The summer trip to the Coromandel, Taupo or the Bay of Islands has long been heralded as something of a birthright for many New Zealanders, with the family piling into the car in December or January for a long hot trip up the line.
But with petrol prices recently rising above $2 per litre, the cost of the trip alone may see that right slipping away for some Wairarapa families.
A quick tally up of road trip costs provides a startling figure, and that is just getting to and from the holiday destination.
Times-Age motoring columnist and car enthusiast Kevin Ball said the average "medium-sized family car" did about 400km per tank of petrol and cost about $60 to fill from empty.
He said a recent trip to Whangarei had set him back $300 worth of petrol.
With the Bay of Islands about 850km from Masterton, petrol costs for the round trip quickly add up to more than $250 - and that doesn't count travel done while you are there.
Even the relative proximity of Taupo, 340km away, could easily set the average punter back over $150.
Add in Minties and barley sugars for the drive up ($6), McDonald's for lunch ($40), five boysenberry trumpets ($14), and fish and chips for tea ($20), and you have added an extra $80 to the trip.
AA spokesman Mark Stockdale said recent petrol rises had hit motorists hard. "The price of 91 octane petrol has gone up 11 cents per litre since November to $1.96, and with premium grades now over $2 motorists will be noticing the high cost of fuel whenever they fill up.
"The price rise couldn't really come at a worse time as Kiwis head off on summer holidays and some people will be worried whether they can afford to go away to visit family and friends or take the kids on road trips."
However, he said there were simple ways to keep your road trip petrol costs down.
Regular services, correct tyres and tyre pressure, watching your speed, and driving smoothly all kept petrol consumption to a minimum.
Watching your air-conditioning use and reducing idling time also helped.
Keeping your load weight down was another method - "a heavier vehicle makes the engine work harder" - so bikes and golf clubs should be removed from the roof rack when not needed.
So with the petrol costs sorted all that is needed is to keep the kids happy for 12 hours in a 30C car while stuck in traffic.
Let the road trip begin.
AA tests earlier this year revealed the following fuel saving results from these actions:
Air-conditioning off - saved 8.68 per cent fuel.
Using fuel-efficient tyres - saved 4.71 per cent fuel.
Incorrect tyre pressures - used 7.76 per cent more fuel.
Added weight and drag - used 11.11 per cent more fuel.
Poor driving style - used almost 20 per cent more fuel.