This has been a labor of love of mine for years. I first started compiling this list when I would come across an article or Facebook post with a place I thought would be cool to visit one day. I was a afraid that I would forget about them when I finally got a chance to travel. I started a simple spread sheet. That spread sheet has gotten quite huge over the years.
Just this last year I decided to be brave and invite others to add places that they know about. There is so much out there worth visiting. Sometimes a person stumbles upon something really cool that we would miss out if they don’t tell us about it. Other times something may seem cool in the description, but after visiting it the person can let us know that it really isn’t worth our time. Locals may know about cool things to see that aren’t in the tourist books. Those are the types of things that I want to include on my spreadsheet. I want to be able to choose from lots of choices when I visit an area.
Please do not delete areas. If it is no longer open or just not worth our time, etc, then put a comment in the column before or in the recommendation column. That way people know it is no longer available instead of that it is just missing.
Thanks and happy travels.
Here is the process that I use to find my route using this spreadsheet:
First I find everything that I can for the route I plan to take. I check out tripadvisor for every town I can think of along the way and about half an hour around the route. Or if I know I’ll have more time I go out further searching. I also google the towns, big and small, with tourism in the search. I use lots of copy and paste to transfer the info to the spreadsheet.
Once I have everything there then I put things in a basic order. For example for a trip I’m planning from KC to Chicago I put a number 10 in the first column for everything in NE Missouri, then a number 20 for everything in Eastern Iowa, then 30 for everything in southern IL, and 40 for things in Chicago. I recommend that in case others are using it at the same time put your initials and then the number.
Then I go back and start actually looking at getting from one location to the next and put things in the logical order that would work. So the things in Northern Missouri would be in the teens. Everything in Eastern Iowa is in the 20s. If I run out of numbers or add something after I’ve already used all the number then I use decimals. This is the first point of eliminating things that are a little too far away or that are not as interesting to us.
For the next step I start plotting drive times and approximate times for each location and plot possible camping locations. This is where I really cut down the choices. I still keep a few extras in case plans don’t go as planned, things are closed etc, but I then have a general plan of when and where. We don’t always stick to it exactly, but it gives a good framework and we can make sure we see the places we definitely want to. I’m checking some different ways to add them to a map.
I wish I could find a way to copy certain lines of the spreadsheet and have them converted to locations on a map, but I haven’t figured that out yet. Please let me know if you know how to do that. Right now I’m experimenting with https://www.travellerspoint.com/ and https://roadtrippers.com which were recommended to me.
When you have created your route please COPY (make sure you don’t CUT) the info. Then open this document, create a new tab and paste the info there. Your work to plan your trip may be useful to others (or me :). It will also keep it handy for you to find easily. If you aren’t sure how to do this part (or any part) let me know and if I have the time I will help you with it or do this part for you.
Final step is to go back and delete your markers so that the spreadsheet doesn’t become crowded with them.
Thanks, and happy travels.