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Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year and now more people are driving than flying due to the increased costs. Lauren Fix, the Car Coach, has some Thanksgiving travel tips.
Plan ahead — you won’t be alone on the roads this year. Families accustomed to the convenience of air travel may decide to endure a long drive instead this year to cut down on costs. With proper planning, you can have a safe and cost-effective trip.
Auto check up: Before you leave home, have an ASE certified technician inspect your car. Make sure he or she checks for any car maintenance left undone, inspects your tires, and provides a tune-up to help you get the best fuel economy on your trip.
Make frequent stops. Stop at least once every two hours to stretch your legs and walk around a bit.
Keep the little ones engaged. Magnetized board games, travel bingo, and word games are saviors on long car trips. Newer vehicles often have video displays and DVD players for the backseat. If your children watch movies or use game consoles, provide them with headsets so they don’t distract the driver.
Bring snacks. Most kids are content with small snacks throughout the day. Greasy “road food” definitely isn’t the right thing for staying alert or feeling good on trips. Bring fruits and vegetables that are easy to eat, like carrot sticks, bananas, and apples. Also consider easy snacks like granola bars and pretzels. Stay away from excessive caffeine and sugary soft drinks, in favor of juice and water. If you must use caffeine to stay awake, you probably shouldn’t be on the road.
Make it an adventure. Make a pit stop at a zoo, tacky tourist destination, or ask relatives or friends for advice for a stop on your route that the kids might enjoy. Both you and your kids will look forward to these breaks that parcel the trip into manageable pieces.
Use The Internet: Plan in advance with websites like Rand McNally, Trip Advisor, or MapQuest to decide your route and get turn-by-turn driving directions. For off-the-beaten-track ideas, turn to www.roadtripamerica.com and www.roadsideamerica.com for inspiration.
Be Weather Ready: Prepare for inclement weather and bad road conditions. If visibility is poor or the road becomes slippery, slow down. Prepare in advance for problems by packing a winter emergency kit. Also pack extra blankets, clothing, hand warmers, and water for each passenger.
Have patience! Holiday travel – especially in bad weather – may take much longer than anticipated. Allow extra time for weather and traffic, and arrive safely.