Consumer Reports tips for the ultimate summer road trip

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Shirleen Allicot reports on road trip tips.

It's time to pack up the kids and hit the open road, which also means it's time to start making some important decisions. That's why Consumer Reports just released its guide to the ultimate road trip -- helping you travel like a pro just in time for your summer getaway.

Even the best road trip can still have its bumps. Look for a feature called "trip-interruption" in your roadside assistance program - it can protect you due to a breakdown or theft when you're miles away from home, and this can reimburse you for hotels, meals or alternative transportation.

Consumer Reports says another way to help avoid setbacks before you hit the road is to pack your car right. You want to make sure you don't overload your car. You can find your vehicle's load limit listed on the driver's door jamb and in the owner's manual.

Stow your heaviest items on the bottom, especially in an SUVs. This keeps the center of gravity lower, reducing the chances of a rollover.

And as gas prices continue rise to a national average of $3 a gallon, it's even more important to find cheap gas. One way to help is to download a gas app. In one search, the free app GasBuddy found almost a dollar difference per gallon between two gas stations only a few blocks apart.

And if you're filling up a big SUV, those savings can really add up.

Consumer Reports also crafted its first-ever "Road-Trip-Worthy" score for 50 vehicles across six categories. Two of the top performers were the Toyota Highlander Hybrid in the SUV category and the Chevrolet Impala Premier in the car category.

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