What is a Snowbird trip to Florida? You’re a Snowbird if you’re retired and spend your winters in the south and your summers in a northern Michigan cottage or cabin. It’s a ritual like college kids and their annual Spring Break trip to Florida Beaches. Of course, a snowbird’s favorite activity is enjoying a morning coffee by the pool while your pals up north dig out from the previous lake-effect blizzard.
We enjoy spending the winter in the south. The skies are clear and blue, the temperatures are rising, and the sun is always shining. We’re looking forward to our winter migration to Florida.
Problems With Traffic and Finding a Good Hotel On Interstate 75
The most challenging moment is when we travel between our summer and winter residences. It’s migration season, so our vehicle is completely packed. Due to supply chain concerns, truck traffic on our interstate system has increased. We’ve begun utilizing smartphone applications like Waze to monitor our routes and propose other routes around accidents for our road journey to Florida.
Furthermore, finding a quality place to stay and a meal on our trip to Florida can be challenging. In Pensacola, we had a bad encounter with a chain franchise hotel. We discovered that just because a hotel has a well-known brand name does not guarantee that it is a high-quality establishment. It is not worth your effort to comb through the reviews.
We discovered a solution with an ideal travel route and a reliable location to stay each evening on our road trip to Florida that takes us to our southern paradise swiftly and affordably.
Consider Traveling Over the Weekend
We’ve started traveling on weekends for a straightforward reason: less truck traffic. One study found that the worst time to travel is during the week. The biggest day for traffic is Thursday, followed by Tuesday and Wednesday.
Weekend travel at night, on the other hand, has some of the worst accident statistics. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving substantially contributes to fatal vehicle accidents on weekends, particularly at night (NHTSA). As a result, our most crucial aim on our road trip to Florida is to get off the road by 4 p.m.
Why Do We Stay at Drury Hotels?
A buddy recommended Drury Inns and Suites to us. They returned to Michigan and stayed at a Drury in Knoxville, Tennesee. They claimed it was immaculate, the personnel was kind, and they provided an evening snack buffet with a cooked breakfast in the morning as part of the stay charge. We were understandably fascinated and decided to check it out on our next trip north.
Drury Is Not A Franchise Or A Chain
Unlike other hotel chains, Drury Inns & Suites is a privately held hospitality company. It is neither a franchising business, a massive holding firm, or a hotel organization with dozens of distinct names. Each hotel is managed directly by Drury.
The Drury brothers began their careers in construction. They learned the trade well, and it is now paying off. What began as a tiny family business in 1973 is still entirely family-owned and run today.
Drury Hotels has expanded to over 150 hotels in 25 states during the last almost 50 years. The firm is still operated by a third-generation family member. I was shocked to find that most Drury Inn workers had met the President and CEO, Chuck Drury. That is hands-on management at its best, and it speaks good for the organization.
Drury Hotels are Long-Lasting
We’ve stayed at the majority of Drury Inns and Suites with similar floor plans. A big open foyer with a glass-enclosed elevator is available. A giant indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub are located on the first level, providing welcome relaxation to fatigued road-weary muscles. It was also an excellent spot for youngsters to release steam and energy after a long day of traveling.
The hospitality room is immediately off the main lobby, and fresh coffee is offered 24 hours a day. There’s also a small business center for when you need a fast print-out for the day’s meetings and a fitness equipment room with a TV to catch up on the news while you get your steps in.
Drury’s Hot Breakfast and Free Kickback at 5:30 p.m.
When you step inside the hotel’s breakfast room, you can think you’re still dreaming. Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, oatmeal, fresh fruit, potatoes, sausage, pastries, coffee, and fresh fruit—all hot, fresh, and, most importantly, free. What better way to start each day of your Florida road trip?
Drury’s concludes your day’s travels with a treat called the 5:30 Kickback. Every night, indulge in a rotating selection of dinnertime nibbles, cold beverages, beer, wine, mixed cocktails, and more. We ate a delicious green salad, BBQ sliders, baked beans, and mixed veggies with an ice-cold draft beer for free because we traveled on the weekend.
I discovered that the team cooking breakfast and the 5:30 Kickback evening had worked for Drury Hotels for over ten years. That is unusual to say after two years of widespread resignation, particularly in the restaurant and hotel industries.
Drury’s Accepts Pets
Finding a good hotel that admits dogs is a welcomed feature while traveling. Drury Inn & Suites does, which we enjoy. We have a tiny dog and have been looking for a place to stay with him for years. That was sometimes the sole criterion we had in our quest. As a result, we had to stay in some less-than-ideal locations.
Pets (dogs and cats) are permitted at all Drury Hotels, subject to state and municipal rules. Although service animals are welcome in any area frequented by their owners and are free of charge at all Drury Hotels, state rules for assistance animals apply. For rooms with pets, all Drury and Pear Tree Inn by Drury hotels will impose a daily pet fee of $40 per night + VAT (which may only include dogs and cats).
Travel Itinerary – Detroit To Sarasota, Florida
Our three-day road trip to Sarasota From Detroit, Takes I-75 all the way. We found that we can save up to 15% at Drury Hotels along the way with promo code WARM. This includes Drury’s famous free hot breakfast, complimentary 5:30 Kickback® with dinnertime snacks and beverages, and free Wi-Fi. See Drury’s Headsouth Offer for more information and details. Here is the itinerary for the route we took.
Day One – Detroit to Knoxville, Tennesee
- 513 miles – 8.5-hour drive
- Lunch stop in charming Covington, Kentucky. For EV drivers, there are numerous ChargePoint and Telsa Supercharge stations in the area.
- Stay in Drury Inn & Suites Knoxville West
Day Two – Knoxville, Tennesee, to Valdosta, Georgia
- 442 miles – 6.5-hour drive
- Lunch Stop in near Macon, Georgia. There are numerous ChargePoint stations in the area.
- Stay at Drury Inn & Suites Valdosta
Day Three – Valdosta, Georgia, to Sarasota, Florida
- 283 miles – 4-hour drive
- Arrive in town in time for a late lunch.
Travel With Your Plug-In Electric Vehicle
Traveling with an Electric Vehicle (EV) or a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle requires a little more planning to optimize your travel time. Most all-electric vehicles have a range of about 300 miles on a full charge, so a mid-day charge-up is included in our itinerary. In addition, it is an excellent excuse for taking a leisurely lunch.
Our 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has a range of 525 miles. However, it only goes for the first 40 miles on all electric before the engine is engaged. So we don’t have to recharge during the day during our trip to Florida, but we want to look for a charging station at or near our final stop of the day.
Final Thoughts On A Snowbird’s Road Trip To Florida
They say half the fun of traveling is getting there. However, with increased truck traffic and higher fuel and food costs, it’s great to know that the hassle of deciding where to stay is a no-brainer. Drury locations along the north-south major interstate routes for our trip to Florida offer alot of flexibility in route selection, offering a way to have the cheapest trip to Florida and limiting daily time on the road.