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Your Roadmap to a Great Vacation

Make a list, check it twice—it’s not just a mantra for the holidays

June 24, 2009
By Kim Kaercher

Flip flops—check. Sun block—check. Bug repellent—check. Lists are a great way to keep you organized and get you on the road quicker when headed off for vacation. A week or two before the big day arrives, make a list of everything you need to do and pack (and be sure you leave enough room so you can see out of your rear-view mirror). Here are some ideas to help:

Traveler’s Checks
Everyone is going green these days, but when you travel, leave the green at home and pack traveler’s checks instead. It’s a safer and smarter way to travel.

Disposable Camera
Among the salt and ketchup packets, napkins and those impossible to fold maps, check the glove box for a few other travel essentials like your insurance card and any cards or numbers for emergency road service. And cameras aren’t just for those scenic stops. Keep a disposable camera in your glove box in case of a fender bender.

Pet Carrier
Are Fido and his Frisbee® headed to the beach with you? Use a pet carrier or other pet-buckling devices to keep him safe for the ride. In the event of an accident, ERIE provides Pet Insurance Coverage (as part of your auto insurance) for your four-legged furry friends, but why ruin a getaway with trips to the vet? It’s better to keep him safe right off the bat. Oh, and don’t forget to pack a portable water bowl and some extra kibbles for rest stops.

Smart Snacks
Chips, chocolate and pop. Every kid’s dream meal. To avoid the sugar highs after every rest stop and gas fill-up, pack a small cooler filled with bottled water, cereal bars, crackers and fruit. Avoid salty foods or sodas that may actually make you thirsty, or heavy foods that can make you tired.

TomTom®. Magellan®. Garmin®. No, they aren’t names of constellations. They are navigation systems that you can plug into your vehicle. They’ll keep you from spacing out while on the road and prevent those “Which way do I turn?” arguments. Now you can pay attention to the road instead of listening to back seat drivers yelling about which way to go.

Techno-entertainment for the Road
“On my summer vacation I packed …” or “I spy an Ohio license plate.” Remember these? Kids use to play travel games to pass the time. Nowadays, though, many won’t leave home without their iPods, DVD players and PS2s. These nifty electronic devices help to prevent the repetitive, “Are we there yet?”

Emergency Travel Kit
Have bug bites, splinters, a flat tire or a dead battery? An emergency travel kit can save the day. Be sure to pack a flashlight, flares, first-aid kit, jumper cables, a blanket, gloves, paper towels and basic tools.

To-Do: Get the Car Checked Out
Check all fluid levels, belts and tires before hitting the road to prevent any mishaps that might keep your family stranded roadside—instead of beachside.

Kim Kaercher, a senior communications consultant for Erie Insurance, grew up traveling to Myrtle Beach each summer and has continued the tradition with her husband and children. A mother of two little ones, she knows the importance of a thorough travel checklist and preparing for the 12-hour drive ahead.

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