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A road trip can be a great family adventure

Going on a long road trip is an exciting experience for both young and old – you get to experience beautiful scenery, walk around in new places and get to know the customs and traditions of each destination you visit.

To avoid any disappointment and enjoy the best trip possible, planning for the journey must begin long before you get in the car. So if you’re planning to take a road trip, consider the following ideas.

Travel budget

A budget will help you manage your expenses properly and can include:

  • Car maintenance. A qualified mechanic can check the condition of your brakes and tires. The mechanic can also tell you if you need any additional maintenance or parts replaced, and if the car is in its best condition for the trip.
  • Fuel expenses. Gas prices tend to vary by location. Find out the actual price of gas and calculate how much you’ll spend during the trip. It’s a good idea to estimate a bit on the higher side in case there are any emergencies.
  • Lodging, food and entertainment. Figure out your food and hotel expenses depending on how many people will be joining you on the trip. Remember to budget for family activities like visiting a museum, a park or a fair.

Routes and safe driving

Before and during your trip it’s important to:

  • Choose your destination. Each state has tourist attractions that are open to the public. America’s Byways has a search engine that helps you find things to do depending on where you are.
  • Drive with caution. Drive carefully when traveling on the road, this way you’ll avoid getting a ticket and you’ll be sure that the people on your trip are safe. Always make sure that your passengers have their seatbelts fastened.
  • Make frequent stops. The car ride itself may be fun, but remember to make frequent stops to stretch your legs, use the restroom, have a meal or just enjoy the scenery.

Child passengers

On long trips, children have special needs. Remember to:

  • Provide safety seats. There are many car seats and boosters specifically for children that can be placed in the back seat of your car. Find the appropriate seat for your child’s age or size and make sure it’s properly installed. Use the Car Seat Inspection Station Locator to find the nearest place where a technician can verify the seat is installed correctly and according to the law.
  • Bring snacks. Pack a cooler with healthy snacks that are portioned appropriately for your child’s age. These snacks help ensure that children are getting enough to eat and drink on the trip.
  • Immunize your children. All children under age six should receive their necessary vaccines (PDF) to avoid picking up illnesses or diseases that could be transmitted through direct contact, or by food and water. Also remember to pack cold, allergy, headache and stomach medications.

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Disability Income Insurance

Most of us don’t really like to think about events like disabling illness or injury. Let’s face it, who wants to think about such bad things? However, we all owe it to ourselves and our families to take a little bit of time out of our busy lives to think about what we would do should a “what if” scenario occur. We all need to determine what resources we would have to keep paying our bills and maintaining our lifestyles.

Disability insurance can come in 3 forms:

  • Government-sponsored programs like workman’s compensation or Social Security Disability Insurance;
  • Private employer-sponsored group disability plans that may cover short-term, long-term, or a combination of coverage; and
  • Private individual disability income policies that guarantee income when there isn’t enough coverage from employer or government sponsored programs.

How many of us know exactly where we stand in terms of benefits should a disabling event occur? We can all look at our Social Security statements to see what monthly disability income we would get. For most of us, this amount would not cover all of our normal expenditures.

If you are employed, check with your employer to see if you have disability income coverage. If you do, find out:

  • What benefits would be available to you
  • How long after the start of a disability you would have to wait before benefits begin
  • How long payments would continue
  • If your employer’s plan takes other disability coverage (such as government programs) into account
  • If your long-term disability benefit is subject to a maximum amount you can receive

You can find most of the answers by asking for a booklet describing the disability coverage your company offers.

These resources that can help you determine how much coverage you have and whether you need additional coverage:

The other thing to keep in mind, it may take a while for disability insurance to begin. You should always have some money saved for emergencies.