Consumer Reports' tips for the ultimate road trip

It's time to pack up the kids and hit the open road, which also means it's time to start making some important decisions. (CRTV)

It's time to pack up the kids and hit the open road, which also means it's time to start making some important decisions. That's why Consumer Reports just released its guide to the ultimate road trip, helping you travel like a pro just in time for your summer getaway.

Even the best road trip can still have its road bumps. Look for a feature called "trip-interruption" in your roadside assistance program . It can protect you due to a breakdown or theft if you're miles away from home, and it can reimburse you for hotels, meals, or alternative transportation.

CR says another way to help avoid setbacks before you hit the road is to pack your car properly. You want to make sure you don't overload your car. You can find your vehicle's load limit listed on the driver's door jamb and in the owner's manual. Stow your heaviest items on the bottom, especially in an SUV. This keeps the center of gravity lower, reducing the chances of a rollover.

As gasoline prices continue rise to a national average of $3 a gallon, it's even more important to find cheap gas. One way to help is to download a gas app. In one search, the free app GasBuddy found almost a $1 difference a gallon between two Chicago gas stations only a few blocks apart. If you're filling up a big SUV, those savings can really add up.

Consumer Reports also crafted its first-ever "Road-Trip-Worthy" score for 50 vehicles across six categories. Two of the top performers were the Toyota Highlander Hybrid in the SUV category and the Chevrolet Impala Premier in the car category.


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