Have you even been driving along on holiday and saw something that piqued your interest and you couldn’t decide whether the detour was worth it to go check it out or not? Have you ever, say, come across a sign that says “Come take a picture with a giant ceramic aardvark” and thought to yourself “Hey, that sounds at least mildly interesting, I wonder if I should check it out?” Cheryl and I have.
We couldn’t decide what to do. It was at least mildly interesting but not something that would typically get its own blog post.
If you’ve also ever experienced a conundrum like this then the Hendrickson Method for Travel Detour Decision Making is for you! (Formerly known as the Hendrickson System for Travel Decision Making; the name is still in the works – leave a comment with your ideas.) It is designed to help you make those tough decisions about intriguing detours. It helps put these decisions into a rational and logical framework. It’s not perfect yet it’s only the Alpha version. Beta testing will begin shortly.
The idea is simple. You rate how interested you are from 1 – 5 then make some adjustments and anything 3 or above in the end means you go.
Let’s walk through it one step at a time.
First, you have to find out about the detour. See a sign that gives you some information. Read it in a book. Overhear some other travellers talking about it in a rest stop bathroom. Whatever. Just find out it exists. Once you’ve got your information, however much you have and however much effort you are willing to put in to get more then come up with an idea for how interested you are. Plot that on a scale of 1 – 5. (If you want to rate it a 0 stop trying to calculate the points and just keep driving, it’s definitely not worth taking a detour.)
1: I am mildly interested.
5: I would drive a day out of the way to see this thing!
After you’ve scored it, average your score with any other decision maker. Let’s say Cheryl, given her unrequited love of aardvarks, rated the ceramic statue a 3 and I, being only mildly interested and somewhat jealous of the aardvark rated it only a 1, our overall score would be 2.
Does this mean we go or not? Still not sure. Now it gets interesting.
Once you’ve got your average interest ask yourself the following questions:
A: If I go, will it stop me from being able to get to where I need to go by the time I absolutely need to get there? (Absolutely need to get there is a relative term that only you – and potentially the person waiting for you – can know the answer to.)
B: If I go, will it prevent me from doing something more interesting? (Again, relative and only you can know the answer to this one. Stop trying to Google it.)
Each time you answer “Yes” to questions A and B you subtract 1 point. Each time you answer “No” you add 1 point.
For example, Cheryl and I established that we have a combined “2” interest in said aardvark. However, we had nothing booked for that evening and nothing else of interest was on the map for the foreseeable future so we went +1, +1. Our total score was a 4. 4 is greater than or equal to 3. We went.
However, if you happen to know that in the other direction is a giant honey badger giving out free high-fives that you rate on average a 3 but you wouldn’t be able to go if you went to the aardvark, then it would get a +1, -1. Total score is a 2. 2 is less than 3. You wouldn’t go. This was not the case for us.
Simple right? Hasn’t failed us yet. (Though we mostly use it when deciding to detour to waterholes or random rock outcroppings.)
Well, except when trying to decide between two extremely most incredible of all time, super duper interesting things, that’s when life gets tricky. Sometimes you’ve just got to switch your schedule around and be flexible. You are on vacation after all.