In Dana Travels

You might think that someone who works in travel marketing and travels so often for work wouldn’t have the itch to travel some more. But not me! It’s springtime, and the travel bug has bitten again. Looks like it’s time for a Spring Break getaway.

Since my family has limited time and moderate funds, I typically opt for a driving trip when the kids have a few days off of school. Although there are many faraway spots on my bucket list of places to visit, it can be pretty exciting to explore new destinations in my very own backyard.

A fun way to check out places we’ve never been is to use an online map radius tool that clearly shows different destinations in a given distance. For instance, check out this one:

Here’s how it works: Assume you only want to invest a half-day’s drive from your destination. Enter 250 miles as the radius and then your zip code. Enlarge the map graphic to see every location within that distance. You’ll probably be surprised to learn how many fun and exciting places fall within that area. Even with gas averaging $4 a gallon, driving 250 miles in a car that gets 20 mpg will cost you well under $100. Add in tolls and food, and it’s still very affordable and considerably less than plane fare and a rental car.

Last year, we used this mapping tool to locate a central location to spend a weekend with family members who live out of state. It was a great solution because no one had to do all of the driving or handle all the hosting—plus, we got to experience something new. We drew one radius from their town and one from ours to see where the two would intersect. There were tons of possible cities to choose from.

Ultimately, we landed in Wheeling, West Virginia. Typically, I never would have planned a trip to Wheeling, but after checking out their CVB website, annual event schedule and some independent travel sites, we discovered a few interesting things that we planned to see during our visit and also did a little impromptu exploring when we arrived. Surprisingly, we found several excellent restaurants, funky boutiques and antique shops that were knee-deep in fascinating finds.

If you’ve never mapped a getaway, give it a try! You’re sure to expand your list of potential vacation spots and have fun doing it at the same time.

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