Let’s go back to a simpler time … when vacations were about spending time together, perhaps in a wood-panelled station wagon, exploring our great nation on the open road. Forget gas prices — with a car full of friends and family, it’s still cheaper to drive. On a recent road trip chocked with 1,400 miles of the majestic mid-west, I jotted down a few tips to make the most of your summer adventure. So pack a cooler full of snacks and put your feet on the dash: it’s road trip season. #1 — Plan your route Before hitting the road, explore routing options on Google maps. Google will automatically give you the most efficient route, but you can click and drag the highlighted route to include parts of the country you’d like to see along the way. #2 — Budget is not a dirty word I’m a huge fan of budgets, especially on a trip. Determine costs for gas, food, lodging, entertainment and souvenirs. Keep a little extra in your slush fund. Spur-of-the-moment detours to have your picture taken with the world’s largest shuttlecocks are sometimes in order. #3 — Gas Buddy If you have a smart phone, download the Gas Buddy app. This high-tech budget saver pinpoints your location to show the best nearby gas prices. Look into fuel rates where you’re traveling as well — prices on my recent trip fluctuated as much as 70 cents per state. #4 — Don’t wait to indulge Let your vacation begin the minute you leave the driveway. Whatever indulgences you allow yourself on vacation don’t wait to splurge. I imagine the person who said, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey” was waiting in the drive-through line at Burger King for a Hershey Pie. #5 — Minimize drinks, maximize tunes If your bladder is anything like mine, I could usually only make three-quarters of a tank before nature called. While a refreshing fountain beverage at the gas station might seem like a good idea, cut down on drinks and crank up the tunes. Your travel companions will thank you. #6 — Travel in style Road trips are a great time for photo ops. Though donning your gym shorts and dirty old tee might seem like the comfortable choice, aim to strike a balance of comfort and style. You never know when a memory-making moment might occur.