How to Make a Map of a Trip

How to Make a Map of a Trip
How exactly to make a map of your trip depends on the purpose of your map. A handmade memento of your journey requires a different kind and level of detail than a map you intend to simply use to get from point A to point B. In all cases, simplicity beats complexity. By the same token, detail isn't as important as direction. A good handmade map tells you how to get there without distracting you with what's on the ground.  Have fun with your map and keep it as a souvenir after your trip.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Guidebook, atlas or Internet access
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Pen
  • Art supplies (optional)
Step 1
Make a list of your start and finish points.
Step 2
Research your route. Make a list of turns, landmarks and stops. Examples might include "bear right at the Cascade Trailhead," "take Exit 231 for Memphis," "stop for the night at the giant sequoia grove," or "continue past the amusement park."
Step 3
Take a fresh sheet of paper. Draw a flowchart of circles and arrows, with one circle each for your start point, turns, stops and end point.
Step 4
In each circle, label the start, stop, turn or end with enough information for you to navigate later. For example, you might label one circle "Turn right on 1st street: the corner with the Art Museum" or "continue past the intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail."
Step 5
For each arrow, list the exact distance between the two circle points.
Step 6
Make a final copy of your trip map using a pen. If appropriate, arrange the circles to approximate your actual journey. Don't worry about making distance to scale, but blocking out their relative locations can be very helpful.
Step 7
Decorate your map if it seems appropriate.

Tips & Warnings

Keep a good, professionally done map on hand even after you've completed your trip map. Although usually too large and detailed to be helpful when you're on route, these can really help if you get off track or need to make a side trip.

Article Written By Jason Brick

Jason Brick has written professionally since 1994, publishing fiction and nonfiction in a variety of venues. He has completed hundreds of technical and business articles. Brick received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Oregon.

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