Entries in road trip (3)

Wednesday
May252011

Save Gas This Holiday 

Fuel Conservation Tips For Memorial Day

Don't let the gas prices stop you from traveling for the holiday weekend.  There are a million fuel saving lists out there but Popular Mechanics took it a step further.  They took a ten year old car and actually tried out some techniques and reported which worked.  

Here's what Popular Mechanics had to say:

1.  Coast to a Stop

Generally, the less you actually have to hit your brakes, the better your fuel economy.  As PM said "Brakes take the kinetic energy of a moving car—energy it took pricey gasoline to generate—and turn it into heat that's lost to the air."  It's a good rule of thumb to anticipate that a light will turn red and ease off the gas. 

2.  At Hight Speeds, Close Your Windows and use A/C

PM's testing led to some interesting data- "Aerodynamic drag rises exponentially with speed­—the faster you go, the more the open windows hurt efficiency. The answer? Below 55 mph, open the windows and leave the a/c off. But at 60 mph or higher, keeping them closed and the air conditioning running will burn less fuel." 

3.  Avoid Slowly Crawling Up To A Speed 

PM said it best- "Conventional wisdom says that jackrabbit starts consume more fuel. But it turns out that nursing your speed up to the limit too slowly also lowers mpg. How can that be? Cars get poorer fuel economy in lower gears, and accelerating too slowly prevents upshifting at an efficient rate. The best acceleration rate varies with the vehicle, gear ratios and weight. But in our testing we found that taking 15 seconds to accelerate to 50 mph used less fuel than taking 30 seconds to reach the same speed, because the car entered its top, fuel-​saving gear sooner."

So there you go.  Have fun and be safe this weekend! 

Wednesday
May112011

The Ultimate Road Trip Companion 

RoadAhead Plans Out Your Food And Rest Stops 

So imagine being on a road trip and you need to stop but you arent quite sure what's ahead.  We've all had the "do I stop here or wait until the next rest stop" dilemma before.  Well, RoadAhead is here to solve that problem.  

RoadAhead, a smartphone app, will show you exactly what types of services are available at coming rest stops and even how far the stop will take you off you path.  Doesn't that seem just unbelievably handy? 

"Some GPS units and apps will show you what's beyond that as well. But nothing I've seen yet is as dialed in to the road-tripper's dilemma," said CNet car blogger Rafe Needleman.  

RoadAhead offers you much deeper customization than any GPS system or roadside sign can offer you.  Let's say you have kids in the car and you need a place with food, gas AND a playground.  RoadAhead will tell you which services are available and where.

Best part is that unlike other apps, RoadAhead will never backtrack.  The next exit on the freeway is always at the top, with each service in the categories you want listed. You can click through to call a business or get a Google Map route to it.

Clearly, it's much safer to have a passenger operate the RoadAhead app.  

Sunday
Dec202009

How To Survive A Road Trip With Children

Road Trip with KidsWe all love visiting our relatives or returning home for the holidays, but preventing our kids from killing each other while cooped up in the back seat  is a whole other matter. Traveling with your kids can be fun, but their attention span and the need for frequent potty stops can send even the calmest parent over the top. These tips are from parents like you who love our kids, and would like to keep it that way.

The Basics

  • Start with a clean car: Sounds basic, but clutter causes stress, especially when you have the family car packed to the brim with clothing, car seats and snacks.
  • Adjust the car seats: after months of use, kids car seats can become entangled or even loose. Properly secure the car seats following the manufacturer directions. Your children will thank you for it.Secure the car seats
  • Pack the least needed items first: There is nothing worse than needing a diaper only to discover that you packed them 1st and they are buried all the way in the back. Hold off packing the most needed items till last, this way you know right where they are.
  • Pack a special backpack:  for each child, with crayons, books, toys, activity sets, stickers, hand-held games-- including some new wrapped surprises for little kids. (But don't give out all the loot at once!) Tip from http://travelwithkids.about.com
  • Pack most needed items within arm's reach: Snacks, tissues, hand sanitizer and special treats. When the children start to escalate, or need their nose wiped, it is just plain smart to have the solution at hand.
  • Dress the kids comfortably: loose and comfortable cloths, help with road fatigue. This applies for the adults too.

While on the road

  • Play Some Games: kids love to play road trip games, there are so many but we all love the basics like I Spy, the scavenger hunt, count the cars by color, are all popular.
  • Plan frequent stops: We plan to stop every 2 hours at a minimum. Let everyone get out of the car, go to the bathroom. We bring a soccer ball and let the kids kick it around for few minutes at roadside parks. It always amazes me how a little fresh air and running around, helps them enjoy the trip.
  • Crayon Map, with major landmarksMake a kids map: Before we travel, we help the kids make a map with crayons and colored paper, with the major cities along the way listed. This way they can follow along with the road signs, so they know where they are. "When my 8-year-old asks "Are we there yet?," I hand him the map and ask him to figure out how much longer we’ll be on the road. Knowing how to read a map is a valuable life skill, so it makes me happy that he’s learning, and he’s happier that he has a job to do." –Marcy from Rome, NY
  • A Warm Car Makes them Sleepy: My mother (of six children) let the car warm up a little when it was time to sleep. Kids naturally fall asleep. when they are tired and when its warm. Just make sure the driver has some Red Bull :)
  • Stay over along the way:  If it is a long trip and you can afford to stop, consider spending the night somewhere along the way. 16 hours of driving is no fun for anyone, especially small children. Many of the less expensive hotels have pools or the kids eat free. This blog has a good list of Child Friendly Hotels
  • DVD players and Portable Video Games can save your sanity: they may be expensive, but a good portible DVD can make a long trip more fun for your kids, and give you an hour or two of peace. In the months before your trip, don't play the new releases at home. Save them for the road trip, because a new movie will be that much more entertaining.

    While we think that the free family games are great, a portable video game can really entertain your kids. Again save that new game for the trip.
    Make sure you have car chargers.

While road trip is fun and quite frankly my favorite way to travel, a little preparation can make it an event your kids will love and talk about for year. Make it fun, and you'll have fun.