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The Best Web Sites for Planning Your Summer Road Trip


By Elizabeth Wasserman

If you're like millions of other Americans, this summer you and your family are likely to buckle up the kids in the back seat, strap luggage to the roof and set out for a vacation driving the nation's roadways. And if you do, there is one thing as certain as your kids getting antsy here and there: The trip will be more expensive this year than it was last year.

In light of rising costs of fuel, food and hotel accommodations, the American Automobile Association advises that you do your research before getting behind the wheel. Fortunately, the Internet is an excellent resource for the budget-conscious traveler, with web sites offering everything from helpful tools such as fuel calculators to ideas about innovative and affordable lodging opportunities such as house-sitting.

An estimated 32 million of you braved the nation's roadways during the first weekend of summer this year, according to AAA. But even if the higher costs make you think twice before getting behind the wheel for a road trip this summer, the Internet can help you find ways to stay within your budget. "If you know where you are going, you can plot out your trip and find the cheapest gas along your route," says John Townsend, manager of public and government relations for AAA's mid-Atlantic region. "If you were able to make the trip last year," Townsend adds, the higher costs "don't have to be a deal breaker this year."
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