When planning a road trip there are a few very important decisions you need to make, almost immediately. The first decision is, what place or places do you want to see or visit on this road trip? Typically I find that for a 1 week road trip, two to four destinations is ideal, unless you are planning a more ambitious trip, which can also be very fun too! Second, how long do you have to take this road trip? Most people only have the ability to do 1 week at a time. I like to leave on Friday after dinner, and return the following Sunday night. This schedule gives you nine plus days for your trip. Third, what is your budget for this road trip? This can vary depending on the distance of your trip because of gas, what type of hotels or motels you are comfortable staying in, are you going to be eating out or will you have a cooler to store food and drinks, what sort of recreational activities you plan on doing while out, and even what part of the country you are planning on visiting. I find it best to budget around $1000 per person, assuming you’ll have at least one other person traveling with you.
Once you have made these important decisions about your road trip, it’s time to map out your route. Your first decision was your destinations. You need to calculate how far your first destination is from your starting point, usually your home. A great tool for this is mapquest.com. Go to mapquest.com plug in your starting point, and plug in the address to your first destination. I find it more enjoyable to keep the number of miles driven per day below 400. This may or may not work for you, depending on how ambitious your planning your trip to be. My reasoning for only driving up to 400 miles per day is so you don’t have to get up at 7am and drive non-stop for 10 or 12+ hours. I prefer to wake up around 9, check out of my hotel, go to breakfast, then hit the road. Normally beginning the driving around 10 or 10:30am. Keeping your driving under 400 miles per day will allow you to get to each destination around 5pm, giving you the whole night to enjoy which ever city or town you have picked to visit. There will probably be a day or 2 where you will have to drive more or less than 400 miles.
As you are picking your destinations and spacing them about 400 miles apart, consider how many nights you want to stay at each particular location. Maybe you want to only spend 1 night at one location and 2 nights at another. It’s all up to you. Which is what makes road trips so much fun. When finishing up your planning keep in mind that you still need to plan your trip back. I recommend not coming back the same way you came. This will allow for you to see more destinations.
Below is a vague sample trip Itinerary;
Day 1: Friday Night: Leave Worcester, MA at 8pm. Drive 175 miles to New York City, NY. Arrive at 11:30pm. Check into the hotel.
Day 2: Saturday: Spend the day touring New York City.
Day 3: Sunday: Check out of hotel at 9:30am. Breakfast. Drive 280 miles to Washington D.C. arrive at 4pm. Check into hotel. Spend the night touring Washington D.C.
Day 4: Monday: Spend the Day touring Washington D.C.
Day 5: Tuesday: Check out of hotel at 9:30am. Breakfast. Drive 600 miles to Louisville, KY. Arrive at 10pm Check into the hotel. Grab a drink or 2 before calling it a night.
Day 6: Wednesday: Spend the Day touring Louisville, KY
Day 7: Thursday: Check out of hotel at 9:30am. Breakfast. Drive 350 miles to Cleveland, OH. Arrive at 4:30pm. Check into the hotel. Spend the night touring Cleveland.
Day8: Friday: Check out of hotel at 9:30am. Breakfast. Drive 190 Miles to Buffalo, NY. Arrive at 2:00pm. Check into the hotel. Spend the rest of the day and night touring Buffalo, NY.
Day 9: Saturday: Check out of hotel at 9:30am. Breakfast. Drive 180 miles to Verona, NY. Arrive at 2:00pm. Check into the Turning Stone Resort and Casino. Spend the night at the casino!
Day 10: Sunday: Check out of the Casino and return home from a great road trip! Drive 250 miles. Arrive home in 4 hours.