Trip Coach: August 15, 2006

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Christine Brown from AAA answered your questions about road trips and summer car travel

Christine Brown: Greetings! My name is Christine Brown and I work for AAA here in Washington, DC. I'm excited to help you with some of your travel questions, so let's get started...

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New York City, NY: Our daughter will drive a car from NYC to LA on Aug. 31, and she's wondering where to stop along the way so she doesn't get too tired.

Christine Brown: One of the most important things to remember when you're on a long road trip: take lots of breaks! Driving while tired is almost as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, so don't take any chances. Take a break every couple of hours, even if you don't feel extremely tired. Just get out & walk around the car a few times, or go to the restroom... that'll get your blood moving & give your brain a break from the monotony of the road in front of you. Always be sure to choose someplace safe when you stop. Keep going if there's no one around, if there's poor lighting, or if you just don't have a good feeling about the place. Better safe than sorry!

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St. Paul, MN: We are planning a road trip at the end of September from Minnesota to Pittsburgh, PA to visit family. We need to rent a vehicle. We'd like something economical, yet comfortable for the long drive with our 6 month old daughter. Any suggestions? Thanks. Laura

Christine Brown: Safety is the number one factor here, especially since you'll be traveling with a small child. Try a Kia Sportage if you're looking for a true "economy" car (they tend to be pretty compact), or if you'd like something a little roomier, see if your rental company has a Ford Fusion. Both cars are reliable and great for families with kids. Speaking of child safety, always be sure to put your child in a car seat (or booster seat if they're over 40 lbs)!

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Harbor City, CA: Our Mission: Visit all 48 contiguous states. Date of attempt: Summer 2007. Time Limit: 10 Days. Method of Transportation: Chevy Surburban. Our Request: We need help planning the shortest,fastest, most efficient route. P.S. We have already visited CA, WA, OR, ID, WY, NV, UT, AZ, NM, TX, and OK.

Christine Brown: That's quite a mission, HC -- an average of over 3 states per day! And with the average price of regular unleaded gas at almost $3.00 per gallon, driving such a large SUV could also mean mega bucks at the pump. I'd suggest checking out an online mapping service that allows you to enter in where you'd like to stop. If you're a AAA member, check out aaamaps.com for an online TripTik®.

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Chicago, IL: Hi, I am getting married in Toronto on Sept. 2nd, and then heading out on a honeymoon the next afternoon. We are on a tight budget, but friends of ours have generously offered to loan us their summer-home on Prince Edward Island (near Souris), and we are planning on driving from Toronto. Monday the 4th we will be staying in Quebec city, but are trying to figure out where to stay the next night before arriving in P.E.I. Do you have any suggestions for a good place to stopover (even a particularly cute hotel or bed and breakfast)? Or, perhaps you know of a particularly scenic or interesting route? All tips would be appreciated. Thanks, Amber

Christine Brown: Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Try the Carriage House Inn in Fredericton. It's a historic bed & breakfast built in 1875. Or The Colonel's In Bed and Breakfast (also in Fredericton) may be a good choice for you if you're into the B&B/Inn atmosphere. Be sure to call ahead to make reservations. There are lots of hotels, inns, and B&B's listed in AAA's TourBook® guides, which are free to AAA members, so check it out. Or contact the Nova Scotia or P.E.I. Bureau of Tourism for more suggestions - that's what they're there for. Enjoy your honeymoon!

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Asheville, NC: What are the best routes from Asheville, NC to New Bedford, MA? Do you know the approximate time it will take to drive?

Christine Brown: It will take you approximately 14 ½ hours to make the almost 900 mile trip from Asheville to New Bedford. There are lots of ways to go, but I'll give you the most direct route. Also, Internet TripTiks® give alternate routes through aaamaps.com if you're interested.
Take US-70 W/ I-240 W to US-19 N/ US-23 N toward Weaverville. Merge onto US-26 W, then take Exit 46A onto I-81 N. Stay on I-81 N for about 315 miles, take Exit 300 to get on I-66 E towards Fort Royal/Washington. Take Exit 64B onto I-495 N / Baltimore, then take Exit 27 onto I-95 N / Baltimore. Take I-295 N, which will turn into US-40 E, which turns into the New Jersey Turnpike. Take a slight left at the fork towards I-95 N, then take Exit 20 to get on I-195 E towards US-6 E / East Providence /Cape Cod. Take Exit 15 to get on RT-18 S towards downtown. Take exit towards US-6 / Dartmouth/Fairhaven. Enjoy your trip!

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Wappingers Falls, NY: We are planning an East Coast to West Coast road trip for summer 2007. Our family includes two adults and a set of boy/girl twins who will be approaching their 14th birthday as our road trip approaches. Our current plan is to rent a station wagon type car or a van, camp for two or three nights then stay in a hotel as we travel through the northern states, visiting National Parks and other sites to learn more of American history. We hope to include some adventure travel also. Once we get to the West Coast we plan to fly home. We have at least 14 days for this trip. We can not agree on an ending point. Should we aim for Washington, Oregon or Northern California?

Christine Brown: Sounds like your family is up for quite an adventure! I love Northern California, and there are lots of options when you're trying to figure out which airport to fly out of. Enjoy the northern portion of our beautiful country! Be sure to stop and see the Redwood National Park -- the immense, petrified trees are breathtaking.

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Potomac, MD: My husband and I are leaving for Milan, Italy Sept. 5 and returning the 19th. We are renting a car. The places we want to visit are the Lake District, Cinque Terre and Tuscany. What route would you take that would use time the most wisely, and so that we backtrack as little as possible? What places should we stop for the night?

Christine Brown: That's something you need to talk to a travel agent about one-on-one. But be sure you have an International Driver Permit before you leave the States! And don't forget your regular Driver License as well -- the IDP doesn't take its place.

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Tucson, AZ: Hi, Christine! My husband and I are taking a road trip into NB, and Nova Scotia in September-October. We will be taking the CAT ferry back into the states, from Nova Scotia. Will we have to worry about a long line for customs coming back into the states from the ferry? We aren't sure how the proceedings go at this point. Thanks a lot!

Christine Brown: Here's a link to the Cat Ferry website. You should be able to get some pretty detailed information about what to expect there catferry.com. Enjoy your trip!

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Christine Brown: That's all the time I have for today. Thanks for tuning in! If I didn't get to your question, my apologies. I'd recommend talking to a travel agent or the Bureau of Tourism for your destination.
It's been fun! Be sure to check out aaa.com for member discounts, the fuel cost calculator, online mapping, trip planning, insurance and more.
Safe Travels!
Christine

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