18 answers

Ohio to Alaska - Drive or Fly?

Hi moms! Here is my dilema lol. We are being transfered from Ohio to Alaska. We are leaving on a house hunting trip soon (we are flying) and in about 3 months we will make the big move. They have given us the option of driving or flying when we make the actual move. Flying would be quicker and easier - except it takes 40 days to ship our car. So we could drive instead. The upside to driving - get to see the country, they pay for everything (food, gas, hotels and mileage), plus no waiting for our car. The down side - omg it's 4,000 miles! It would take about 10 days. We have a 4 year old child and a dog. My husband really wants to drive. He wants to see all the sights (especially driving through Canada). I am not sure what to do. I want to drive too, but I am afraid a few days in and I am going to be regretting it! Whats your advice? Drive or fly?

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My friend just moved from HI to FL, driving with a 1 1/2 y. She said it was the best trip ever! They saw many of the sights, could control when they stopped and so forth. My vote is to drive.

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When I was traveling cross country I met a man who was driving their car while his wife and children flew. I say 4,000 miles is just too long for a 4 yo. I also wonder about the roads to Alaska from US. They used to be in very poor shape. I don't know how they are now.

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I'm a huge fan of driving. That'd be my vote. I'm in Ohio, too, and we drive to Florida a couple of times a year. It's only a quarter of what you're talking about, but we do it in one to two days - we started doing it when my son was about 5. But I would make it a vacation and make stops along the way to sight see - Chicago has a great Legoland (that's 5 hours from Columbus), that'd be stop one -- Mt. Rushmore would be in there somewhere, Seattle's fish market, and I don't know what else. But that's how I'd do it. If not now for the move, at some point, that'd be a great experience for everyone. My friend moved from Columbus to Austin and that's what they did -- sightseeing the whole way.

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ALCAN highway in the SEP / OCT timeframe is NOT a road I would want to be driving on. When you leave Ohio, things will be fine ... but as you get to the ALCAN, probably not so much. Suggest buying the annual MILEPOST book now, so that when you get to AK, you have some ideas of things you can see while you are there, both on the house hunting trip and once you move there. AK is BEAUTIFUL ... we spent 1 month inland while I was a youngster (Dad was stationed in the islands) and used the MILEPOST for all our traveling inland. Best wishes and enjoy this time in beautiful surroundings.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Milepost-2012-Kris-Valencia/dp/...

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I wouldn't pass up the chance to have the ultimate, all expenses paid, roadtrip. Is it possible to stretch it out longer, so you can make more/longer stops? It would be an amazing experience, especially for your son!

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I would fly in a heart beat. We drove from Houston to Conneticut with a kid. Took us 3 days because said child and hubby got sick. I swore I would NEVER do that again. We drive a lot but that is just too much time in a car for a child.

Is selling your car in Ohio and purchasing a new one in Alaska an option?

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My MIL drove to Alaska a couple of times in her life. My cousin drove to Oklahoma every couple of years. It took her 9 days to make the trip in her little rabbit.

I can honestly say I would take the vehicle and minimal items and drive. Sight see, take your time, plan on stopping in the tourist traps, see America and Canada up front. It may be the only time you do the drive and it will be wonderful. There are all kinds of side trips to take, glaciers to see, small towns that put on shows for tourists, there are lots of ships that do the Inside Passage every few days so I know the towns along the coast have a good tourist business going. It won't be just another small town with nothing to see or do.

Also, if you are going to be in the Anchorage area during the winter months find out if the still do the racing on the frozen lake. My sister did that when she lived there with my Uncle. She got to meet one of the Smother's Brothers and a price of some European country. It was a great big deal way back then...

I think if I had a good vehicle and could do traveling comfortably then it would be my first choice. Flying is fun I hear but seeing the wonder of creation is more fulfilling to me.

When my MIL was dying she said she had one regret. She didn't take enough pictures. She would have liked to be able to sit and look at albums and reminisce. It was sort of sad since she had met Ronald Regan, he held my hubby for a long time that day. My FIL is retired Navy and Ronald Regan was filming Hellcats of the Navy. He got to meet him and took my MIL and hubby, who was an infant at the time, so it was fun to be able to say he met him...she didn't get any pictures of this.

I would say take a video camera and a good camera that is waterproof, maybe a digital one so you can download your pictures at the end of each day then have more empty space for the next day.

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I would love the drive, but I don't think you're going to be happy after a couple of long days in the car with your 4 YO. He is going to get very bored. In fact, I can just see my GD crying when she's told after 3 days on the road that there are only 7 left! LOL!

For the sake of sanity, I would fly.

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I would drive. We drive from FL to Ohio every year (ok not this summer because my vacation is gone due to surgery). It's fun to stop when you need food, gas or want to see a site. Plus you have your car once your in Alaska to drive around and learn your new town, get some food, etc. What a fun move!

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I say drive. But make it an adventure, and don't set the limit on 10 days. Stretch it out to 14 or 20 days so that you can take breaks and not be in a rush.

I was just actually reading this article the other day, and it might be of help to you:
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2012/06/buildin...

You will probably not get another chance to do this. And while your 4yo will probably not remember a lot of it, it will be the trip of a lifetime for you & DH to remember. :)

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My friend just moved from HI to FL, driving with a 1 1/2 y. She said it was the best trip ever! They saw many of the sights, could control when they stopped and so forth. My vote is to drive.

2 moms found this helpful

Will the company also pay if something happens to your car along the way? That is ALOT of driving in a relatively short amount of time! Is there anyway that your husband could drive part of it and you could fly somewhere part way with your child and meet him? That way you have your car immediately and you still get to experience some of the sights along the route?

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Oh boy that's a tough question . . . I just drove from southern Florida to TN/NC/VA and that seemed long (1400 miles one way). If you have your doggie with you (we did too) it makes it a bit tougher to stop, because many places are not dog friendly.

I would also be worried about putting that many miles on my car.

I would also factor in the emotion of packing up and leaving Ohio. That could be more intense and wearing than you might think.

On the other hand I love the idea of seeing all the scenery too. And it would be a great transition to your new life! I would just feel better if it were more comfortable for all of you.

Good luck with your decision!

1 mom found this helpful

DRIVE!!! That's my first instinct!!! BUT, things to consider...will your car make it?? Do you need/have passports to get thru Canada? Will your dog be permitted everywhere; including Canada?? Do you have videos and games, toys, etc. to keep your 4-year old occupied??

If this were me I would map it out and drive! Try and see everything along the way if you have the time - don't need to spend a lot of time at each spot but still try and see everything there is to see!!

Years ago we took my sister out to college in Kansas - took us two weeks to get there because my Daddy had mapped it out so we could see everything there was to see!! Mount Rushmore sticks in my brain as the coolest thing we saw!! I'm soooooooo glad he did this because I would never have gotten to any of these places on my own as an adult! We camped most of the way; only stayed in hotels when the weather was really bad. And nowadays, with being able to find everything on the internet via your cell phones, shouldn't be a problem along the way.

Are you a member of AAA? If not, I would sign up and get them to map it and/or just use them to get all the maps and info. you need.

Whichever way you decide, HAVE A WONDERFUL TIME!!!! Oh, and just a sidenote.... get all the drugs out of your car before you cross into Canada!! lol!!! Just kidding!!!

Just curious...what type of a job is this for and where in Alaska??

Good luck!!!

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DRIVE! Once in a lifetime opportunity. I do think you will face some challenges and I can see why you would be concerned about those. I am kind of jealous actually. Keep us posted as to your decision and of course how it goes afterwards.

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Drive. Take lots of pictures. You may never get another opportunity like this. You'll probably fly back and forth visiting relatives. Take this time to drive. It will give you something more to talk about with your new neighbors. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

When I was traveling cross country I met a man who was driving their car while his wife and children flew. I say 4,000 miles is just too long for a 4 yo. I also wonder about the roads to Alaska from US. They used to be in very poor shape. I don't know how they are now.

1 mom found this helpful

Drive - for all the reasons stated already - once in a lifetime chance and it's paid for!!

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My husband once drove from Vegas to Ohio with a friend to bring back friend's mom's car. He enjoyed some sights but said most of that trek was flat and not so scenic and wouldn't do again. The only way I'd consider something like this is if I rented a motor home, plotted out campgrounds (state parks and KOA), and towed the car (what about trading your car in and buying through an Alaska dealership, another thought?). For one, I wouldn't want 4k miles on my car, for two, you are talking 8 hours of driving per day which doesn't leave much time for sightseeing. I'd also want at least 2.5 weeks so you can have some down time. Your 4 year old, the dog, and both of you will need it if you opt to drive.

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It's a toss up. But you will at least see what the country looks like. You can ask about boarding facilities for your dog while you get settled. Also do you have a passport for everyone? Now would be the time to get it as you are going into Canada and back into the States and dealing with Customs and the border.

Find out about weather conditions in the fall. Will it be snowing when you get to Alaska or just cold? If you drive will you both drive? It will take a bit longer since you have your dog and h./she will need to be let out and exercise.

It will be an adventure whether you fly or drive. Good luck to you and keep us posted.

The other S.

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