What’s It Like Traveling on I-95?

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For many people, the Memorial Day weekend is the start of the summer traveling season. With concerns about air travel, many people may be taking to the roads to head to Walt Disney World. I-95 is a popular interstate for travel from the northeast, and recently I had the opportunity to travel on I-95 between Walt Disney World and the Washington DC area.

How’s the Fuel Situation?

The week before we left to go from Florida to Maryland, there was the massive pipeline shutdown and fuel shortage in the mid-Atlantic. From my experience, there still were some gas stations that were without fuel, or had certain pumps without fuel, but overall it wasn’t difficult at all to find gasoline. If you’re concerned, I recommend the GasBuddy app and web site to help locate fuel and check prices.

What Are Hotel Stays Like?


We stayed at many different hotels throughout our stay, and found that all hotels required masks in common areas, had staff wear masks, and limited the number of people on an elevator at any given time. Even though signs were posted that masks were required, around 1/3 of guests that I saw walking through the hotel lobby were not wearing masks, and hotel staff did not approach guests to have them wear masks. All had a huge focus on cleanliness, and mentioned often all of the things they were doing to keep customers safe, from sanitized remote controls for TVs (or even the ability to use a QR code to control the TV so you don’t have to touch the remote) to a “sanitized for your protection” seal on the door.

For our multi-day stay, housekeeping was available only upon request. If you were interested in the hotel breakfast, there was a huge range of differences even among hotels in the same chain. At one stay, the complete hotel buffet experience was there — chafing dishes full of scrambled eggs and sausages and the typical hotel waffle station, all self-serve (by both guests with and without masks). They also had pre-packaged grab and go items. At another, only prepackaged food was available. At yet another, breakfast was all prepackaged items with a limited selection of fruit, prepackaged juice cups, and prepackaged pastries, plus a coffee station with shorter than normal hours of about 2 hours/day.

Expect that most hotel amenities on the road — things like fitness centers, business centers, hotel restaurant/bar, and the pool — will not be available or have limited hours. Also expect that things are changing quickly–amenities may open up overnight. In general, be flexible and pack your patience.

Any Thoughts on Food?

Because my daughter is still too young to be vaccinated, we are not yet comfortable eating in restaurants, and so we exclusively did drive-through/picnic, curbside dining (like our first trip to Sonic), and carry-out (to eat in the hotel room), and we brought a cooler with drinks and some snacks. One thing we found is that some places that were there the last time we made a trip (in March, 2019) were now out of business. If you have a place that is your “old reliable” dining establishment, check to make sure it is still in business before you go. Also expect that some restaurants may still have reduced menus, and so what you find on their web site may not be accurate. Finally, we did notice that even on a non-peak dining day, carryout orders were a bit slower than normal, with 40 minutes to one hour being the norm in some areas. We did place orders for pickup in advance and then take them to rest areas for a picnic lunch.

What about Rest Areas and Businesses?

And speaking of picnic lunches at rest areas, if you are looking to do a picnic meal anywhere from parts of Virginia northward, cicada season is in full force and you’ll find picnic areas pretty heavily occupied. They don’t bite and don’t sting, so we just brushed them away, but our daughter decided she’d rather stand for the meal than sit at the table.

In terms of other experiences, rules about mask usage at rest areas (and other businesses) can be tricky to figure out. Some places had signs firmly requiring masks when indoors. Others had signs about the dangers of COVID and releasing the location from liability. Still others had no signs at all. You’d see quite a few confused travelers approach with masks in hand and try to figure out whether or not they were supposed to wear a mask. When there was no sign, most erred on the side of caution and wore one.

At businesses (convenience stores and the like), it truly was a mixed bag for mask usage with customers and employees alike. At the new Buc-ee’s in Daytona Beach, about 2/3 of the staff wore masks, and closer to 3/4 of the customers. My personal advice is to have a mask handy because some places will require it. (And it goes without saying, if you aren’t vaccinated, wear a mask.)

For rest areas, vending machines were available, but some areas did have water fountains turned off. Some rest areas had brochures out, and others did not. Again, flexibility is key.

Have any other questions about driving on I-95 to or from Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments.


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Julia Mascardo

Former writer, editor, and social media manager of TouringPlans. Embarking on new adventures with husband, kid, and cats.

6 thoughts on “What’s It Like Traveling on I-95?

  • I totally agree with your assessment. I recently, about 11 days ago, drove from south Florida to NY. We made several quick stops along the way to see friends. I downloaded the app GasBuddy though I didn’t use it due to no wifi in many spots in the south. We navigated just fine without it and saw a few stations closed but the larger truck stops I usually avoid did have gas. We actually saw a group of young men hoarding gas in Georgia and that was once the pipeline was reopened, maybe they didn’t get the memo,,,,The hotels , like u mentioned were clean with tv remotes in plastic bags. Though I found most hotels were skimping on bathroom towels unless you requested more, they weren’t provided. I’d say there was a 60/30 /10 split on mask wearing with 70 being wearers, 30 not participating and 10 partially wearing, but hey something is better than nothing I guess. We ate all our meals either in the hotel rooms or the car. I just am not up to dining out yet even though I’m fully vaccinated. We experienced zero traffic jams heading north, minus the one major car wreck we saw. Heading home southbound, we saw heavy police activity in the S.Carolina and Georgia. In one rest area there was heavy police presence, we did not stop there, only witnessed as we drove by. All in all in was a great trip except for the tolls as you’re more in the northeast, but it is what it is.

    • This Sunday was very heavy with traffic between Baltimore and Hilton Head SC. Gas prices were lowered temporarily but after leaving MD were at current levels every where else. No other state had lowered prices.
      I95 construction in Va. will hold you up til Woodbridge, Va.
      I suppose folks are talking early vacation or early spring break. A lot of young families traveling out there, some with masks some without.
      March 20, 2022

  • Down in Siesta Keys, took I-95 from Wilmington DE to I-4 to I-75. Traffic bad through DC. Had to pay for easy pass express lanes to help get through. They used to be free HOV lanes until some bright overpaid civil servant saw a chance to grab a pile of money . Not bad until Jacksonville with very heavy traffic. Then the worst was I-4 through the amusement parks area with slow stop & go traffic for miles & miles. After that not bad .

  • We only went from the MD/PA line, and so didn’t pick up 95 until the DC beltway, but traffic was unusually light during rush hour in DC, since many people are still not commuting to work. Ended up taking 95 through Richmond both directions and it wasn’t too bad. We did notice a lot more RVs than usual, especially GA and the Carolinas. For traffic, best bet is to use an app like Waze, which can reroute you if there’s a major issue.

  • You forgot to mention how horrible the traffic is from Wilmington to Richmond. It’s one big Indie 500 with half of the traffic being tractor trailers. There is no time of day or night that the roads are any less crowded.

  • This is pretty much what I expected to hear. We’ll be driving from Philly to WDW with an 11 year old, too young to be vaccinated. So we have many of the same concerns. We’ll bring plenty of masks.

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