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Looking for a family friendly alternative to the summer road trip?

(ARA) With the price of a gallon of gas now hovering around $4, a lot of Americans are expected to forego the family road trip this summer. While that's bad news for gas stations, hotels and attractions, it'll likely mean a windfall for the home improvement industry. Instead of spending their discretionary money on travel, the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI), a not-for-profit organization of manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and allied organizations in the home improvement industry, is predicting Americans will invest it in upgrades to their homes. Upgrades that will make the home a more enjoyable place to live for everyone in the family. Among the projects expected to be popular this summer building a backyard deck where families can rest, relax and entertain; improving the landscaping; adding a fun backyard feature like a playground, tree house or doll house for the kids; and a home away from home for the family dog. Whether your kids are toddlers, teenagers, or somewhere in between, any of these are projects everyone in the family will have fun doing, and just think of the money you'll save by doing it yourself. No matter which family project you choose, here's a simple guideline of steps to follow: Step 1) Decide on a project, then visit your local bookstore and browse their selection of home improvement magazines to get some ideas. Step 2) Visit your local home improvement store and stop by customer service. The people who work there should be able to provide you with some detailed plans to follow, which will include a list of supplies and tools you'll need. Step 3) Once you figure out which tools you'll need, decide if you want to purchase or rent them. If the items you need are expensive and only serve a single purpose, you'd likely be better off renting them. Many home improvement stores offer tool rental on site, and the people behind the counter can offer invaluable advice that will make the job easier. Step 4) Figure out how you're going to get your tools and supplies home. Step 5) Assign tasks to family members and get to work. The best way to get small children involved is to put them in charge of organizing the items you'll need, such as putting hardware and screws into piles, then bringing them to you or an older sibling when you ask for them. Once you get your project done, just think of how much fun you're going to have enjoying the fruits of your labor. Not to mention the memories. Most kids forget what they did on vacation from one year to another, but years later, they'll still remember that they helped build the deck everyone enjoys using so much. Courtesy of ARAcontent

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