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Top 10 Stress-free Road Trip Ideas

Save Gas

With the rising cost of gasoline, one of the most stressful parts of a road trip can be the price of fuel. Ideally, you should drive a small car or hybrid, but that's not always feasible when you have a large family with lots of luggage. Still, there are ways you can save fuel without having to give up the elbow room in your SUV.

The potential for fuel savings starts when you pack the car. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, for every 100 additional pounds you put in a car, you cut your gas mileage by 2 percent [source: EPA]. So pack light. Also, avoid putting anything on the roof because the drag from such luggage can decrease fuel economy up to 21 percent [source: Valdes-Dapena]. Before you depart, check to see that your tires are properly inflated and examine your owner's manual for fuel octane requirements. If your car only needs regular unleaded, then you're just wasting money by fueling up with premium.

Driving habits can also affect your car's fuel efficiency. One way to reduce your gas consumption is to use the cruise control. Allowing the car to decide when to apply acceleration at high speeds can increase fuel economy 10 to 15 percent over leaving the task up to your erratic lead foot [source: Valdes-Dapena]. You can also save fuel by slowing down. This is difficult when interstate speeds are often 70 to 75 mph (112 to 120 kph), but studies show that gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds greater than 60 mph (96 kph) [source: EPA].