I recently had my own burst of inspiration after digging through some old gear and finding a free map of the state of Colorado I picked up that was marked for road cycling routes, but also clearly shows all the wilderness areas, state and national parks!
I have a not-so-secret love of maps! I love to look at them, study the roads and trails, ogle the contour lines; it’s hard to explain how much I love maps. So I pinned this Colorado state map up in my hallway where I see it several times a day.
It didn’t take me long to realize how many cool-looking wilderness areas and parks were within a couple hours drive of my home base and I quickly made a list of all the new places I wanted to go explore on just one or two-day trips.
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Tip #1: Get a good map of your area.
You don’t necessarily have to hang it, but keep it somewhere accessible. Planning trips based on a map of your area is an amazing way to start an adventure.
I would argue it’s even better than turning to Google, initially. If you google – things to do or places to go in your area – you will only get the most popular places, most touristy activities, or places with the highest paid advertisements showing up in your search results, or possibly other people’s blogs or reviews of only a few select areas.
If you start out by looking at a map, you can truly see everything that is located around you and available to you, it is not filtered through the lens of a search engine or another visitor’s bias. And you get to point out places on a map you might be passing on the way, or are not so far out of the way that you may want to stop at as well.
Tip #2: Prioritize your time for adventure.
This is closely tied to tip #1 and actually pin pointing what places you would like to explore in or around your local area.
Let’s say you pick out 3 destinations on your map you really want to go, then commit to going on one weekend trip a month to go check out those places! Or if there are lots of places on your list, commit to going to one a week or one every other week.
I love the idea of the ‘weekend warrior’ traveler because going on multiple smaller trips within a few hours of your home is usually way cheaper than a week long vacation to a far away destination. And you don’t have to take time off of work. Not to say you should never go to far away destinations! But that is not always possible due to budget or time constraints.
Tip #3: Get your gear ready for adventures!
Making sure you have all the gear and equipment you need, and that it’s in working order before peak traveling season is key to be able to just jump in the car and go. So dig out all your warm weather gear from where ever you stuffed it at the end of last summer and check it out.
Is your tent ready to go?
Do you have fuel for your stove handy? Does your stove still work?
Test it all out. Are your first aid supplies stocked and up to date? Do you need to refill anything?
Making sure all your gear is in working order and in a single, organized location, will make packing and hitting the road a lot more enjoyable.
For more posts about planning epic hiking adventures, check out:
- How To Plan Your First Ever Backpacking Trip
- How To Plan Ahead and Prepare – The Leave No Trace Way
- What I Wish I Knew Before Hiking The AT Alone
Share your favorite planning hacks in the comments below!