pm
I don’t know all of your logistics but if it were me and my wife I would be looking for the cheapest non stop from Chicago to anywhere within a nominal drive of Pompano (I say that in case the airfares are significantly different close to Pompano - Orlando is a 3 hour drive away) and rent a car with a great rate. If using Southwest you could then possibly fly nonstop to Nashville on the return, spend a couple of days and do your next leg back to Chicago. Compare that to hotel costs, food, a boatload of driving, gas etc and you may come out very close on price and you will certainly have more well deserved down time.
We would fly if we could, but are looking to drive to save costs. There are four of us, all except the 11-year old are well over 6 feet, and we have an extremely difficult time flying coach. Discounted first to MCO would run about $3900, while to FLL is over five grand. Even coach is over $2k, Southwest or otherwise. Add in the rental car (everyone being tall makes rental cars more expensive too), parking at the airport, and we're getting close to $3k. Excluding food (since we'd eat anyway), roundtrip costs to drive should be around $500 for gas and hotels.

Silk McCue
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by Silk McCue » Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:01 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:56 pm

We would fly if we could, but are looking to drive to save costs. There are four of us, all except the 11-year old are well over 6 feet, and we have an extremely difficult time flying coach. Discounted first to MCO would run about $3900, while to FLL is over five grand. Even coach is over $2k, Southwest or otherwise. Add in the rental car (everyone being tall makes rental cars more expensive too), parking at the airport, and we're getting close to $3k. Excluding food (since we'd eat anyway), roundtrip costs to drive should be around $500 for gas and hotels.

Those were the sort of unknown “logistics” I was loosely referring to.

Cheers

lazydavid
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:17 pm

Silk McCue wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:01 pm
Those were the sort of unknown “logistics” I was loosely referring to.

Cheers
No worries!

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Watty
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by Watty » Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:38 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:46 pm
It's about 20 hours total according to Google/Waze. The rough plan is to do 11-12 hours the first day, then 8-9 the second, arriving in the afternoon on Sunday.
It would add an extra night in a hotel but I would look at leaving after work on Friday evening to get three or four hours outside of Chicago to make the other two days driving easier. If you have jobs were you can leave mid afternoon on Friday that would even be better.

When you are returning you can have an early diner with the people you are visiting then get a couple of hours driving the first night.

I did a long road trip this summer and I almost never made reservations until late in the afternoon, often I waited until after 7:00 PM to make a reservation. I used the Expedia app on my phone and sometimes I got very good last minute rates. That way I could judge better how long I wanted to drive that day and not drive when I was overly tired just because I had 100 more miles to get to where I had made a my hotel reservation. Most days I could drive farther than I expected and if I had a reservation I would have had to stop early.

Purelife304
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by Purelife304 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:46 pm

Go visit Marietta. There is the historic square there with several restaurants/bars and a new brewery. Just a couple minutes from the square is the Hilton Conference Center Atlanta/Marietta. A bit more expensive than a roadside hotel, but well worth it, it's a historic site as well.

Traffic on Sunday morning will not be an issue.

:sharebeer

lazydavid
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:46 am

Watty wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:38 pm
It would add an extra night in a hotel but I would look at leaving after work on Friday evening to get three or four hours outside of Chicago to make the other two days driving easier. If you have jobs were you can leave mid afternoon on Friday that would even be better.
We'll definitely consider this, as we could leave around 3:30, hopefully just barely missing carmageddon coming around the bottom of the lake. But if we do get caught in it that'll be a very bad afternoon. Best case scenario we could probably make it a bit past Indianapolis before stopping for the night. It would likely increase the cost two ways--obviously the extra hotel night, but also because if we're driving through Indianapolis at dinnertime, the car might navigate itself straight to St. Elmo Steakhouse :twisted: But then again, the fact that there will be 40k people 2 blocks away at Lucas Oil Stadium for the Nike Mid-East Qualifier might mitigate that. :P
Watty wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:38 pm
When you are returning you can have an early diner with the people you are visiting then get a couple of hours driving the first night.
I don't know that the payoff's really there for this one, as we wouldn't make it very far starting at 7 or 7:30, and if we did push it pretty late that night, we'd likely wind up stuck in Atlanta's Friday morning rush hour the next day.
Watty wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:38 pm
I did a long road trip this summer and I almost never made reservations until late in the afternoon, often I waited until after 7:00 PM to make a reservation. I used the Expedia app on my phone and sometimes I got very good last minute rates. That way I could judge better how long I wanted to drive that day and not drive when I was overly tired just because I had 100 more miles to get to where I had made a my hotel reservation. Most days I could drive farther than I expected and if I had a reservation I would have had to stop early.
I think this is what we're going to do. Makes it less likely that we'll be able to find a vacancy at one of the few hotels (Homewood Suites, Towneplace Suites) that have 2-bedroom units available, but lets us go exactly as far as we want to go in the moment. And as you point out, last minute rates might be quite attractive--perhaps getting 2 rooms for less than the cost of prebooking a 2br.

surveyor
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by surveyor » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:45 am

$500 apiece for coach should tell you something. Lots of people heading to Florida. Those are not typical coach fares. Spring Break?

That will have an effect on traffic. From my experience, heading down isn't bad. Coming back, even on a Saturday, is a solid line of traffic typically maintaining 65-70 mph with frequent congestion slowdowns. Worst traffic ever was returning from spring break last year on a Saturday. Hours extra.

FLL? If you're heading to southeast Florida I'd strongly consider heading out I-74 in Indianapolis to I-75 to Knoxville then shoot over to Asheville and Columbia and pick up I-95 before Charleston. 95 in South Carolina is a crappy 2 lane road in each direction but it improves dramatically when you get to Georgia. That route is generally 20 miles longer but avoids Louisville, Nashville, Chattanooga and Atlanta. One slowdown in Atlanta will make up the difference - not to mention the drive is less stressful.

lazydavid
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:14 pm

surveyor wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:45 am
$500 apiece for coach should tell you something. Lots of people heading to Florida. Those are not typical coach fares. Spring Break?

That will have an effect on traffic. From my experience, heading down isn't bad. Coming back, even on a Saturday, is a solid line of traffic typically maintaining 65-70 mph with frequent congestion slowdowns. Worst traffic ever was returning from spring break last year on a Saturday. Hours extra.
Yes, it's spring break. We will be leaving Florida early Friday, though. So Saturday (or more likely Sunday) driving should be Tennessee to Chicago or thereabouts. I would assume that wouldn't be too bad.
surveyor wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:45 am
FLL? If you're heading to southeast Florida I'd strongly consider heading out I-74 in Indianapolis to I-75 to Knoxville then shoot over to Asheville and Columbia and pick up I-95 before Charleston. 95 in South Carolina is a crappy 2 lane road in each direction but it improves dramatically when you get to Georgia. That route is generally 20 miles longer but avoids Louisville, Nashville, Chattanooga and Atlanta. One slowdown in Atlanta will make up the difference - not to mention the drive is less stressful.
Thanks for the alternate route. The google machine says it's about 60 miles longer (1,438 miles vs. 1,374), and adds about 70 minutes. But obviously that doesn't take potential traffic into account. Would it be smarter to look into this for the route home, or no because it's going right up the coast?

surveyor
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by surveyor » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:05 am

That's weird because I'm in the north Indy burbs and it's only 20 miles longer. At 60 miles I wouldn't do it unless I knew there was ongoing construction. FWIW Spring Break for most of Indiana (and seemingly Michigan based on traffic) is last weekend in March into April. If you're the week prior you might avoid a lot of the traffic we typically see.

lazydavid
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by lazydavid » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:27 am

surveyor wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:05 am
That's weird because I'm in the north Indy burbs and it's only 20 miles longer. At 60 miles I wouldn't do it unless I knew there was ongoing construction. FWIW Spring Break for most of Indiana (and seemingly Michigan based on traffic) is last weekend in March into April. If you're the week prior you might avoid a lot of the traffic we typically see.
This year the transition from March into April actually happens on the weekend, so not sure whether we're the week prior or not. Planning on leaving home March 22nd or 23rd, and leaving Florida on Friday the 29th.

Beach
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by Beach » Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:10 pm

Fly Allegiant out of Indianapolis. They go to Ft Lauderdale and its cheap. I understand your tall, but is a 2 hour flight better than 20 hours of driving?

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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by KyleAAA » Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:29 pm

Doesn't sound like you'll have time to do anything in the city, so I wouldn't bother staying there. Sunday morning traffic should be fairly light (unless you run into construction) so I'd probably stop in Marietta. It has a nice little square with good restaurants and is right off 75. FYI, the drive from Atlanta to Miami is around 10 hours, so it's not a short day by any stretch, and that's assuming no stops. 75 north going into Atlanta is usually backed up on Sundays due to beach-goers returning from their long weekends.

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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by lazydavid » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:54 pm

Beach wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:10 pm
Fly Allegiant out of Indianapolis. They go to Ft Lauderdale and its cheap. I understand your tall, but is a 2 hour flight better than 20 hours of driving?
I'm going to say no, this particular 2.5 hour flight is not better than 20 hours of driving. Because in reality, it's a 4 hr drive to the airport, 2 hours at the airport, a 2.5 hr flight, another hour at FLL, and another half hour drive to our destination. Half the total travel time, yes. But there are other mitigating factors that make it far less appealing.

The main problem is I only fly mainline carriers. There are two primary reasons for this. First and foremost is fleet maintenance and upkeep. In Allegiant's case, the fact that their CEO presided over ValuJet during the period that included the Flight 592 tragedy is particularly troubling. Second is seat pitch, which I'll discuss further below. Finally, mainline carriers tend to take care of you during IRROPS, while value carriers typically do not.

Seat pitch is the real issue. I'll almost always get off a coach flight with a sore back, but the problems get exponentially worse the tighter the pitch. I'll usually pay extra for Main Cabin Extra on AA (even when travelling for business, which my employer does not reimburse) because the 35" seat pitch lets me shift my legs around and minimize the damage. On a 3-hr flight with 31" pitch, the pain gets quite bad, and if the person in front of me reclines at all I typically can't walk upright for 2-3 days afterwards. From what I'm reading, Allegiant has a 28" pitch, which I expect would leave me crippled for at least a week.

Then there's cost. That flight from Indy to FLL is $2300, or about $200 more than coach on AA out of ORD (less than 10% of the distance to Indianapolis), probably a hair cheaper than MCE on AA. Add in baggage charges and we'll call it $2600 roundtrip, plus parking at the airport, plus car rental, plus an ambulance ride to the resort :P and we're almost certainly over $3k.

lazydavid
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Re: Overnight near Atlanta?

Post by lazydavid » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:25 pm

KyleAAA wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:29 pm
Doesn't sound like you'll have time to do anything in the city, so I wouldn't bother staying there. Sunday morning traffic should be fairly light (unless you run into construction) so I'd probably stop in Marietta. It has a nice little square with good restaurants and is right off 75. FYI, the drive from Atlanta to Miami is around 10 hours, so it's not a short day by any stretch, and that's assuming no stops. 75 north going into Atlanta is usually backed up on Sundays due to beach-goers returning from their long weekends.
Yeah I wasn't planning on staying in Atlanta, was just that looking at the timing, that general vicinity seemed like a decent place to stop. If we get a few hours headstart Friday night as another poster suggested, then Saturday we might actually stop around the Georgia/Florida border, perhaps Valdosta or Lake City depending on how we're feeling.

But you're the second person to recommend downtown Marietta, so that's definitely going to be high on the options list if the Atlanta area turns out to be where we're stopping Saturday night.

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