D_aboutheaderimageSusan Frissell

Americans are driving more than ever. Miles traveled jumped 3.5 percent in 2015 from the year before, hitting an all-time high (Department of Transportation). This year, more people traveled on Memorial Day than have since 2005 (80 percent of them by car).

More so than any other time of year, summer is a favorite season for road trips. With fuel prices expected to stay low throughout the summer, many travelers are planning interstate and local car trips. In fact, it is estimated that roughly 64 percent of people are planning a road trip. According to Euromonitor, road travel for leisure has outpaced air travel over the five years through 2014.

Five times as many recreational vehicles were sold in 2015 as in the depths of the recession. Also getting a boost are campgrounds, restaurants and hotels. And, according to the 2015 North American Camper Reports, families that camp on occasion has jumped six percentage points since 2014, to 44 percent.

With this in mind, travelers need to have a reliable vehicle when road tripping. With the average age of cars on the road today at 11.5 years old, many buyers may need to upgrade. When it comes to buying a new vehicle, keeping their credit score in mind is very important. Tips important to remember include:

*Credit is important for qualifying for a loan. Car dealers usually run a prospective buyers credit score before qualifying them for financing. Before visiting the dealership, buyers should understand where their credit stands.

*Checking your credit score is easy. One can access a credit history directly through the credit bureaus. At Experian, for instance, one can access his or her credit report and FICO Score.dog

*Lenders use a buyer’s credit score to determine a borrower’s ability to repay a loan. The better the credit score, the better the financing and rates. Interest rates on a loan vary based on the credit score, which can make a big difference over the life of a loan.

*Managing your credit can definitely save you money. If you don’t have the best rating, you can take steps to put your credit on the right track. While it takes time, paying bills on time, for instance, can improve your score. Not carrying a card balance can also improve credit ratings, as can a low utilization of the card. And finally, avoiding opening any new accounts can also improve your credit score over time. Hard credit inquiries can temporarily lower a score.

Overall, understanding how credit works helps to keep your score high and benefit from the best financing available. A new car is a big investment, and saving on interest is possible with attention paid to detail.

(See www.Experian.com for more details)