I was always a fan of a one day route. I would open up Google Maps, see what major cities I was driving through, and I would make a master list of zip codes so I didn't have to go Google searching. Ctrl+F will become your new best friend for searching for info. The best routes are when you already know the area you're traveling through on longer trips. Example: Grandma's sad she hasn't seen me in two weeks. Come see me and have dinner, get some of this stuff I bought ya, your parents will come over too, and tell me how life, school, & work are going in person. I can even spend the weekend and relax and watch old TV shows like Petticoat Junction, I Dream of Genie, Sanford & Son, and all those goodies I enjoy. And after everyone is asleep, I can watch HBO and catch up on Game of Thrones and Insecure.... Errr I mean let's take a personal day and go to grandma's house. I'll take Friday off, go mystery shop for some cash, get to grandma's late evening, have a later dinner or even pick up dinner for everyone, and relax Saturday and Sunday with my 80 year old grandparents & 50 year old parents. Maybe invite a cousin or two as well.
If I left Lexington Kentucky and went to Grandma's house near Williamson Kentucky/West Virginia I would pass through Lexington (of course), but I may look up zip codes for Winchester, Stanton, Williamson, Ky, Williamson, WV, Logan, WV, Chapmanville, WV, Prestonburg, KY, and on and on and see what I could see. I'd use 5-6 job boards and then individual companies I know don't usually post on the boards or forums.
I get ready to leave for the 3 hour drive to grandma's at 6 AM. Feed the cats & the husband and there isn't time for coffee. But wait, I'm shopping today so this is gonna be more like a 12 hour drive to Grammy's... So MF has a shop in Lexington and I make an offer for $50 and it gets accepted because no one has done this shop and it's the last day of a breakfast shop -- I get a sammich and coke at 6:05 am. The little workers try to be friendly, but they're tired. Me too. Coke is not a substitute for coffee. At 6:30 I pull out because I sat and enjoyed breakfast. I've got myself $50.
Intellishop has a $25 shop I can pick up down the road so I grab the camera, stop and do the shop for all of 10 minutes, make my notes, and head on down the way. Now it's 7:15. My next shop is a MF shop that has gotten up to $35. They open at 8 AM (not 7 like their website says) so I poke around to see what Walmart has that might interest me. They open. I run and do the shop. Takes about 5 more minutes and now I have some delicious treats to take to Grandma and Grandpa. I'm up to $105 so far and it's just a little after 8 AM.
I head over to Prestonburg and someone is shopping an express service on a $200 last day bonus so I get some nitrogen in my tires for ($30) and it's the earliest I can get there and they opened at 9am so I'm back on the road by 9:35am. $305 so far, free breakfast, free sweet treats, and fancy air in my tires.
Winchester has a bonus shop that has gotten up to $250 but it had to be done later in the day. It's a lot of driving and they need a shopper ASAP. Hmmm I have time. It's very out of my way..but I go and do that real fast and the distance for driving makes it time for the shop when I arrive -- An hour and forty five minutes there for a ten minute shop... And so I grab up a gas station shop that has gotten up to $36 along the way and around 12:20 take some photos and sit in a McDonald's to use free Wi-Fi. I hang out there until 1:30ish and then drive over to Stanton -- another half hour out of the way but times on these shops... I've got $591 if I don't goof anything up too bad.
In Stanton, it's 2pm but I grab another MF shop that I made an offer for $75 on and take a few photos inside the store. Takes me just a few more minutes and I'm on my way by 2:15. At this point I'm up to $666 so something must be about to go wrong. I am kidding, these numbers are fake, but routes can be done if you get good shops at high pay.
I head down to Williamson and get there at 4:15 ish and I know there is a Bluebox store for $25 and the same in Logan for $25. I'll do those but I grab a bonus bank in Logan and Chapmanville for $75 each to make $150 -- it's Friday so they are open until 6pm and I'm an idiot for shopping on a madhouse, early month Friday but here we go.. I have $866 now. It's about 6:30 by the time I wrap up and I sorta rushed the last of it but thankfully there was Pizza shop I could do. It has a bonus of $25 on it. $891 today.
Oh, and the restaurant informed me when I called that it's BOGO pizza day, do I want a second one for free? YES PLEASE. Grab the pizzas at about 6:40 and drive to grandma's. I get there about 6:50 with 2 large pizza's and $20 worth of sugary goodness. My mom and dad are visiting, so is my aunt and uncle, and I have food. Everyone tries to pay me for food. My mom bribes me with a gas card. Fine, I'll take the $20 gas card.
Wahoo. I have come to save the day. We all hang out, eat pizza, overeat our sugary pecan nom nom's & cheers to us. I have reports I gotta finish. I work on those until 2AM and then crash out. Those last reports probably said some funny stuff... because I had 2 glasses of wine and was really sleepy. I sit on my lazy rear end all weekend at Gran's house and visit all the people. I also creep on Sunday to see if there's anything SIMPLE I can do on the way home. I like that monaaaay. (I've kinda grown outta this mindset).
This is all entirely fictitious. The geography is all over the place, and I wrote it hurriedly -- but it could happen and it does. I woulda made $891 on the way to Grans where I was gonna go anyway. Sure, I blew about 20 hours and drove about 550 miles today... about $280 there... $891-280 is $611/20 so you figure I really only made $30 an hour?
Again, fake numbers and bad math but overall, it coulda been a fun day and I would have made some money on a trip I was already making. Sometimes, when the money is right, we drive in circles because of time restraints and so forth on shops. You really gotta find your own groove and start kinda small. I used to panic with 2-3 shops in a day. Then I would cram 14-25 in a day if I could work it out. Now, I'm super selective about my money and time spent mystery shopping. I'll keep my eyes open for $50-$150 shops and only work in a couple a week so I'm making the most money for the least time -- my spouse enjoys that much more and I've been working on my own business. Oh, and I also work on an organic farm part time now.