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March 08, 2008

Wecome to the Road & Travel Magazine Blog

Ccheadshot_forprint_4 If you're new to Road & Travel Magazine (RTM) here's the skinny on what we're all about. RTM is an online magazine that focuses on all things travel and all things automotive but the twist is that we focus on women. Pioneering women's automotive media in 1989 seemed like a practical thing to do at the time. After all, we all buy cars, schlep our kids around in cars, drive cars to work and for errands, for just about everything, and hell knows we sure do make those pesky little car payments every month. But what about all the concerns and issues we had that NOBODY was addressing? Remember the days when you couldn't get into a truck or SUV with a skirt on? I, for one, at 5'1" tall, had to use a step ladder or sometimes just dove in then rolled over. A pretty sight indeed.

And how about all those condescending comments from salesmen at dealerships? "Why don't you bring your husband back, honey?" Or how about a deal for a date, you say? Who hasn't got a story to tell there? Or maybe you were ignored altogether? Yes, the treatment has improved in many areas thanks to forward-thinking leaders at Ford Motor Company, who were the first to step up to address the women's market in the early 90s. And although they've made a difference and others have followed suit, the wheels of progress still turn slowly at way too many companies, especially at dealerships.

Back in '89, every automaker was focused on men because they thought only men bought cars and influenced the purchasing decisions in the household. NOT! Today, the facts are that women not only buy more cars than men they also influence more than 85% of all sales. Why? Because we're more experienced shoppers and let's face it most men don't like sleeping on the couch.

When I started RTM in '89, (that's 1989 not 1889) most automakers laughed and were not shy about expressing how ridiculous they thought such a magazine was. "What women's market?" they'd ask. Or one of my personal favorites; "Is this a joke, women don't buy cars!" It might as well have been 1889. Little did they know back then that we were becoming a driving force to be reckoned with so on I persevered in the face of all their laughter. Today, women make up $80 Billion+ in new car sales. Let me tell 'ya, they ain't laughing now!

Knowing that women would take to the Internet like fish to water we shifted RTM to an online magazine in 2000 (again they laughed and said we'd never get the Internet - too techy for our feeble brains). We then added the travel category with exciting worldwide destination reviews, safe yet fun vacation spots, spas and resort tidbits, updates on the growing cottage industry of 'All Girl Getaways" and "Women's Adventure Tours, and much, much more. The travel industry was much more receptive but they took a little longer to catch onto the Net but finally, they acquiesced and arrived in the nick of time. Oh, and for the record, women outnumber men online today - 97 million women vs 91 million men in the U.S. alone. Feeble this, boneheads!

The thing that binds the auto and travel content together is our safety, personal safety... the number one concern we all have when traveling alone, driving alone, driving at night, or heading into unfamiliar turf. Who can't relate to the adrenaline rush at the slightest wisp of wind in a dimly lit parking garage when walking to your car all alone? In RTM and our new blog you'll find lots of safety tips for staying safe and sane when traveling alone.

So let's hear from you! Got a beef about how you were treated at the dealership or maybe you want to share how great the service was at another? Hate the way people cut you off on the freeway? I know I do and you'll hear about it. Want to know the best hotels to take your family? Your lover? We'd love to hear the juicy details. Interested in the sexiest cars on the market? Or maybe the best crossovers for you and the rug-rat crew? Are you confused about all the changing airline rules? So are we but we'll do our best to keep you informed. Want to blow off steam about your dumpy used car? Who doesn't? If money were no object, what kind of car would you buy? Where would you travel to? Got a gripe about how crappy the food is on airlines? Want to take your pet on the plane? You can take your pit bull but nothing sharp and pointy. Make sense of that!

Is global warming making you hot under the collar? Man, have we got hybrid news and reviews for you. Looking for eco-friendly hotels or cruise ships? We've got the scoop. Can't find an honest mechanic? Or just looking for some good old fashion honest advice? Can't keep up on the changing passport requirements? Did something funny happen on the way to the airport? What do you do when someone is talking way too loud on their cellphone on the plane? Are you freaking out over your teens driving skills? Why do so many people drive so slow in the high speed lane? Is road rage affecting your life? You name it, we'll cover it and welcome your comments. Thanks for stopping by. Courtney Caldwell, Editor-in-Chief -- Road & Travel Magazine

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