Vacation travel by car

Thursday, June 9, 2011

With Memorial Day celebrated last week, the official start to summer is upon us, and what better way to kick off the season than by planning a much awaited, highly anticipated summer vacation?

And with all the ruthless price gouging at the gas pumps affecting all forms of travel, many families are planning shorter trips by car for their summer vacations.

With that in mind, please find helpful these tips for travel by car:

*Plan itineraries and arrange accommodations well in advance. Reservations for hotels, restaurants and rental cars get booked quickly during peak travel times. Your travel agent can help you get the lowest rate and make sure your rental car has room for your family, luggage and whatever souvenirs you bring home.

*Get a tune up.

Before any long-distance drive, make sure to have your oil changed and your brakes, fluids and tire pressure checked. The slightest deficiency in air pressure significantly reduces your car's gas mileage. On the flip side, too much air can result in a flat.

*Get an early start to avoid holiday weekend gridlock.

Traveling during late night/early morning hours helps. The worst times to travel are after meals since most travelers postpone leaving until they've eaten with their families. Make sure that all drivers are thoroughly rested.

*Be well-prepared

Plan enjoyable passenger amenities for lengthy drives to help shorten the trip, including snacks, beverages, music, laptops, reading materials, texting friends (not the driver!), crossword puzzles, card and other"car" games, etc.

Most of all, enjoy your vacation time. You've earned it!