Sunday, May 28, 2006
From the Milwaukee JournalSentinal
Experts suggest getting children involved in decisions
By JAN UEBELHERR
Sweaty limbs, back-seat battles, sandwiches smooshed in wax paper - ahh the family car trip! It's this and so much more.
Or less, if you play it right.
For most families, a road trip is a fact of life when the weather warms. And this year's trip is still on, despite high gasoline prices, according to Pam Moen of AAA Wisconsin.
"Their travel is important and a lot of families maybe plan one big trip a year," she says. "Everybody looks forward to that, and it's a big deal, and they're going to continue with those plans despite the higher gas prices."
In fact, a survey in January by the Travel Industry Association of America showed that 81% of Americans who were planning a summer trip had already started thinking about it in January.
And despite the price of gas, a car trip remains a very economical way to travel, according to Jamie Jensen, author of the "Road Trip" series of off-the-beaten-path car travel guides. The latest, "Road Trip USA" (Avalon Travel Publishing, $25), came out at the end of April.
Gas prices have been going up for a while, he notes. "People got used to spending money," he said. "Now, it doesn't seem to be much of a factor. It's still a pretty efficient way to get around."
If the budget gets tight, families change the destination to someplace closer to home, packing more lunches and scoping out better deals in hotels.
"It's about families being together and creating memories," Moen said. "And people find a way to do that."
With help from Jensen, Lynn O'Rourke Hayes, editor of FamilyTravel.com, and mapmakers Rand McNally (www.randmcnally.com), here are practical tips that will make life on the road better for everyone:
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