(StatePoint) Hitting the road with the family? Experts say there’s no reason to view the journey itself as a pre-vacation chore.

“Travel doesn’t just have to be about getting to where you’re going,” says Tara Trompeter, managing editor at Autotrader. “Family time in the car can be a great opportunity for making memories and a little bit of planning before you get on the road will go a long way toward filling the experience with more fun and laughter for everyone involved.”

To keep road warriors comfortable and content on their drives, Autotrader editors are offering some of their top travel tips:

• Prepare your vehicle. Do a quick check on the essentials before you head out. Check the wear and pressure on your tires, and be sure your fluids (oil, coolant and wiper fluid) are topped off.

• Make it an adventure. Just because you have an ultimate destination doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fun stuff in between. Check your route for family-friendly stops along the way, such as a zoo, park or even toy store to give kids something to look forward to while breaking the trip into manageable pieces.

• Keep little ones engaged. Technology features like built-in screens and DVD players can be saviors on the road. If your car doesn’t come equipped with these, consider bringing along a handheld device on which little ones can play games or watch videos. And if technology isn’t your thing, remember that magnetized board games and word games can work just as well.

• Bring snacks. Greasy food isn’t the best for staying alert -- or feeling good -- while road tripping. Instead of relying on fast food, bring along lots of small, healthy snacks to keep kids (and adults) content. Great options include fruits and vegetables that are easy to eat and fuss-free, like carrot sticks, bananas and apples.

• Have patience! Between road congestion, frequent stops and bad weather, travel time can take longer than anticipated. Allow and plan for extra travel time, and you’ll have a better chance of arriving safely and stress-free.

• Consider an upgrade. Before setting off, consider upgrading your old gas-guzzler to a new one that’s energy efficient and comfortable enough to make the long journey with the family in tow. To help, Autotrader rounded up a list of 10 fuel-efficient family cars that boast affordability, roomy interiors and a fuel efficient 30 miles per gallon on the highway. Among their picks are the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Honda CR-V, Jeep Cherokee, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Optima, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Outback and the Toyota Camry. To learn more, visit autotrader.com.

With the right strategies for happy travels, you can begin your vacation the second you hit the road.

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