Oh, and then there's Randy Olson.
The postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania has taken meticulous preparation to a new level with an epic car journey that takes in 48 US state capitals – and their administrative centres – in just eight and a half days.
Employing – we would wager – more nous than your average holiday planner, Olson used a combination of genetic algorithms and Google Maps to find the most efficient way to swing by each state capitol building in each of the US's 48 lower states (so not including Alaska and Hawaii). And he did it in a way that means the trip is the same no matter where in the loop you begin.
"For this road trip, there is one goal," writes Olson on his blog, "to take a picture at as many US state capitals as possible.
"We will travel only by car, so that rules out Alaska (too far away) and Hawaii (requires a plane flight) and leaves us with the 48 contiguous states (excluding DC).
Olson explains how he had to look up 2,256 directions to get the "true" distance between all of the state capitals, using Google Maps, then order the stops in such a way that the distance travelled is as small as possible, roughly ranking 1.24 x 1061 possible routes.
He ran the data through an genetic algorithm that optimised the driving routes to create a 13,310 mile journey that takes just over a week, et voila.
You might think a visit to 48 government buildings sounds a bit dry, but the journey will showcase to driver and passengers a wealth of American vistas, culture, architecture and people.
When asked if Olson had tried out his road trip, he said: "I do plan to eventually go on these trips but need to find a good time take a month or more off work.
"In the meantime, several folks have taken the US trips and found them to be an amazing experience."
As you might have suspected, this is not the first efficient road trip Olson has devised.
Taking a list of 50 places in Europe you have to visit in your lifetime from Business Insider, Olsen plotted a road trip around the continent that covers 16,287 miles over 14 days of driving and includes the likes of the Vatican, Munich, Granada, Monte Carlo, Bergen and Istanbul.
Olson has also made public the code used to optimise road trips public as well a series of instructions.
The Telegraph, London
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