Where to begin?

Where to start?

There are four considerations.

  1. We’d want to end up in the same place as we started because there’s always a hefty fee if you want to drop a car off in a location outside of the one you picked it up from.

  2. I think closer to the East Coast makes sense over the West, because why have a longer flight?

  3. Cost. Always, cost.

  4. Is any particular hub better for nailing a few states quicker?

So, where does BA fly direct to? Assuming the website I looked at is correct the list is:

CaliforniaLos Angeles
San Diego
LouisianaNew Orleans
NevadaLas Vegas
New YorkNew York
North CarolinaCharlotte
Dallas Fortworth
UtahSalt Lake City

Let’s put the states on the map for a proper look.

Direct Flights.png

There’s an interesting page over at http://www.math.uwaterloo.ca/tsp/data/usa/states.html which shows someone’s carefully planned route. They were trying to navigate the 48 in just four days. At 6,850 miles over 90 days, that’s only about 76 miles a day which is very leisurely. This is their map below.


It’s hard to see on the above map would I image it’s a lot of Interstates and that’s great for speed, but doesn’t make for an interesting trip. There are useful tips from the map though. Mostly that the square states tend to abut each other in a way where a quick loop and you can whoop through four in a thrice.

There’s a good page on using the Travelling Salesman problem to calculate the optimum route but visiting all the major landmarks along the way. You can go and read the article but yourself if you’re interested, but here are the figures.

224 hours of driving. So, 2 1/2 hours a day over the 90 days. Still very doable.

Also, it begins and ends at the same point.