I did it twice. Both surgeries were in Maryland, and the first time I was living in California. Now I am living in Georgia.
If you have the lap procedure, you should be prepared to stay locally (preferably with somebody to drive you around) for 2 weeks. Both times, I was cleared to return home after those initial 2 weeks.
You'll be able to continue follow-up through a local gastro, and e-mail/phone the surgeon after about 4 months. I had (and have again) directions to return to the surgeon at approximately 1-year post-surgery.
Returning to California, I used air travel. I used a wheelchair in the airport, and brought Ensure with me for nutrition during the trip. At that 2-week mark, you should be off narcotics and cleared to drive yourself.
Returning to Georgia, my parents and I drove, splitting the trip to 2 days just because sitting so long in the car was uncomfortable. If I have to do it again, I would choose to fly.
Having had 3 Nissens now, I would highly recommend against the open procedure for a first time hernia repair. From your other posts, it sounds like yours is a type IV, which is much more likely to recur than other types. Once you go open, you'd be hard-pressed to find a surgeon who would then do a lap procedure. If you start with a lap, you'll find a small group who will try another lap -- and have the option to go open.