Stay Grounded by Taking to the Road With Microsoft Streets & Trips This Holiday Season

REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 16, 2010 — When travelers are trying to reunite with loved ones for the holidays, the hustle and bustle of travel can become a nuisance. Congested airports, overbooked flights, weather delays, steep ticket prices and baggage fees, and now the Transportation Security Administration’s enhanced screening measures — all are making road trips a more attractive option for many travelers. AAA predicts that 85.7 million Americans will take a trip of at least 50 miles this holiday season; of those, 93 percent will travel by car, which is the largest travel share in AAA’s recorded history for the end-of-year holiday travel. Although car travel can be fraught with problems stemming from poor planning, a rushed itinerary or getting lost, a holiday road trip can be relaxed and low-stress with the right tools and a little planning.

Whether it’s a vacation, daycation or playcation, Microsoft Streets & Trips trip planning software can help put the fun back in your holiday travel. Streets & Trips with GPS Locator can help drivers steer around unplanned obstacles with the Re-route from Here option, which will help them get back on track in no time. Go over the river and through the woods easily with updated street-level maps, turn-by-turn directions, spoken street names and voice-prompted directions. Need to make an unexpected stop to satisfy the teenagers or a sweet tooth? Streets & Trips’ Find Nearby Places feature allows travelers to search a radius up to 50 miles to find select points of interest, such as convenience stores, ATMs, hotels, mechanics, pharmacies and more.

Car travel not only provides more control over the situation, it can be a great bonding activity for the entire family. Microsoft Streets & Trips is perfect for families on the go: Before leaving home, everyone can take part in planning the trip, tailoring the route to include specific stops for meals, breaks, gas and points of interest to help provide for an enjoyable ride for everyone involved. Travelers can calculate mileage, fuel costs and arrival times before leaving — a perfect way for families to stay on top of expenses this holiday season. They can also personalize their maps with comments, phone numbers and notes for planned stops. Once the trip is planned, they can e-mail an itinerary to friends and family — a great tool for communicating trip plans to those who are anxiously awaiting their arrival.

“The inconveniences of air travel are enticing more people to hit the roads this holiday season, and Microsoft Streets & Trips is a great way to help travelers get to their destinations,” said Lori Stock, senior product manager for Streets & Trips at Microsoft Corp. “It’s a budget-friendly, easy-to-use tool that can help drivers easily maneuver around traffic delays, find points of interest along the way and get to their destinations to celebrate the holiday season with their loved ones.”

Prepare for the Unexpected

When all is said and done, even a well-planned trip can go awry with foul weather and unexpected obstructions. Here are a few tips to help travelers get to their destinations safe and sound:

  • Do a once-over on the vehicle before hitting the road. To avoid car trouble, look for potential problems before setting out. Tire pressure, coolant, spare tires, wiper blades, wiper fluid and battery cable connections all should be in working order.

  • Check the route in advance. The Federal Highway Administration’s website http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo/index.htm has links to information on weather and road conditions. Use these resources to help steer around dangerous situations.

  • Pack an emergency road kit. Winter can bring inclement weather that many drivers might not be used to. An emergency kit is essential to safe driving. An ice scraper, snow brush, jumper cables, gloves, small shovel, first-aid kit, traction mat, sand, basic tools, drinking water and snacks should be included in the kit before hitting the road.

Availability

Microsoft Streets & Trips is available for an estimated retail price of $39.95.1 Microsoft Streets & Trips with GPS Locator is available for $69.95.1 Consumers can give Streets & Trips a test drive by downloading a free 60-day trial version at http://www.microsoft.com/streets/travel.

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1 Estimated retail price. Actual retail price may vary.

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