How to Create Trip Maps

How to Create Trip MapsEvery year, typically in the spring and summer, millions of people plan or set out on vacation, or take a road trip out to the campgrounds to enjoy the great outdoors. Planning a quality outdoor trip requires a bit of research and ingenuity to ensure that you can take in as much as possible while at your destination, and along the way. A variety of online tools are available to help aid in trip planning and the like. However, if you have a road atlas handy, you can create a detailed sightseeing or adventure map directly from the atlas. You may want to stop off at cultural or historic sites, as well as national monuments or recreation areas. The route is all up to you, and arranging it to suit your interests can be just as fun as the trip itself.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Large-scale or composite map
  • Road atlas
  • Black marker
  • Highlighter
  • Ruler
 
Step 1
Place a large-scale map out flat on a table, and have the atlas handy nearby. The map should be either of the entire region/country that you're traveling through or a composite map of the 50 U.S. states. Mark or circle your destination and starting point on the map with a marker or highlighter.
Step 2
Draw a straight line from the starting point to the destination point. Use a ruler as a straight edge to help draw a straight line.
Step 3
Locate all points of interest in close proximity to the line that you've drawn by cross-referencing them with the atlas. The atlas will show points of interest, state and national parks, campgrounds and other features, whereas the large map may not. You may find many points of interest. Just pick the points that you wish to stop and see on the trip, and mark them with a highlighter.
Step 4
Locate the most convenient route that corresponds to your destination and points of interest. Interstate travel is the fastest way to get where you're going in most cases. However, interstate travel usually passes farther away from many points of interest. Locate highways off the highly traveled interstate roads that run near your stopping points. You can incorporate both interstate and highway travel together along the route if you desire. After you've selected the best route to ensure that you'll see what you want to see, connect all the roads together by drawing a line with a black marker over the roads on the map.
Step 5
Label all of your points of interest on the map so you know what they are, then take the map to a copy/fax store if you don't have one available, such as UPS or Kinkos. Fold the map down so that you can only see the area of the map where your route is outlined. Try to fold the map into a square or rectangle for convenience. Scan, then make a copy of the map, then reduce the size of the copy to a convenient 8.5-by-11 sheet of paper.
Step 6
Ask the copy store to laminate the map for you. This will make your new map more durable, and you can easily write on it with dry-erase markers if you want to take notes or write down mileage. If you wish, you can color the map to add a bit of detail prior to laminating.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Road atlases from Rand McNally, MapQuest or Frommer's are typically detailed with a wide selection of points of interest to choose from, as well as being updated annually and highlighting road construction areas for your convenience.
 
Road atlases from Rand McNally, MapQuest or Frommer's are typically detailed with a wide selection of points of interest to choose from, as well as being updated annually and highlighting road construction areas for your convenience.

Article Written By Jeremiah Blanchard

Jeremiah Blanchard has been writing professionally since 2006, specializing in topics related to nature, the environment, conservation and philosophy. His work has appeared in activist columns on Socyberty and Authspot. Blanchard studied art at William Carey College and history at the University of Southern Mississippi.

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