Written by Johnathan Bodily
According to AAA, some 34 million Americans traveled 50 miles or greater from their home during Labor Day weekend last year, and 28 million of them traveled by automobile. With similar numbers of car travelers expected for this year, making the ride a safe and enjoyable experience is an important way to get your trip off to a great start. Kaufman provides solutions to keeping the family happy and safe.
Avoid high-tech disconnect
"Some of today's modern cars, like the Volkswagen Routan, offer fantastic high-tech features," said Kaufman. "Instead of having everyone plug in and tune out, however, simply use this advanced technology to bond. For example, instead of putting on the ear phones and tuning out, use technology like the Routan's built-in DVD player or Wi-Fi to research and learn about your trip destination as a family."
Embrace low-tech time
Kaufman suggests that families take advantage of their time in the car together to reconnect and bond. "Playing simple memory games or even singing along gives everyone a chance to let loose and laugh a little. The Volkswagen Routan offers USB ports so you can download and play your favorite car tunes." She also says it's easy to modernize some of these old fashioned favorites and prevent potential eye-rolling by just being creative with the name of the activity; for example, instead of calling it a "sing-a-along," Kaufman suggests calling it "car karaoke."
Plan ahead to avoid splurging on the road
The two major ways that many families waste money on road trips, according to Kaufman, are on food/drinks and on gas. Kaufman says that with a little advance planning, families can save both time and money. "By making sure your tires are pumped up, you can avoid potential unnecessary stops along the way and increase your gas mileage," recommends Kaufman. Kaufman recommends reliable vehicles with great performance like the Volkswagen Routan, which features Carefree Maintenance to help travelers drive more and worry less about their car's performance. All current Volkswagen vehicles offer Carefree Maintenance.
Kaufman also recommends packing a cooler of healthy sandwiches, snacks and drinks to help avoid what she calls "exit foods" at pricey rest stops and gas stations. "Instead, prep healthy meals and snacks ahead of time, like sandwiches and sliced fruits and vegetables, and avoid sugary drinks that can often result in sugar highs and lows - not to mention cranky parents and kids!" she said.
Kaufman also recommends throwing in a cookie sheet to serve as a table for eating or drawing, and creating a "boredom bag" filled with a few toys, games and crafts that can be used as prizes for car games or to reward good behavior.
For more information on the German-engineered Routan, or other VW vehicles visit www.vw.com.
SOURCE: Volkswagen of America, Inc.