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Drive or fly from Houston, TX to San Diego, CA??

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Houston, Texas
posts: 3
Drive or fly from Houston, TX to San Diego, CA??

We are thinking about driving from Houston, Tx to San Diego, CA instead of flying to save $$. However, I am not sure if it is worth our sanity and the few $$ we save, considering we will be in a minivan with 3 kids under the age of 5 (and that includes a 4 month old baby). My husband and I will alternate driving.

Am I correct in thinking it will take three days to get there, thus requiring two overnight hotel stops? Any suggestions on where/what cities to stay for the night? Suggestions on the route? Was thinking of taking I 10 but read that it may not be safe.

Any advice, suggestions would be much appreciated!

tucson az
Destination Expert
for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
posts: 11,908
reviews: 58
1. Re: Drive or fly from Houston, TX to San Diego, CA??

You posted in the Flagstaff Arizona forum. Try the Road Trips forum.

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567-Road_Tri…

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 49,697
reviews: 42
2. Re: Drive or fly from Houston, TX to San Diego, CA??

It's app 1500 miles. With 3 days only I suggest to stay overnight in Fort Stockton and Tucson. Why do you think I10 isn't safe? Never had problems driving I10. Take I8 between Tucson and San Diego. What time of year are you coming?

Houston, Texas
posts: 3
3. Re: Drive or fly from Houston, TX to San Diego, CA??

Thanks for your suggestions. We are planing on going in July. It was the Mexican border/Juarez that was supposedly dangerous.

Marina, California
Destination Expert
for Tucson
posts: 5,001
reviews: 96
4. Re: Drive or fly from Houston, TX to San Diego, CA??

I-10 does not go through Juarez, it goes through El Paso.

Two overnights should be okay. Fort Stockton and Tucson would be my choices as well.

In July, the heat can be a concern on much of the drive, particularly in Yuma and west of the Imperial Valley where you climb into the mountains. You just need to be sure your car's in good condition because it's very to overheat on that stretch.

Honestly though, three kids under 5 in a van for six days sounds like a nightmare to me. I think you would be better off posting in the roadtrips forum, as this is only partially related to Arizona travel.

Houston, TX
posts: 3,061
reviews: 25
5. Re: Drive or fly from Houston, TX to San Diego, CA??

Just did a similar trip with two drivers, no kids. Houston to Fort Stockton will be a day, and that is with just driving at or slightly above posted speeds and no stops except to get gas/use restrooms and a fast food lunch. Most of the places with food along the way have limited options--Sonic, Dairy Queen, Subway. A few towns may have some local places, usually Tex-Mex. Not too many McDonald's with play areas. Last thing we want to do on a long road trip is eat in the car, especially in July. Very few places along the way except highway rest stops for anyone to get out and stretch legs and run around. Once you get to Fort Stockton it is primarily a way station for travelers--a few motels/hotels and a bit more choice for restaurants. On our recent trip, we left Houston on a Sunday morning (so no traffic) at about 7:00 am, and were passing through Fort Stockton at about 4:00pm. We continued on to Van Horn (about another 90 miles) for our overnight, to make the next day a bit shorter, since we were stopping at White Sands National Monument on the drive.

Same thing applies for the drive to Tucson, and then onwards from Tucson to San Diego. Given your time line, you won't have time to stop at the attractions, if any, along the way. These will be long days for everyone.

If you do drive, pay attention to the gas tank. Lots of long stretches of road with no services and you don't want to come up empty. Take a cooler for beverages and lots of snacks for the kids.

Good luck.

Edited: 11:21 am, February 14, 2013
Houston, Texas
posts: 3
6. Re: Drive or fly from Houston, TX to San Diego, CA??

Thanks! I am starting to question whether it would really be a good idea to drive with the young kids. I will post on the road trip forum. Am new to this site and am just starting to navigate around it.

Mesa, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Tempe
posts: 1,718
reviews: 75
7. Re: Drive or fly from Houston, TX to San Diego, CA??

I definitely would check airfares before deciding and don't forget to check Southwest out of Hobby.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 49,697
reviews: 42
8. Re: Drive or fly from Houston, TX to San Diego, CA??

I'd also consider to fly instead driving in july. Btw if you drive the kids may like the biggest roadrunner in the world in Ft. Stockton and if you can find the time, visit Arizona Sonora desert museum in Tucson. And don't speed on I10. For driving the mountains east of Tucson, use lower gear.

9. Re: Drive or fly from Houston, TX to San Diego, CA??

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