The Ultimate Summer Road Trip Outline and Manual Part 1: Packing Essentials and Your Packing Strategy
We are right in the middle of the summer and many families and friends still have big plans to hit the roads before school starts to experience a great American tradition; Summer Time Family Road Trips. Heck, I myself know of 3 families that are planning road trips of varying degrees. One is merely heading north to New England, another is traveling down to Disney World with the fam and another is making the ultimate journey and plans on driving across this great nation. Regardless of the miles each will travel, there are a number of constants that you must pay attention to as you plan your trip and finally start the engine on day 1.
Remember this, no matter how hard you plan or how smart you believe yourself to be, you are going to have stressful moments not only on the open road, but also as you plan and pack. This is okay so do not fret. The perfect way to get out of the house with the entire family is to plan an adventure that will allow you to create memories that will last you a lifetime…and do so on budget that will not break the kids college fund! Just always go back to the fact that you are doing this to bond as a family, see many of the wonderful landmarks across this country, have fun, laugh and enjoy each others company without the normal day-to-day distractions that pull most families in different directions.
To minimize the amount of headaches during the trip, I suggest that you seriously put a large amount of effort and energy into planning the trip. While this isn’t the most fun or glamorous part of a road trip, proper planning will enable you to have a saner, safer and more jubilant time in your car, with your family on the winding roads. Some of these hot tips will strike you as being no brainers, but you would be shocked at how many basic items are overlooked in the midst of getting your little ones ready, making sure your vehicle is in top-notch condition and that you and your loved one are on the same page for the trip. Point is the basics are crucial and you cannot afford to overlook any of them.
Packing for Your Summer Road Trip
Pack with care! Pack smart! Pack & prep efficiently! For example, when I say pack smart, make sure that items you need to access on a regular basis are accessible. Make sure you enter all of your hard hours of route prepping into your GPS, and or Navigation, device. Furthermore, you need a backup so you must have all of your road maps, with your planned route outlined, safely packed in your vehicle. You must pack a spare key and the critical part of this rudimentary notion is that you put that spare key in your wallet. Think about it…if you pack the spare key in a bag inside of your automobile, what good will that do if you are unlucky enough to lock your primary car keys inside of the vehicle?
While I pray that no one ever needs to use the list of items I am about to outline, you must prepare for any type of emergency that may arise on the open roads so that you can navigate your family to safety while minimizing anxiety and the possibility of injury. Thus, here approximately 14 things to have in your car this summer in the event of an emergency.
A car jack in case you get a flat tire. You should clearly inspect and confirm that you spare tire is present before leaving as well. Otherwise, this car jack will have you feeling a bit more like a jack a**.
Purchase a spare charged cell phone or extra battery, which must be charged prior to hitting the road, so that you can still call for help in a pinch. Many of our great American roads are in isolated areas and may make it difficult to make an outgoing call. Therefore, you want to have as much battery juice as possible in case you need to hike to find a signal. Let me put it like this, it barely takes up any room in your vehicle and the benefit outweighs the added cost a million fold.
Road flares will assist emergency worker and rescuers if your vehicle becomes disabled. If your vehicle has fallen into a ditch or if there is incremental weather, your road flares will greatly enhance the likelihood of you being found in an expedited manner.
Jumper cables in case your battery dies while parked at a monument or rest stop. Providing you had your vehicle professionally checked by a factory trained technician, preferably at a new car dealership like Windsor Nissan in East Windsor, NJ, the likelihood of your battery meeting its death on a summer road trip is very low. This is more of a concern on Winter crusade across country, but nonetheless, Jumper cables do not take up much room and should always be stored in your vehicle.
Emergency triangles to place in the road if your vehicle becomes disabled and cannot make it to the shoulder lane
Candles & matches as a backup to your flashlight or to assist in making a fire.
Flashlights & spare batteries will allow you to what is going once the sun goes down and will greatly enhance your ability to signal for help at night. Make sure you have a bright bulb and make sure you have extra batteries. While you want to conserve the use of your flashlight, you may find the need to use it more than expected since your children could be scared of the pitch black environment. Remember, you always want to keep everyone as calm as possible and using your flashlight to keep your family feeling safe might just do the trick.
Blankets for your entire family. You would be amazed how frigid it gets in the desert during the middle of the night and the ability to keep you and your family warm is vital in a scenario such as this.
First Aid Kits should always be kept in your vehicle. If you do not have one, go purchase one immediately regardless of your long distance driving plans. If you currently have one stored in your auto, make sure that the supplies are abundant in the event that someone is hurt in an accident. Keep in mind accidents can also occur as you explore hiking trails, explore monuments, visit amusement parks and just in every day daily life. One more thing, more important than making sure you have adequate supply levels, be sure you know what everything is in your First Aid Kit and you know how to apply or use it.
A basic tool kit that includes screw driver, hammer, wrench, small shovel, etc will enable you to fix minor problems on your own. Moreover, and a fact often overlooked, even if you do not know how to make minor repairs or corrections to vehicles, there is a very good chance that a passerby may have the knowledge / ability, but not have the necessary tools. Plus, a shovel will help you dig out of a ditch, wet mud and plenty of other scenarios. You can purchase a folding shovel similar to those used by back country skiers and snowboarders that will easily fit in your vehicle.
Water & dried food will keep you hydrated, alert and allow you to maintain your blood sugar levels. You never know how long it will take rescue vehicles or other road warriors to find you so you need to be prepared to keep your family healthy while you wait for help, or worse to be randomly found. Dried food like granola bars, dried fruit, power bars / cliff bars, beef jerky, canned nuts, peanut butter and other similar foods are perfect because they are packed with nutrients and protein that will enable you to keep a high energy level without going bad in the heat. Finally, these snacks will also be consumed throughout the good times of your road journey allowing you to save money, time and still eat nutritious.
Kitty litter or a bag of sand….yes, kitty litter acts as a very good tool to assist your vehicle in gaining traction. Similar to sand, by spreading kitty litter around your tire and wet mud, you will improve your traction tremendously.
Once you gather all of your essentials and pack your other belongings not only will need to make sure the most used items are located towards the top and hence easy to get to, but making sure everything is securely stowed is equally imperative. These packing tips are just the tip of the iceberg to the perfect summer road trip. In soon to be published additions to The Ultimate Summer Road Trip Outline and Manual we will be covering how and what you need to professional have serviced and prepped on your vehicle prior to your departure date, a few tips that will greatly enhance how you plan the actual Road Trip route, driving safety tips that every summer road warrior should pay attention to and some helpful links and websites that will make your family summer adventure not only safer and saner, but more FUN as well!
Top 10 Tips for Winter Driving
- For driving in the snow, increase your following distance of any vehicle in front of you to eight to ten seconds. If you were unaware, the normal following distance on dry pavement is three to four seconds. Basically, give a little more than twice the distance you normally would when driving in the snow. This increased distance of safety will provide you with enough room to safely stop.
- Whenever you drive on snow or ice, don’t stop if you can avoid it. There is a huge difference as it relates to beginning to move a Nissan Altima car from a full stop compared to slowly accelerating while the Altima sedan is still rolling. Keep this in mind when approaching a red traffic light. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling by time the traffic light changes to green, you will exponentially increase your odds continuing on your route without getting stuck.
- Do not use cruise control when driving on any type of slippery surface i.e. wet, ice, sand or snow.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up. Furthermore, if your vehicle gets stuck or damaged, the extra gas will allow you to keep your vehicle running and thus keep you warm and safe.
- Clean all of your windows and make sure your wiper blades are clean of debris. If your wiper blades appear to be clean, but still streak across your windshield you need to replace them. Also, always make sure that your antifreeze washer solvent is topped off. On a similar note, be sure the wipers are turned off before starting the engine to prevent damage to the wiper motor.
- When driving in the snow or on icy surfaces, accelerate and decelerate slowly with the front wheels pointed straight. The best way to gain, or regain, traction is by applying the gas slowly. This will also reduce the probability of your car skidding as you begin to move. If you let the wheels spin, you will only dig deeper into the snow. A skid occurs when the driver applies the brakes so hard that one or more wheels lock, which is why it is imperative that you decelerate your sedan slowly.
- Before leaving in your car, truck, van or suv, start your auto and turn the heater on for approximately two minutes before using the defroster. Don’t you hate when you have a foggy windshield? If you are normal and your answer is yes, this trick will prevent moisture from fogging the windshield when warm air hits the frigid glass.
- If your vehicle gets stuck in the snow, STAY with your car. To start, your vehicle will provide you with shelter and keep you warm. Moreover, it is more likely for rescuers to find your vehicle in a storm vs. you on foot. There is also a chance that you could lose sight of your vehicle in a snowstorm with blowing snow. The only reason you should get out of your vehicle is to tie a brightly colored cloth or piece of clothing to the antenna to signal distress. If your vehicle does not have an antenna, place the bright article at the top of a closed window. If the sun goes down and you are still stranded with your vehicle, leave the dome light on since it only uses a very minimal amount of electricity.
- Remove all snow from your vehicle before you hit the road in your car. Depending on the amount of snow on your vehicle, the added weight can adversely affect how your vehicle steers, starts and stops. However, the main purpose is to protect the drivers around you. How do you think you would react if you were driving along and a giant slab of snow came flying off of the vehicle in front of you…and maybe even hit your windshield? You would freak out and most likely swerve and/or stop abruptly and neither of those actions should be performed while driving even in the best of conditions.
- Never warm up your vehicle in a garage. Technically, do not warm up your car in an enclosed area, but for 99.9% percent of people that means their garage. It is never a good idea to enter a room filled with carbon monoxide…especially when you are about to operate a car!
Windsor Nissan in East Windsor, New Jersey hopes that you find these 10 Winter Driving Tips helpful. Especially, if you happen to live on the East Coast and are enduring yet another horrid winter storm as we are at 590 U.S. 130 East Windsor, NJ 08520. Remember, always wear your safety belt and please drive safe!
Memorial Day is here and many of you are probably enjoying a cold one and getting ready to begin some serious grilling with your family and friends. However, the day will come to an end and everyone will be hitting the roads to drive back home today so these easy to follow tips will at least save you a few dollars.
While Spring gas prices are already trending higher then usual, these tips will be ever more important if we experience record highs for the 2013 summer. The hunt for less expensive gas is not, and does not, need to be difficult. Like most daily activities today, there are apps out there to help.
GasBuddy.com started out as a website that let users report and view fuel prices in their area to help others find cheap gas locally. It now has an app for both iOS and Android devices.
Gregg Laskoski, an analyst for GasBuddy, said the app can help drivers save money.
“A lot of people don’t realize how much of a gap exists just in their local markets,” he said. “In Miami … there was a gap in the lowest priced station and the highest priced station at $1.05 a gallon. In mini-markets, it can be $0.50, $0.60, $0.70 cents per gallon.”
This app will not only save you money, but it turns into a fun game as well as you earn points for entering gas prices in your local market. Depending how much you drive on annual basis, will clearly determine how much you save with the assistance of an application like GasBuddy, but figure that you will save anywhere between $250 to $300 for every 15,000 miles you drive.
Aside from a helpful app like GasBuddy.com, here are 6 basic money-saving tips to help you determine where, and how, you fill up next.
1. Pay Attention to the Newest Price Reports
Whichever app or website you use to retrieve local gas prices, be sure to pay attention to the age of the information. For example., postings from 22 hours ago are probably not very reliable whereas information posted 3 hours ago is most likely on the money.
2. Pick a Card, But Not Just Any Credit Card
The credit card you use at the gas station can be the critical difference between saving you money at the local pump or costing you more then you initial thought.
Many stations will charge a surcharge unless [you] use their particular gas card. On the flip side, you can seek out and get a credit card that includes specific perks related to purchasing gasoline. For example, the Chase Freedom credit card can provide you with 5 percent rebate on gas. But to complicate matters, you better make sure that you are filling up at a gas station that does not have the up-charge when paying with your credit card since the uptick in cost will most likely wipe out your savings.
To put simply, If you are paying with a credit card, you can sometimes be slapped with an extra fee at the pump so pay attention.
3. Location, Location, Location
Gasoline stations near the highway can be a win if there is more than one major truck or travel stop or a loss if there is only one station and it is small in size. Also, in areas like NJ, Sunoco has contracts with the Turnpike Authority to provide fuel services on the Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, but under the terms of the agreement, those specific gas stations may only change their prices weekly, prior to 7 am on Fridays.
4. Keep an Eye on Those Truck Stops
Truck stops are a good indicator to see if the price of gas will go up because they sell ample amounts of gas very quickly. Hence, truck stops are constantly receiving new loads of gasoline and that means that truck stop owners are paying the most-up-to-date prices for gasoline. You can use this tip in conjunction with the previous fuel saving tidbit to determine whether or not you should fill your vehicle up in NJ before or after the weekly price change.
5. Fill Up in an Area With Many Gas Stations
This is really just common sense since competition will typically keep prices lower.
6. Fill Up Near State Lines
Filling up near state lines will save you money. States are more competitive because of any difference in taxes. For example, the combined tax in Illinois is nearly $0.61 per gallon, where Missouri is $0.36 per gallon. This holds a lot of weight if you travel the roads in the Northeast or the Mid-Atlantic since a typical road trip often involves crossing multiple state lines.
Be sure to take a moment of silence to remember the brave service men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Have fun cooking, attending parades, swimming in the ocean, camping in the mountains or just relaxing this Memorial Day and from everyone at Windsor Nissan, please drive safe…and save some money at the gas pumps!!!
It is pretty simple when it comes down to it; find ways to maximize your MPG. Driving a car can be analogous to a video game. For example, you can drive from point A to point B exactly as stated by your Navigation or Google Maps just like you can play Zelda on Nintendo from beginning to end, but Google Maps and your vehicle do not tell that there are tons of ways to manipulate your car that will save you real money and time by earning an extra 50 miles on the road compared to your previous full tank of gas in your 2013 Nissan Rogue.
Whether you are visiting family, heading to the beach or camping in the mountains, you are probably driving, as it is far more convenient then having to strip down at airport security and that is after paying United Airlines $25.00 for your bag. Considering 31.2 million people hit the roads on Memorial Day Weekend, US drivers will spend approximately $1.44 billion filling up at the pump.
So, in an attempt to save you some of your hard earned wages and to make a small impact on our environments (come on….every bit helps), here are the Top 5 Fuel Saving Tips that will enhance the amount of miles you will achieve while driving per gallon of gasoline this Memorial Day Weekend (and obviously anytime that you are driving your vehicle).
1. Plan Ahead & Pick Your Route Wisely
Most people are fairly lazy when it comes to this specific topic since vehicle navigation is becoming as standard as a CD player in new vehicles. Combine that with the prevalent use of smart phones and map applications and you fill find that most people simply get into their vehicle and then figure out how to get to their end point from the driver’s seat. Yet, since everyone relies on this method, the end result is having everyone on the same road at the same time in a gigantic traffic jam…..wasting fuel.
If you plan ahead, you can avoid this nightmare and waste of expensive fuel. It might mean taking the road less-traveled, but it could result in a more pleasant, scenic route, free of traffic and even if it’s longer, in terms of actual miles driven, it might prove quicker. A moving car that spends less time on the road is more efficient than one stuck in traffic for hours.
2. Check Your Tires
To start, make sure you tire is wearing evenly across the tread because if it is not, you may find yourself an unfortunate situation and/or with a much larger service bill the next time you visit your local Car Dealership. For example, if your tire tread is uneven, this might be a direct result of your vehicles alignment being off.
Or, your tire could just be under-inflated (I know that sounds awkward), which is a quick fix you can accomplish by yourself at any gas station in a matter of minutes. This is an easy fix and it will pay huge dividends. Lower tire pressures can adversely affect wear and increase drag, reducing gas mileage. From a safety standpoint, low pressure tries are my susceptible to overheat at high speeds, and will increase the potential for blowouts.
Tire pressure gauges are inexpensive, and a weekly check will ensure you are always at a safe, economical pressure.
Tires don’t have to cause you much stress, and confirming that yours are always in tip-top shape will both improve safety, and save you money on gas.
3. Check Your Car
Do a few quick checks over your automobile. By checking that the engine has sufficient oil, confirming all the lights work, and cleaning your vehicle before your departure are easy and inexpensive to do and increase the fuel efficiency of your ride.
Although you’ll likely be loading the car up with people and luggage, do a check around to make sure your car isn’t full of junk or unnecessary paraphernalia, like mine is, because it all adds weight, and weight is the enemy of efficient driving.
4. Timing Is Everything
Set off earlier and travel during off hours. No, really. New Yorkers know not to head to the Jersey Shore, Southampton, or the Catskills Friday night. If you have any control over your schedule, take an extra day off or travel at night. After dark, it will be cooler in the car, less taxing on your engine and you will burn less fuel.
Big rigs also take a break in the evening, so fewer trucks on the highway will give you peace of mind over your precious cargo…your loved ones and/or friends. Otherwise, avoid city centers and major interstate exchanges during rush hour or the hours right after lunch.
Finally, you will be able to drive slower (saving fuel) without the anxiety of sitting in traffic.
5. Drive Smoothly
Now we’re onto specific driving techniques. First, treat all the car’s controls with some respect so use smooth, measured inputs. Not only will it make things more pleasant for your passengers, but accelerating, braking and steering smoothly will mean less engine, brake and tire wear, which increases your vehicles fuel efficiency.
That is not to say you need to travel everywhere at a snail’s pace either. It’s better to accelerate briskly, but be sure to change gears earlier. In addition, reach your economical cruising speed sooner. Hence do not draw out your acceleration. The more time you spend in the process of accelerating, the less time you will spend at low revs in top gear, where the best economy can be had.
I hope these tips help you save a few bucks this weekend and whenever you decide to go on your next road trip.
Happy Driving This Memorial Day from everyone at Windsor Nissan!!!!
Summer is an active season full of road trips, camping, swimming and anything involving fun in the sun. With all the exciting sunshine adventures, your vehicle’s cleanliness may have been neglected. Summertime isn’t over yet but a new season is approaching, making it time for a vehicle scrub down.
Get your car ready for seasonal changes by cleaning from the inside-out. Start by clearing out excess cargo. Not only does it weigh your vehicle down, but clutter also creates more cleaning obstacles. After your vehicle is cleared out, dust off the debris from the interior surfaces and start vacuuming. Use a high-powered vacuum or go to a gas station and use their coin-operated vacuums. Be sure to use attachments to get deep in the crevices ridding dirt, sand, rocks, crumbs and bugs. If the seats of your vehicle absorbed wet swimming suits after pool parties, then consider shampooing the upholstery. With a clean inside, now it’s time to shine up and protect surfaces as well as condition leather. Protecting the interior materials of your vehicle will keep it looking better longer and the same idea applies to the exterior.
As the weather changes, it’s necessary to give your vehicle’s paint some added protection. Wash your car in a cool, shady place with car-friendly soap. Dry the vehicle’s exterior properly by using a chamois with broad strokes quickly removing water. After a thorough drying, use a damp terry cloth to apply a quality polish in a circular motion working on small areas at a time. Polishing with a wax will preserve the paint and enhance the exterior’s luster.
Pull your shiny ride into the garage and relax knowing your car is prepped for yet another season.
Chevy Equinox is the crossover designed with you in mind. From the daily commute to the activity filled weekend, see how this sleek and versatile vehicle makes any trip you take it on more of an adventure.
From the trip to the cider mill or to a weekend filled with hiking and camping, Equinox is the versatile vehicle ideal for lifestyles on the go. This crossover also has the flexibility and functionality that has become synonymous with Chevy.
The available AWD makes this crossover great for long drives to see the fall color change, or traveling to that remote camping location with the assistance of OnStar turn-by-turn navigation. The Chevy Equinox is the traveling companion you’ve waiting for.
With eighteen (18) storage areas, Equinox gives you the space to store your gear in anticipation for that spontaneous after work hike and cargo bins to store your reusable grocery bags. The deep center console is a convenient location to hide your valuables, such as your laptop or purse while you are out experiencing your world.
Equinox has an available roof rack and Hitch Trailering package, giving you all the conveniences for life’s adventures. The Chevy Equinox is truly the crossover “that fits your life.”
We have all fallen witness to the fact that road trips can be long, drawn out, and downright miserable if not executed properly. A summer vacation to Florida can go from awesome to terrible in a matter of minutes if you have to listen to your mother correct your father’s driving skills for first 100 miles of the trip. If you want to steer clear of the bad road trip, all you have to do is follow the five rules to planning an ultimate road trip.
Rule 1: Create the Ultimate Mix Tape or Playlist
When planning a road trip you need to prepare music that everyone in the vehicle will enjoy. So, before embarking, ask all the members in your party what music genres they like and what their favorite songs are. Try to make at least one CD/Tape/Playlist per person, for each day you plan on being in the vehicle. Finally, compile each with a variety of music that pleases everyone. (This rule may be more difficult than you think! So please take the time to plan this out perfectly!)
Rule 2: Add Some Fun!
Road trips can be dull, there is no denying that. The task of continuously driving is tedious, and with out proper ‘fun’ it can make your road trip stagnant. So in order to pump up your road trip’s fun level, look up some car games on the internet. Try to avoid car games that require singing because you want to avoid irritating the driver! Be creative with this; come up with games that are yours and yours alone (this will help make future road trips more alluring because people will have something to look forward to).
Rule 3: Shotgun Rules…Very Important
A week, or so, before you leave on your road trip ask your party to list 5 to 10 shotgun calling rules. Put them together, print them out, and then distribute them to all members of the trip. The shotgun calling rules will fun, but more importantly, the rules should prevent all in car or parking lot brawls amongst your buddies.
Rule 4: Snacks, Snacks, Snacks
Choosing the right snacks is crucial when planning an ultimate road trip. First, and foremost, make sure that you pack snacks that will not be irritating to others in the car. For example, do not pack any type of food with an obnoxious odor. If you pack chips, make you they stay between the bag and your mouth because creating a trail of crumbs throughout the car is a pain to the owner of the vehicle. Instead of potato chips try chocolate covered raisins or oatmeal bars with candies in them. Another thing to remember is: limit snacks to ones that will not cause members of your party to have to go to the bathroom a lot. Multiple ‘pit stop’ interruptions are not fun and a complete buzz kill.
Rule 5: Pay Attention to Traffic
Being stuck in a traffic jam is the worst! Make sure you print out directions (as well as an alternate route), grab a set of maps, and, if you have a GPS system, pre-program your destination. Every once in a while listen to local radio stations to check for road delays and traffic jams. If you hear about a traffic jam early enough you can check your maps and avoid sitting in hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic. Also, do not let everyone in the car attempt to be Christopher Columbus and offer his or her personal interpretation of how to get to your final landing place. Everyone does NOT have a great sense of directions so make sure you figure out who to listen to and who to ignore in the event that you get lost.