PLANNING & ITINERARIES: Choosing Your Route Style

call it a plan

Itinerary Ideas

Before there is a Road Trip, there is a Plan.  But before there is a Plan there are Itinerary Ideas.

Itinerary Ideas are what get us started, and consequently end up being how our plans begin.

Ideas can come from anywhere.  For Example:

*A ‘Bucket List’ place that you’ve always wanted to see

*Some places 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?

*Can we identify what 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… 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 of my ‘Route Style’ as the skeleton that the skin, muscles, etc.., (which are the daily trip details), connect to.  Here’ are 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 Itinerary 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.  An initial part is spent getting there, the next part is spent being at your end point destination and a final 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 uses the same route going home. It’s basically a Bee-Line to your destination and back resulting in 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 as well as 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!




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