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Old 09-11-2017, 08:37 AM
 
41 posts, read 59,278 times
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I can get a cheap direct flight to Chicago or Detroit and plan to just drive to Grand Rapids instead of traveling all day by plane with layovers and long flight times since there are no direct flights from where I live. My question to you who have driven these routes....which is prettier or most scenic? Or which is easier? Detroit route looks faster but willing to put in the extra time from Chicago if it's worth it. Never been to the area so it's all new to me. And I'm traveling alone so which ever is safest too. I would be leaving by car from either airport early on a Saturday morning so traffic shouldn't be a huge concern. Looking for some tips from experienced drivers who have driven the route please. Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-11-2017, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,155,435 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cibyl View Post
I can get a cheap direct flight to Chicago or Detroit and plan to just drive to Grand Rapids instead of traveling all day by plane with layovers and long flight times since there are no direct flights from where I live. My question to you who have driven these routes....which is prettier or most scenic? Or which is easier? Detroit route looks faster but willing to put in the extra time from Chicago if it's worth it. Never been to the area so it's all new to me. And I'm traveling alone so which ever is safest too. I would be leaving by car from either airport early on a Saturday morning so traffic shouldn't be a huge concern. Looking for some tips from experienced drivers who have driven the route please. Thanks in advance.
The Detroit airport is basically on the far Southwestern part of Detroit so it will be easy sailing the entire way. There won't be much traffic on 275 on a Saturday morning and then 96 will be pretty quiet. Unless there's a Michigan State game, then it might slow down a bit at the Okemos exit near Lansing. Or take 94 to 23 up through Ann Arbor to 96, same deal. 2 hours if you drive 80 - 85 on the highway.

Driving from Chicago would be completely different, and longer. FromChicago O'hare to our house in GR is a good 3.25 to 3.5 hours. And it's awful. Chicago is sort of cool but Northern Indiana is smelly and dirty and the semi truck traffic is unbelievably heavy on I90/94, even on Saturdays. The only bright spot is crossing the Michigan line and it's lush green forests and clean countryside everywhere.

Not to mention getting our of O'hare and getting your luggage and rental car will take a while longer. It's the second largest airport in the US and it feels like it.

If you fly into Chicago Midway, a little better.

It's very common for Grand Rapidians to drive to Chicago or Detroit to fly out and drive back. Flights are cheaper at the bigger airports thanks to more competition, and as you mentioned, by the time you taxi/wait on tarmac/wait at the gate/fly to GR, you think "we could have been home by now if we had driven."

Hope that helps.
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:22 PM
 
41 posts, read 59,278 times
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Thank you!!! I think Detroit may be the way to go then! I hate semi truck traffic. The flights are a tad more pricey than Chicago but it sounds like it's worth it as long as I'm not missing much scenery. I was planning flying in on a Friday night , staying at the airport hotel, then picking up a rental early like 5 am Saturday morning. Even that early am I gonna have traffic issues out of Chicago?
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:24 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
3,120 posts, read 5,813,027 times
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There can be traffic issues in Chicago at almost any time of day, but 5 am on a Saturday is likely to be OK.

I have made the drive to both for flights, and Detroit is a much more reasonable trip. Neither trip has overly exciting scenery. But the route from Detroit is a little more rural and relaxing overall.
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Old 09-12-2017, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,155,435 times
Reputation: 3893
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cibyl View Post
Thank you!!! I think Detroit may be the way to go then! I hate semi truck traffic. The flights are a tad more pricey than Chicago but it sounds like it's worth it as long as I'm not missing much scenery. I was planning flying in on a Friday night , staying at the airport hotel, then picking up a rental early like 5 am Saturday morning. Even that early am I gonna have traffic issues out of Chicago?
Saturday morning at 5am probably isn't too bad for truck traffic but the economy is booming so the truck traffic on I-80, I-90 and 94 has increased dramatically I've noticed in the last few years. And trucks leave early to "avoid" major traffic at rush hours if possible.

The drive from Detroit to Grand Rapids isn't too bad. It's somewhat scenic in parts.

At least you're not coming in the winter!

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Old 09-12-2017, 02:11 PM
 
7 posts, read 4,440 times
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I would look at the amount of ongoing road construction for each route, although at that hour on Saturday it may not matter much.
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:49 PM
 
41 posts, read 59,278 times
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Thanks everyone. This is very helpful, it sounds like Detroit will be the best way even though it's a little more expensive.
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
28,890 posts, read 68,755,975 times
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I would not fly into O'hare if you paid me.

Detroit metro is less distance than Midway, but it can be the same amount of time. It is usually a pretty pleasant drive from Detroit, but can often be unpleasant from Midway. Grand Rapids also has an airport. it costs a bit more, but can shave off two hours plus.

If you bring luggage, for me, Detroit tends to be faster than Midway and 100x times better than Ohare. Most little airports like GR have your luggage out before you get to the carousel. Wiating for luggage to me is the second lowest point of any flight. (First is squeezing into the tiny space you are allowed and wincing in pain all the way to your destination, especially if the goober in front of you smashes their seat back into your legs.
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