SAN ANTONIO – For a lot of families, summer is the time to pack up the car and take the ultimate road trip. Preparation is key, according to Consumer Reports, which offered tips to help the trip go as smoothly as possible.
Ken Mennella went big on last year’s summer road trip. His family traveled for two months across the country in a 35-foot-long trailer.
“It was such a great experience,” Mennella said. “Yellowstone was a big crowd-pleaser.”
But even the best road trip still can have road bumps.
“We were driving through Kansas on a highway and wound up having a blowout," Mennella said.
Although it was a setback, he was able to get help from a roadside assistance program.
“Look for a feature called trip interruption in your roadside assistance program,” said Mike Monticello, Consumer Reports’ auto editor. “It can protect you due to a breakdown or theft when you’re miles away from home, and this can reimburse you for hotels, meals or alternative transportation.”
Packing your car correctly is another way to help avoid setbacks.
“You want to make sure you don’t overload,” Monticello said.
You can find your vehicle's load limit on the driver’s side door jamb and in the owner’s manual.
Stowing your heaviest items on the bottom, especially in an SUV, keeps the center of gravity lower and reduces the chances of a rollover, Monticello pointed out.
As gas prices continue to climb, hitting the $3 mark in some areas, it’s important to find the best deals on gasoline. Downloading a gas app, such as GasBuddy, can help with savings.
Consumer Reports has crafted its first Road-Trip-Worthy score for 50 vehicles across six categories. Two of the top performers were the Toyota Highlander Hybrid in the SUV category and the Chevrolet Impala Premier in the car category. More information can be found at www.Consumerreports.org.