Before there is a Road Trip, there is a Plan. But before there is a Plan there is an Idea.
Ideas are what get us started. Ideas are how our Itinerary begins.
Ideas can come from anywhere. They can come from:
*A ‘Bucket List’ place that you’ve always wanted to see
*A place you’ve passed by before and said, “Next Time”
*An interest sparked by another’s experience
*A place you visited as a child or long ago that you’ve always wanted to go back to
*Pictures you’ve seen somewhere
The list is endless, but you need to start with your Idea. It’s okay – maybe even best – if your idea is vague. Just grab a hold of your Idea and take out a map.
After you agree on an Idea, then the work begins and you need to decide on your basic Route. Before getting too carried away, however, there are a few questions to ponder:
*Which Idea did we settle on?
*What are our travel dates?
(keep in mind that some places are better seen at specific times of the year)
*What is our Budget?
*Is there an Event that we want to work around?
*Are there people that we’d like to see?
*Can we make arrangements for the pets?
*What is our general reason for picking this Idea?
*What do we most want to get from this trip?
*What are the things that we are most interested in seeing / doing?
Here you can Download and Print the PDF Checklist: BEGINNING THE ITINERARY Questions To Ponder
Okay…..now here we go……
I have found it easiest to first choose a ‘Route Style’. The Style will help you determine your basic route. I think about my ‘Route Style’ as the skeleton that the skin, muscles, etc.., (which are the daily trip details), connect to. Here’s my ‘Route Style’ options:
* ‘A’: The Oblong Route Style: The ‘A’ or ‘Oblong’ is a route that takes a particular path to a specific destination and then a different path home.
*An example of an ‘Oblong’ is our trip to Savannah, GA.:
The Idea was sparked by my parents-in-law’s trip there. Their enjoyment, description and photos were all I needed to put it at the top of my list! The destination was Savannah but the path getting there took us through St Louis, Nashville, Asheville & Charleston. We spent time in Savannah and then explored Tupelo, Little Rock and Ft Smith on the way back.
The ‘A or Oblong’ Style of a trip is basically in 3 parts. 1 part is spent getting there, 1 part is spent being at your end point destination and 1 part is spent getting back home. The parts are not necessarily equal.
* ‘B’: The B-Line’ Route Style: The ‘B-line’ is a route that takes you the quickest non-stop way to your destination and the same route going home. It’s basically a Bee-Line to your destination and back with the most available time spent there.
*An Example of a ‘B-Line’ is our trip to San Antonio, TX:
We made a Bee-Line there and back with our time spent in one place doing local and day-trip sights.
* ‘C’: The Circle Route Style: The ‘Circle’ is a route that basically heads to a general area and explores that area with no actual destination point and then circles back.
*An Example of a ‘Circle’ is our Great Lakes / Colonial History Trip:
We picked a route that included 4 of the Great Lakes and also included Chicago, Niagara Falls, Salem, NYC, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Williamsburg, Monticello and Louisville, KY.
A ‘Circle’ trip covers an area instead of having a destination. Another ‘Circle’ Trip example is to camp at the Boston Cape Cod KOA and do day trips to Boston, Salem, Plymouth and Lexington-Concord and study Colonial history. Think of this Route Style as one having a theme.
After you have a ‘Route Style’ picked out, then you can sit down with a map (I like the big Rand-McNally that we get each year from our insurance company) and map out the plan. This makes choosing the stops much easier!
One side note: Keep track of the total number of miles you have planned for your trip. That will be a big help for planning your budget!
Whew!!! Now you have a Skeleton and you can take breather before the next step!