One of the most common things we’re asked to do from our social media followers and podcast listeners is to give them advice on their road trip route. Invariably, people have a set number of days (usually a week or two) to cram in as much adventure as possible, and the first draft of their route has them go-go-going without a moment to breathe.
We get it.
In fact, nearly three years into full-time travel, we’re still learning to slow down. We try to plan a couple of months at a time, and we always want to do too much. There are so many great places to see in this country, and we just can’t hit them all. We also can’t afford to hit them all! The more miles you drive, and the more attractions you visit, the more money you spend.
I can’t tell you how many times we show up at a destination and fall in love with it, only to be sad that we have to leave all too soon. So, we’re getting better at editing, and you can too. Do you really need to hit 12 National Parks in two weeks? Or would that be better spent just visiting Utah?
Only you can answer that for yourself, as people enjoy stuff at entirely different speeds. We’ll spend two weeks in a single national park and hit every single trail. But some people would go absolutely stir crazy doing that. One thing’s for sure though — there are a lot of destinations that just need some time. And what you see can’t be measured in miles.
For instance, if you try to go from Olympic National Park, to Glacier, to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons to the Black Hills all in one week, You’re going to spend at least three whole days driving. Plus you’re checking-in and loading into more hotels or campgrounds. That leaves one day for each park, and some of these places are the size of small states.
It’s all a lot more work than it looks like on paper. Most people can do a 10 hour day of driving, but three in a week plus driving around the parks themselves—it’s all very taxing. So, I can’t tell you exactly how much time to spend in one location, but I can tell you that slower is better. That compact is better. That if you stop and smell the roses, you’ll have a more relaxing vacation, and you’ll save a lot of money.