Home > On the Road, Products & Services, Trip Planning > The anatomy of a roadtrip

The anatomy of a roadtrip

February 13th, 2009

For me a roadtrip has three parts

Part I: Plan the roadtrip. This part is great fun because it requires hours and hours of looking at the map(s). I calculate distances between stops and estimate the time each stop will take. I look for roads marked scenic and I keep an eye open for the red dots that point out places such as state parks, museums and other roadside “marvels.” [Note: the red dots often result in Internet searches.] Multi-day roadtrips usually have defined destinations and most of the time I make lodging reservations prior to hitting the road. I like knowing that I can arrive at my destination at any time and be guaranteed of having a spot to “hang my head.” I usually plan a roadtrip day to be 8-12 hours in duration and the planning requires paying attention to time-zone changes and sunrise/sunset times. In a nutshell, planning roadtrips is fun.

Part II: Execute the roadtrip. I find that most of the time I rarely consult the roadtrip plan. This is because I’ve taken the roadtrip multiple times in my head. Many roadtrips do not follow the plan exactly, but they usually come close. I actually like having to modify roadtrips while they are in progress.

Part III: Document the roadtrip. I find myself “retaking” the roadtrip over and over while working on its write-up. Documenting the roadtrip allows for the recording of items that were either missed or discovered during the adventure. In addition, documenting a roadtrip is a useful tool for generating ideas for future roadtrips.

, , , , , ,

  1. February 13th, 2009 at 14:24 | #1

    Gerald, Very cool overview. At some point, I would love to host your Road Hacker field trips on this blog. Perhaps we could import them as an I-Frame. In any case, thanks for the treatise on road trip planning!

  2. February 13th, 2009 at 19:52 | #2

    I love that you mentioned “retaking” the road trip as you document it. You might be documenting your trip to preserve it or share it, but a great extra payback is getting to savor your adventure all over again.

  3. Dave Gomm
    February 14th, 2009 at 03:54 | #3

    “Great minds think alike” 😉

    That pretty much sums myself up, right through the three stages. Some of my extended family and friends think I am nuts but I enjoy every moment of “exploring” the area by way of maps and Internet and when on the road a lot of the trip is familiar, but no less exciting when you are there in the flesh.
    The most rewarding part is those little places you find between the tourist areas that so many others miss out on. Each evening I wrote some notes on the days events and in the morning made a short video dairy on my camera about the day ahead, which tied the photos taken inbetween them with each place.

    We saw so much I am glad of all those little reminders.