Whoever said “Getting there is half the fun” probably never drove cross-country in a minivan with three cranky kids and a carpet of crushed potato chips underfoot. But piling everyone in the car is still not only a cheap way to go, it’s also an American tradition: According to AAA, in 2012 between 85 and 90 percent of summer holiday travelers made the journey by car. And though extended vehicular togetherness always has its pitfalls (we’re looking at you, hundredth repeat of “Let It Go”), a little pretrip strategy should help you ride it out in peace.
The Plan: Give Your Car a Checkup
Check the air pressure of the tires and the coolant level, and make sure you’re up-to-date on oil changes. If you’re traveling a long distance, it wouldn’t hurt to have a technician give you the official go-ahead. (Since forewarned is forearmed, find out how often you really need to replace key auto parts.) You can budget for gas by checking fuelgaugereport.aaa.com, which makes an estimate based on your starting and ending points as well as the make, model, and year of your car.
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