Missed the Annular Eclipse? Is a 5-6 Hour Drive Worth it for the Next Total Eclipse?

Wish you’d seen the last eclipse? There’s another chance coming up on April 8, 2024. Depending on where you are, it might be a quick trip for some, for others, it could be a 5-6 hour drive to get to a prime viewing spot.

But imagine this: the sun vanishes, the day turns into night, and you’re there to see it all. This isn’t just any day—it’s a chance to witness a rare and stunning sky event.

Sure, the drive would be long for some, but what you’ll experience is not something you see every day. It’s a moment that could take your breath away.

Thinking about going? Let’s decide if making the trip for the upcoming total eclipse is worth the hype or not.

People’s Perspectives on Travelling for a Total Solar Eclipse

When the last annular eclipse of Oct 14 was coming up, lots of people on Reddit talked about whether driving far to see sounds like a good idea or not. Some were excited, others unsure.

Here’s a summary of the different viewpoints shared:

  • Like Partial Eclipses: Some said annular eclipses feel like partial ones as some of the Sun is still visible, unlike total eclipses where it gets dark.
  • Wait for Total Eclipse: Many suggested saving time, cost, and effort for the upcoming total eclipse on April 8, 2024, which is expected to be more spectacular.
  • Family Concerns: For families, especially with kids, a long drive may be too much. And since total eclipses have that “WOW” factor of daytime darkness, many agreed they’re worth the travel challenges, even with kids.
  • Photography Fans: People who love taking pictures are excited about the total eclipse. It’s a great chance to get some amazing shots.
  • Shared Experience: A lot of people like the idea of watching the eclipse with a big crowd. It’s more fun when shared.

In short, many people think skipping the annular eclipse is okay and say the total eclipse in 2024 is worth traveling for.

Not in the Path of Totality?

Want to watch the coming sky event but not in the path of totality? You can plan a trip to see it and for that, here’s a quick guide:

Where and When

In the US, the eclipse will travel from Texas to Maine, crossing 27 parks along the way. It will start at 1:27 PM Central Time in Texas and end at 3:35 PM Eastern Time in Maine.

Considering the Costs and Effort

  • Travel Costs: You’ll need to budget for gas if you’re driving, or for flight tickets if you’re flying. Then there are the tolls on the road, and maybe you’ll need a rental car.
  • Accommodation Costs: Hotels near the eclipse path could be pricey, as demand will be high. Book early to secure a place.
  • Food Costs: You’ll need to eat, whether it’s grabbing snacks for the road or meals during your stay.
  • Time and Effort: It’s not just about the drive. It’s about the preparation, the journey, and the return. The time adds up, and the effort isn’t negligible, especially if traveling with family.

Weather and Viewing Conditions

  • Historical Weather Patterns: Look at the weather history for your intended viewing area. Is your chosen spot typically clear or cloud-covered?
  • Cloud Cover Risk: Clouds can ruin the view. It’s smart to have a backup plan, like a different spot that’s known for clearer skies or an indoor backup activity.

Traffic and Crowding

Expect Congestion: As the eclipse draws near, so does the crowd. Roads leading to prime viewing spots may resemble parking lots rather than highways. And once there, expect a sea of fellow eclipse chasers.

Can’t See the Total Eclipse? Here’s How to Catch It Locally or Online

Partial Eclipse Viewing

Even if you can’t make it to the total eclipse, you can still enjoy the partial eclipse. Check out local astronomy clubs; they often hold group viewings which can be fun and educational.

Watch It Online

You can watch the eclipse live on your computer or TV. Many websites will stream it live. It’s not the same as being there, but you can still experience the eclipse comfortably from home.

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