Summer gas prices are expected to remain lower than they have been in a while, so it might be a great year to pack up the family and hit the road. Traveling by car is a great way to see the country, and nobody understands this better than Rand McNally. The company has recently released the 93rd edition of their best-selling Road Atlas as well as updates to its Road Atlas iOS app.

And while the app will certainly be handy to have on your road trip, when you are planning your route and imagining all of the sites you will see, nothing really compares to having a big, colorful, physical copy of the Atlas. It will also be fun to have the Atlas around after you have returned from your trip. The kids can flip through the book and talk about all of the places they've seen and start to get ideas about where they might want to go next summer.

The New Rand McNally Road Atlas

Rand McNally offers a variety of printed Road Atlases in all different sizes, so there is one to fit every bookshelf and suitcase. And, again, the app that you can use on your phone may be the most convenient version to have when you're actually on the road. However, the classic 11 x 15 ½ inch oversized book with the large scale maps for easier readability will be the real crowd pleaser if you have kids.

With the 2017 edition of the Road Atlas, Rand McNally has included some helpful and interesting updates that make the book well worth its modest price tag ($19.95 for the large scale version, $14.95 for the regular edition).

About the company's close association with road trips, CEO Stephen Fletcher has stated:

"With lower fuel prices this summer, there will be no better time to rally friends and family, pack up the car and hit the open road. The Road Atlas is still the must-have resource for road trips. With the new edition, our cartographers and editors have packed the atlas with more maps, points of interest and travel information than ever before."

rand mcnallySo, what's new with the 2017 edition?

  • Refreshed map design with updated colors and layout
  • The addition of six new National Monuments designated by President Obama
  • Trip planning tools, including a driving-times map, quick reference mileage and "favorite road trips"
  • Cartographic updates, such as a new inset of Laramie, Wyoming and an extended I-22 in Mississippi

Once you know where you are going, there are other things that you can do to ensure that your family's summer road trip is fun, economical and safe.

Additional Road Trip Tips

While it may seem exciting to just jump in the car and see where the road takes you, the best road trips are the ones that are well-planned. You will have plenty of opportunities to be spontaneous on your vacation, but a little prep work will save you money, time and headaches.

  • Check for discounts. It is a known fact that AAA members can save money on hotels and theme park admissions, but you never know what discounts you're entitled to until you check. Certain banks offer price breaks with participating companies if you use your debit card. Also, if your family has a membership with a museum or zoo in your hometown, this membership might earn you a discount (or even free admission) at a similar establishment in a different state.
  • Plan to be flexible. While it is helpful to have an itinerary, don't get stressed out if your family doesn't stick to the schedule. Traffic delays happen, crowds happen and (as you know) kids can be extremely unpredictable. Someone could easily get tired or bored and not want to spend four hours at such-and- such Great National Park, no matter how AMAZING it is. Your vacation plan should represent a loose framework of activities and not a set of hard and fast rules.
  • Get your vehicle thoroughly checked. While on a road trip, you will be relying heavily on your automobile. Having car trouble will, at best, put a serious kink in your plans or, at worst, completely wreck your entire vacation. So, if you are planning a major summer trip, you should have your mechanic check all of the fluid levels, the engine, the tires, the brakes, the battery, the lights and the wiper blades. It will be much easier to focus on having fun if you don't have to worry about breaking down on the road.

And while you're at it, now may be a good time to consider an auto warranty. With the right kind of protection for your vehicle, you could save lots of money on future maintenance needs and repairs.

With these travel tips in mind, go ahead and grab your new Road Atlas and start planning the summer road trip of a lifetime. And if you know that you will need to purchase a newer, more reliable vehicle before setting out to see the country, getting that car financed may be easier than you think.

Financing for Families

If you have a family, it is important to have regular access to a safe and reliable vehicle. Yes, there are road trips to take, but you also have your everyday driving needs to consider. With school, play dates and a variety of other activities to get to, you probably clock plenty of time on the road just in your own neighborhood. So, your car is very important to your life and family.

And if you are currently dealing with credit issues, you may not be able to wait for your credit to improve before buying a vehicle. Your family needs a car NOW, and Auto Credit Express understands this. No matter how imperfect your credit happens to be, we can connect you with a dealer in your area who is qualified to work with your situation. You will be back on the road in no time, and our service costs absolutely nothing.

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