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I would make the trip by car or van. Assuming I have a vehicle that will house five people comfortably (without having to rent one), the distance from St. Louis to my favorite beach in Florida--Daytona Beach--is about 1000 miles. At 20 miles per gallon with a price of $4 per gallon of gasoline, the round-trip drive should use about 100 gallons and cost about $400. I would drive via Interstates 64 to I-57 to I-24 to I-75 (Atlanta) to I-95 (Jacksonville to Daytona). I would not try to make the drive in one day, so I would probably stay in Atlanta (or, possibly another favorite spot on Lookout Mountain outside Chattanooga) for one night--both coming and going. With a hotel cost of $100 per night for two rooms each night, that totals $400. Food for those two days of travel @ $35 per person per day = $350. Total approximate cost for roundtrip travel between St. Louis and Daytona = approximately $1150. That leaves the remaining amount of time and money for your stay in and around Daytona Beach. You should be able to get a nice beach-front room in the summer for between $100-$125. So, that will cost you (for two rooms) between $200-$250 daily. Adding a combined daily cost for food at $35 each (x 5 people) you will be spending around $400 daily between five people. Excluding additional gas for local transportation and any other added expenses (such as shopping, souvenirs, drinking, sightseeing), you should be able to stay in Daytona Beach for eight or nine days and still have some money left over. If all five of you stay in only one hotel room (with a suite or rollaway bed or sofa) for your entire duration, you should be able to save nearly $1000--enough money to visit Disney World, too. Have fun.
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