En español | Liza De La Rosa and her family enjoy short road trips whenever possible — like the time they drove to the top of a volcano to see the sunrise, stopping to admire a pod of breaching humpback whales on the way home. Living on the volcanic slopes of Maui, getaways were easy.
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"We could see most of the island from our balcony, and could circle the entire island on a tank of gas," she says. But a recent move to Southern California changed the whole concept of "one-tank getaways" for De La Rosa, 49, and her five children.
It may take some planning, but you, like De La Rosa, can find one-tank trips to please your family.
De La Rosa — like any savvy traveler — turns to the Internet for help. "I start with Google," she says, "and search 'road trips.' " MapQuest.com can plot trips with exact mileage and gas expenses, and locate museums, amusement parks and other attractions along the way.
Looking for a perfect spot to hike or picnic? Search for "parks" on your route, and then zoom in for a 360-degree view of the scenery. The site also provides up-to-the-minute traffic reports. And you can do it all in Spanish: Click on the flag on the upper right portion and select "Español" from the menu.
Even with all the high-tech resources, says Ana Gonzalez, AAA regional manager for Texas and New Mexico, "there's no substitute for getting out a paper map and a geometry compass and drawing a circle around your starting point." Most cars today get about 300 miles per tank, she says, "so estimate 150 miles in either direction. That's a good way to begin planning."