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Driving to conference?

kcmckay

Advanced Member
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Feb 24, 2008
703
4
I'm just curious about those who do or have driven to conference. I'm researching different options because the lowest airfare I've found is over $400. I'd rather fly but I don't mind a long car ride! It's about 13 hr drive from Albany to Chicago.

I know those of you closer do drive in. I'm curious about parking fees and things of that nature. I also wonder if anyone knows how I can find out exactly how much the tolls would be. I tried to guesstimate about the cost it would be for 4 to ride together and I think it could be about $200 a piece round trip which is way more doable and having plenty more time to save as well. I know my director and another one on our team have been looking as well.

I was also thinking of possibly saving some of my gas cards I'll earn this month! Well I know I've got one and a few potentials I'm still working on.

So any thoughts, ideas and tips are greatly appreciated.
 

deanna_g

Member
Feb 16, 2009
447
6
I don't know what to tell you about the parking fees. I'd check with your hotel and see what their parking fees are. I live in Northern Indiana, so I don't fly in, but I do take the train because of tolls and parking fees. Good luck!
 

PCLaurel

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Jul 13, 2010
96
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I just drove last month from the Poconos in PA to the far western side of Indiana, about an hour from Chicago.

As far as tolls go, if you drop down into PA and take I-80 there are no tolls in PA. You can then take 80 all the way thru Ohio & Indiana into Illinois. In OH and IN, 80 is a toll road. You should be able to find the exact rate if you go onto the websites for the Ohio Turnpike and the Indiana Toll Road (those are their exact names, so you can Google them). I have EZ Pass in my car, so I don't know exactly how much the tolls were.

One thing to consider is gas prices - they aren't dropping any time soon, and are climbing rapidly. While flying is more expensive, at least the rate is locked in once you buy the ticket. Illinois is one of the top 4 or 5 states in the nation right now for gas prices, and if memory serves me correctly, the prices in IN and OH were a little bit more than I was paying in PA.

The drive is not necessarily a bad one - but for one person, it got a bit boring in OH and IN. You'd be better in that department with your group going.

As for flights, when we were trying to find a deal, we looked at Newburgh NY (near Poughkeepsie). There were some reasonable rates flying out of there, but they didn't jive with our particular time plan for flying. You might want to try some of those smaller airports because they did seem to have better rates.

Hope this helps!!
 

raebates

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Dec 6, 2005
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Parking fees at NC hotels is listed in the details for each under the conference information.
 

cookinforyou

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Nov 4, 2009
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I a in Pittsburgh and a group of us are planning to drive.
Laurel is correct on the search for tolls and I 80 is a beautiful drive that time of year. (winter not so much)
As for the gas figure your total miles, highway MPG and estimate your total fill ups times the estimated cost for gasoline.
We are staring at the Hilton and they have self parking and valet pricing for parking.
Another thought is the train. Amtrak. I was considering this if no one was willing to drive. the time is the same as driving almost, but no parking fees and I can sleep on a train won't be sleeping in the car if we are sharing the driving
Good luck!
 

kcmckay

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Feb 24, 2008
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  • Thread starter
  • #6
I meant to say about parking fees. I did look at them and don't know where I'm staying yet. We haven't gotten that far.

I did look and it appeared that McCormick was the cheapest for parking but we usually stay at the Sheraton and I like that it's closer to downtown so I wondered if we'd be able to park at McCormick if not staying there.

I looked at train and it was definitely a better price option for a coach seat. And the trip would be overnight and I wouldn't be able to sleep sitting up. I flew to Scotland and couldn't sleep a wink and our flight left at around 9pm my time and we arrived at 8am that time, but only a 6 hour flight! I don't want to be exhausted!

I will see what happens and who is interested. I did figure gas at a higher rate. I figured out with looking at miles that would be driven and figured it out with how the mileage on my car is and how much it currently costs to fill and added up, because I figure if this happens we'd be taking a larger more gas guzzling car than mine.

Thing is I'm willing to take my car which would easily fit 4 comfortably and I don't mind the mileage (and I like to drive) however I drive a Honda Fit which is very room but once 4 people are in it the room for luggage runs low. It could be done though I think. Not sure if others would feel it would be comfortable.
 

wadesgirl

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Jul 25, 2007
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I meant to say about parking fees. I did look at them and don't know where I'm staying yet. We haven't gotten that far.

I did look and it appeared that McCormick was the cheapest for parking but we usually stay at the Sheraton and I like that it's closer to downtown so I wondered if we'd be able to park at McCormick if not staying there.

I looked at train and it was definitely a better price option for a coach seat. And the trip would be overnight and I wouldn't be able to sleep sitting up. I flew to Scotland and couldn't sleep a wink and our flight left at around 9pm my time and we arrived at 8am that time, but only a 6 hour flight! I don't want to be exhausted!

I will see what happens and who is interested. I did figure gas at a higher rate. I figured out with looking at miles that would be driven and figured it out with how the mileage on my car is and how much it currently costs to fill and added up, because I figure if this happens we'd be taking a larger more gas guzzling car than mine.

Thing is I'm willing to take my car which would easily fit 4 comfortably and I don't mind the mileage (and I like to drive) however I drive a Honda Fit which is very room but once 4 people are in it the room for luggage runs low. It could be done though I think. Not sure if others would feel it would be comfortable.

We use to drive but it's only a 6 hour trip for us. All of us tried to be conservative of how much we packed so there was enough room but we usually take a van so there is more room. Nice thing is you can leave your car at what ever hotel and pick it up when you are ready to go. Usually we would pack up the morning of the last day and then part at McCormick and head out of town as soon as conference is over.
 

chefa

Advanced Member
Jul 21, 2009
654
31
Katie,
go Amtrak; those coach seats are very comfortable, recline & have a foot rest; kinda like a recliner. I took the train from Texas once & thought about it for this year but don't have the extra days to spend traveling. Will definitely be thinking about it for next year!
 

lt1jane

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Sep 9, 2010
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My cluster is looking at driving from Green Bay/Appleton down to Milwaukee to catch the Amtrak. Amtrak is $44 and daily parking in Milwaukee is much cheaper than hotel parking in Chicago. Honestly, it's only a 2-3 hour drive to Chicago from here, but Chicago traffic stinks...
 

thehaleykitchen

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Jan 11, 2010
405
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  • #10
I am heading from the Twin Cities to Chicago with about 7 other ladies. Should be interesting but since its only about 7 hours from here, I don't want to fly.

Karen
 

Teresa LM

Advanced Member
Feb 25, 2011
536
4
  • #11
I don't think we are going this year but my sister said that there was a bus that we could take from the Twin Cities to Chicago. I was under the impression that this was a Motor Coach that was arranged by someone with PC and not just the Grey Hound or something. If you want more details, I can check with her.
 

mountainmama74

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Oct 21, 2009
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  • #12
It may have been MegaBus. Go to Megabus.com and check it out - cheap fares! I was thinking about it, but I think our team is going to drive. I know parking is $35ish at the Sheraton, but splitting that and gas is still way cheaper than the $260/pp it would cost us to fly (a few years ago you could fly to Chicago from Pittsburgh for right around $100!!).
 

wadesgirl

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Jul 25, 2007
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  • #13
I am heading from the Twin Cities to Chicago with about 7 other ladies. Should be interesting but since its only about 7 hours from here, I don't want to fly.

Karen

We drove from Central Iowa until the last year. It's about 6 hours from here. Just remember to bring some snacks and a pillow plus books or an ipod if you get bored and can read in the car. It's not too bad of a drive.
 

annew

Member
Nov 1, 2005
186
0
  • #14
I drove out last year w/2 other gals & it was fun :)

the gas split between all of you won't be too bad depending on the type of car you drive & the MPG....tolls were maybe $10 each but the parking is what gets you it was like
$50/day.
the only time we parked @ McCormick was the last day b/c we left right from there.

this year we were going to either drive or take the train but for an extra $100 I got us direct flights out of Newark plus I got us a deal on a hotel that saved us that $100/night so I'm excited!

good luck!
 

thehaleykitchen

Member
Gold Member
Jan 11, 2010
405
3
  • #15
I don't think we are going this year but my sister said that there was a bus that we could take from the Twin Cities to Chicago. I was under the impression that this was a Motor Coach that was arranged by someone with PC and not just the Grey Hound or something. If you want more details, I can check with her.


I know a director here was looking into it but I think the cost was not worth it unless we got almost 100 people to confirm to be on the bus. Plus then we would have to pay for the driver to have a hotel somewhere so he could drive us all back.
 

Teresa LM

Advanced Member
Feb 25, 2011
536
4
  • #16
Is conference always in Chicago? I suppose it is, since the main office is in IL?
 

wadesgirl

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Jul 25, 2007
11,412
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  • #17
Is conference always in Chicago? I suppose it is, since the main office is in IL?

For now it is. I heard something about McCormmick place changing their policies or something and our "contract" with them is almost up. So who knows in the future.
 

esavvymom

Legend Member
Staff member
Sep 8, 2008
7,895
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  • #18
I think by the time you factor in gas to and from Chicago for that far, food during your travel time (not to mention wear and tear on your car), and then parking downtown....And the time spent! Not sure I'd do it. Your cost probably will be fairly close to even.
 

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