Old-fashioned family road trip not expected to go out-of-style anytime soon

BCAA offers tips to keep families feeling fab-u-lous on the freeway

VANCOUVER, June 25 /CNW/ - Even with the price of gas continuing to hover above $1 per litre, many B.C. families still plan to 'hit the road' for their vacations this summer. According to the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA), requests for road trip planning services have remained steady over the past few years with close to 10,000 TripTik® customized road trip planners produced for members in 2009. The most popular requested destinations so far this year are: 1. California, 2. Arizona, 3. Ontario, 4. Nevada, and 5. Newfoundland.

Although vacationing by car can be a budget-friendly way to explore and bond as a family, toting wee ones, 'tweens' or teens on four wheels presents some challenges-namely keeping the peace between kids or keeping them entertained. BCAA advises that careful advance planning is essential to ensuring road trips are fun for everyone.

"A well-planned road trip can provide families with a vacation experience that is cost-effective, efficient and safe," says BCAA's Membership Manager, Gina Iuliano. "Good planning allows families to spend less time dealing with problems or logistics and more time creating fun-filled memories."

To peak - and hold - everyone's interest during the entire trip, BCAA suggests families involve their children in the planning process. "Get children excited about the trip by having them mark the route with coloured pens or choose a restaurant or point of interest to visit," adds Iuliano. "Rather than focusing on the final destination and the length of the trip, children will experience and enjoy an adventure along the way, one they helped design."

To help alleviate tensions and boredom, and keep families safe on the road, BCAA offers "vacationistas" some tips for each stage of the road trip.

Planning

  • Decide on some stops beforehand. Knowing ahead of time where certain sites, attractions and even rest areas are located will help make the trip fun and reduce stress.
  • Invest in an iPod or portable DVD player. Music and movies offer a good break for everyone. Remember to keep the sound volume low and watch DVDs in the backseats to avoid distracting your driver.

Preparation

  • Give your vehicle a thorough tune-up. Get a checkup two weeks prior to your trip to allow time for repairs. Get the following items checked: wiper blades, all fluids, tire pressure and tread, hoses and belts, brakes, and air conditioning.
  • Well-stocked first aid kit. Include bandages, gauze, pain reliever, allergy medication, antiseptic, and any other medication your family may need.
  • Pack a few light tools. Carry a small variety of tools such as: screwdrivers, a hammer, an adjustable wrench, pliers, some baling wire, a flashlight, a can of WD-40, and a rag.
  • Activity bag. Fill a bag with crayons, books, and games etc. Make one bag for each child and let them choose what to put in it.
  • Bring a pillow and blanket. Having something soft and snuggly will help the younger kids drift off to sleep.
  • Keep their tummies full. Pack a cooler with juice boxes and low-mess snacks.

On the road

  • Keep key items (snacks, paper towels, mp3 player, etc.) within reach. This will help you avoid making unnecessary stops to search for items in the back.
  • Divide and conquer. Change seats at each stop (and switch drivers if you can) to change the dynamics and keep the peace.
  • Take breaks and recharge. Stretch or run out some energy or boredom. Once everyone is back in the car, save the electronics for later and interact with each other by talking, singing or playing old-fashioned road trip games.

BCAA also recommends that vacationers take the following - often forgotten - precautions to ensure their own and loved ones' safety while on vacation:

  • Travel medical insurance. If you're travelling outside B.C., ensure you carry adequate medical insurance for all of your family in case of emergencies. Without insurance, basic medical services out of the country could cost in the thousands of dollars.
  • Newspaper and mail delivery. If you plan to be away for a while, stop newspaper delivery and ask a neighbour to collect community newspapers and your mail.
  • Mobile phones. Carry a cell phone and its car charger with you. Remember to pull over if you need to use it or have a passenger place the call.

Vacationers are encouraged to visit their nearest BCAA sales location or www.bcaa.com for more info about North American road travel planning and travel medical insurance. BCAA members planning a road trip can request a TripTik® customized road trip planner, which includes detailed maps, up-to-date road advisories, accommodations and points of interest, anywhere in Canada or the U.S.


About BCAA
BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C., with over 100 years experience and gross annual sales of nearly $400 million from its membership, insurance and travel businesses. A BCAA Membership can be found in the wallets of over 780,000 British Columbians and in one-in-four B.C. households. For the past two years, BCAA has received the highest score in Canada for home insurance customer satisfaction in a J.D. Power and Associates study. And, for the past four years, BCAA has been named one the 50 Best Employers in Canada by international HR consultants Hewitt Associates and the Globe & Mail's Report on Business magazine. To learn more about BCAA's products, services and member advocacy, visit href="www.bcaa.com">www.bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation visit href="www.tsf-bcaa.com">www.tsf-bcaa.com.

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association

For further information: For further information:

or to request an interview, please contact:

Niela Melanio

BCAA Public Affairs Advisor

Office: 604-268-5342 (M-F between 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

Cell: 778-228-8859 (any time)

Email: niela.melanio@bcaa.com


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