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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.

packing essentials, preparing for a road trip, road trip planning

How to properly prepare and pack for your next family summer road trip

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.

packing the car, packing for a road trip, must have items for a road trip

What to bring and how to efficiently and adequately pack for your next summer road trip with your family.

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.

road trip

Summer Road Trip Guide & Manual Part 1

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!

 

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2009 Saturn AURA named a Best Bet for Passenger Cars by Cars.com

The 2009 Saturn Aura has been named a Best Bet for Passenger cars by Cars.com. To qualify as a Cars.com Best Bet, models must meet three quantified criteria: 

 

A “Good” rating in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests 

Average or higher reliability ratings 

Average or higher gas mileage within their class 

  

“Our Best Bets help narrow down the options for buyers by vehicle class,” said Cars.com Editor in Chief Patrick Olsen. “These are vehicles that any of our editors would drive.” 

2009 Saturn AURA named a Best Bet for Passenger Cars by Cars.com

The 2009 Saturn Aura has been named a Best Bet for Passenger cars by Cars.com. To qualify as a Cars.com Best Bet, models must meet three quantified criteria: 

 

A “Good” rating in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests 

Average or higher reliability ratings 

Average or higher gas mileage within their class 

  

“Our Best Bets help narrow down the options for buyers by vehicle class,” said Cars.com Editor in Chief Patrick Olsen. “These are vehicles that any of our editors would drive.” 

Nissan Announces Pricing on All-New 2009 Cube

Nissan has recently announced complete pricing on the 2009 Nissan Cube, which will go on sale in early May. The Nissan Cube 1.8 has a starting MSRP of $13,990 which is equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. There are also three other models offered, the 1.8S which includes body colored outside mirrors, premium grade fabric, cruise control, cargo area cover and more and is priced at $14,690 and includes a 6-speed manual transmission and $15,690 for the Xtronic CVT. The 1.8SL is priced at $16,790 and includes 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, auto on/off headlights, Automatic Temperature Control, Interface System for iPod, six speakers and more.The Cube 1.8 Krom specialty vehicle is priced at $19,730 and both come standard with Xtronic CVT. Available options for the Cube are Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, Bluetooth, Rockford Fosgate subwoofer with six upgraded speakers, XM Satellite Radio and an Interface System for iPod. The 2009 Nissan Cube is designed to meet the practical needs of today’s active, environmentally aware drivers. The Cube’s safety features include the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System, seat mounted driver and front passenger side impact supplement air bags, and roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplement air bags for front and rear seat occupant head protection

Nissan Announces Pricing on All-New 2009 Cube

Nissan has recently announced complete pricing on the 2009 Nissan Cube, which will go on sale in early May. The Nissan Cube 1.8 has a starting MSRP of $13,990 which is equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. There are also three other models offered, the 1.8S which includes body colored outside mirrors, premium grade fabric, cruise control, cargo area cover and more and is priced at $14,690 and includes a 6-speed manual transmission and $15,690 for the Xtronic CVT. The 1.8SL is priced at $16,790 and includes 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, auto on/off headlights, Automatic Temperature Control, Interface System for iPod, six speakers and more.The Cube 1.8 Krom specialty vehicle is priced at $19,730 and both come standard with Xtronic CVT. Available options for the Cube are Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, Bluetooth, Rockford Fosgate subwoofer with six upgraded speakers, XM Satellite Radio and an Interface System for iPod. The 2009 Nissan Cube is designed to meet the practical needs of today’s active, environmentally aware drivers. The Cube’s safety features include the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System, seat mounted driver and front passenger side impact supplement air bags, and roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplement air bags for front and rear seat occupant head protection.   

2009 Chevrolet Malibu

When the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu came out it quickly received rave reviews and began winning awards. Now, the 2009 Malibu equals or has better fuel economy then its Honda and Toyota competitors. Some even consider the Malibu to be the best American-made family sedan ever. The previous year, the Malibu only came with a four speed automatic transmission with a four cylinder engine and the only way to get a six speed automatic was to upgrade to the six cylinder engine. Well for 2009 that has changed. The six speed automatic shifter is now available as optional on the 1LT sedan and standard on the 2LT and the top of the line LTZ.  Only the base LS sedan has the four speed transmission, and for now the Malibu is the only mid-sized, four cylinder sedan that has a six-speed shifter. With this upgrade fuel mileage rises from an EPA estimated 22 MPG city and 30 MPG highway to 22 MPG city and 33 MPG highway. Inside, the Malibu is spacious enough for five passengers and the Malibu is equipped with a large quantity of standard features such as; 17-inch wheels, air conditioning, driver information center, stereophonic sound system, Bluetooth phone connectivity, remote keyless entry, tire-pressure monitors, tilt and telescoping steering wheel and a split fold down rear seat. For 2009, all Malibus also get stability and traction control in addition to four-wheel antilock brakes, front and side airbags and side curtain airbags.

2009 Chevrolet Malibu

When the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu came out it quickly received rave reviews and began winning awards. Now, the 2009 Malibu equals or has better fuel economy then its Honda and Toyota competitors. Some even consider the Malibu to be the best American-made family sedan ever. The previous year, the Malibu only came with a four speed automatic transmission with a four cylinder engine and the only way to get a six speed automatic was to upgrade to the six cylinder engine. Well for 2009 that has changed. The six speed automatic shifter is now available as optional on the 1LT sedan and standard on the 2LT and the top of the line LTZ. Only the base LS sedan has the four speed transmission, and for now the Malibu is the only mid-sized, four cylinder sedan that has a six-speed shifter. With this upgrade fuel mileage rises from an EPA estimated 22 MPG city and 30 MPG highway to 22 MPG city and 33 MPG highway. Inside, the Malibu is spacious enough for five passengers and the Malibu is equipped with a large quantity of standard features such as; 17-inch wheels, air conditioning, driver information center, stereophonic sound system, Bluetooth phone connectivity, remote keyless entry, tire-pressure monitors, tilt and telescoping steering wheel and a split fold down rear seat. For 2009, all Malibus also get stability and traction control in addition to four-wheel antilock brakes, front and side airbags and side curtain airbags.

Saturn Sedan Has a Certain ‘Aura’ To It

The 2009 Saturn Aura has a 2.4-liter DOHC Ecotec inline-4 cylinder engine which offers 169 horsepower, 6400 rpm and 160 pounds-feet of torque. The Aura XR has been mated a 6-speed automatic transmission but can also be manually operated with shifter paddles on the steering wheel. The exterior sports a chrome grille which houses the traditional Saturn emblem and is surrounded by halogen headlights. For the 2009 model the badging was moved from the desk lid bright bar to a painted surface on the trunk. The analog instruments are lit by LED lights and the leather shifter knob is rich-looking. The Driver Information Center is placed under the speedometer. The standard safety features include: dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes with Brake Assist, stability and traction control, remote keyless entry, theft deterrent system, latch system for child safety seats, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights. But best of all is that the Aura has a 5-star frontal and side crash rating from the federal government.

Saturn Sedan Has a Certain ‘Aura’ To It

The 2009 Saturn Aura has a 2.4-liter DOHC Ecotec inline-4 cylinder engine which offers 169 horsepower, 6400 rpm and 160 pounds-feet of torque. The Aura XR has been mated a 6-speed automatic transmission but can also be manually operated with shifter paddles on the steering wheel. The exterior sports a chrome grille which houses the traditional Saturn emblem and is surrounded by halogen headlights. For the 2009 model the badging was moved from the desk lid bright bar to a painted surface on the trunk. The analog instruments are lit by LED lights and the leather shifter knob is rich-looking. The Driver Information Center is placed under the speedometer. The standard safety features include: dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes with Brake Assist, stability and traction control, remote keyless entry, theft deterrent system, latch system for child safety seats, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights. But best of all is that the Aura has a 5-star frontal and side crash rating from the federal government.

GM’s Chevy Traverse earns “Top Safety Pick’

The new Chevrolet Traverse crossover is one of several vehicles for the 2009 model year to earn the “Top Safety Pick” designation by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which is based on extensive crash tests. The Traverse, GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook, and Buick Enclave are the only large sport utilities to qualify for the top safety honors.

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