We’ve talked about destinations and starting there to determine a route style. The ‘Circle’ route style, however, has no specific destination but instead covers an area – sometimes with a theme in mind. This Route style can be the most work to design, but can also be the most rewarding!
Some examples of ‘Circle’ route styles that we’ve used in the past are:
*Exploring the Deep South and studying the Civil War
*Seeing all the Great Lakes
*Exploring New England and learning more about Colonial History and our founding fathers
*Hiking the Rain Forests and exploring NW Native American history
Let’s Get Started!
*First: Determine your travel dates and how many days you have to work with.
*Second: Choose an area you would like to explore.
*Third: Determine the main reason that you want to explore this area and what you intend to get out of it.
*Fourth: Take out your Rand McNally Road Atlas (available at most bookstores for a small investment), and take a look at your main area of interest. Decide on a perimeter that you won’t look beyond for this itinerary.
*Fifth: Decide how you will get into the area you’ll be exploring. Will you make a straight-through run into your area, or make some stops along the way? What about the return trip? Bear in mind that you might be traveling across time zones. Make sure to plan your time with time changes in mind. Also, make a note of any daylight savings time changes that might happen while you are on the road!
*Sixth: Decide and record which cities are of the most interest to you and how many days that you’ll spend at each.
*Seventh: Choose and record your minor cities / sites and how long you will need to see them.
*Eighth: Print a copy of a Google map and highlight the places you have chosen. See if you can see a path emerging. Choose your route and how long you will be at each stop. This is your skeleton itinerary! Know that your route will probably be subject to some change or ’tweaking’.
*Ninth: For each place that you will be visiting, get online, order a free visitor’s guide, or talk with someone who has traveled there. Jot down some of the things that sound really interesting to you. I like to Google ‘top 10 things to see in _____’. As you explore different sites (I like TripAdvisor), make note of the things that tend to float to the top of everyone’s favorites list – those are usually the best picks.
*Tenth: Print a copy of a map of each city and start highlighting your favorite picks. This will help you determine an itinerary order (I like to make a circle from and back to my campground).
*Eleventh: Narrow down your list of things to see/do and fit them into the days allotted for your stay. Make notes of opening/closing times for each site as well as the cost.
*Twelfth: Decide how you are going to handle meals. I usually do breakfast and supper at camp and pack a picnic lunch. If you are planning to eat out, make sure you work that into the budget.
*Thirteenth: Choose your RV Park. Choose according to location, reviews, amenities and price.
I know, this is a lot of work! For me though, it’s worth it to make sure that if you never get back to a particular place, there are no regrets. It’s easy to say that there’s ‘always next time’, but next time isn’t guaranteed and there is SO MUCH to explore!
One last note: I like to have everything in writing. It helps keep us on track to not miss anything we’d wanted to do, helps us make daily adjustments and keep us on budget. Here is a sample of a Day-on-a-Circle Route Style: DAY 16 Jamestown