A few weeks ago, as I was planning an upcoming solo trip to Arizona, I started to reflect on my previous trips. I was trying to figure out what aspects of a trip made up my ideal way to travel. I shared the 9 ideas here and then in another post shared inspiration on how to adopt some of these same practices on your own trip.
Today’s post is all about how to figure out what makes up YOUR perfect road trip.
Step 1 – Reflection
Think about trips you’ve taken in the past. Grab a piece of paper or the Notes app on your phone and write down the highlights of those trips. Was it a specific place, a museum, who you were with, the scenery, where you stayed, an activity, or something else?
Step 2 – Look for Patterns
Start to look at the similarities between those highlights. Did you notice that you wrote a museum, an ally of street art, and live music? Maybe something specifically surrounding the arts is part of your trip.
Or maybe for you, you noticed that sunrise over the beach, laying by the pool, and a boat ride were some highlights. This may indicate that water views or being near or in water is a must do.
Or maybe for you, you enjoy visiting historical sites, listening to a podcast or a book about the area, and you enjoy a guided tour from a park ranger. Likely, you’re interested in either the history or just learning in general.
Look for patterns among the things that you have found to be the highlights for you.
Step 3 – Brainstorm Your List
Start to write your list of what makes up your ideal trip. List anything that comes to mind. More is better here. We will refine the list later.
Your list could include tent camping, a spot to mountain bike, a strenuous hike, yoga with a scenic view, making pour over coffee at your campsite, and traveling with your best friend. Yours could also look like staying in a more upscale resort, spending a few hours by a body of water, going to a nice dinner in a town or city, playing tennis, and going to the spa. Everyone’s is going to be very different.
Step 4 – Refine The List
Now that you’ve brainstormed your list, begin to narrow it down. Ask yourself, is this just something I would like to do on a trip, or is this something I would be incredibly disappointed by if it didn’t happen? For me, I love a scenic train ride but that’s not a must have on my list. It’s just a bonus. Begin to sort out what’s necessary versus what’s extra.
Step 5 – Use Your List!
As you begin to plan your next trip, find ways to include these items. You don’t have to do every item every single day, but instead try to find space to fit 1 or more in each day. If you’re traveling with a friend or your partner, check in with other people as you plan to ensure that their ideal trip qualities can be met as much as possible as well.
Step 6 – Reflect & Refine Again
I know I just shared what 9 things make up my ideal trip. But since I’ve been home from that Arizona trip, I’ve reflected and actually have a few minor adjustments I’d make to my list. The more I travel, the more refined my list will become. This may happen for you too. Look for what gave you incredible joy that may not have made the list or where you may have been disappointed when something didn’t happen. Keep reflecting and refining as you need and don’t forget to ask others you travel with what’s on their list. This way you all have the best chance at the most memorable trip!