Everyone knows holiday travel can be incredibly stressful, especially when there are long delays and unexpected obstacles. Whether you are traveling by plane or car, you can expect more delays, cancellations, road closings, accidents, and missed connections during the holiday season than any other time of year. Here are some winter travel tips to make life easier – and hopefully less stressful – as you journey to and from your destination.
Plan ahead. Procrastinating is never a good idea when it comes to planning your holiday travel. Book your vacation in advance to avoid peak travel dates, get lower airfare, fly direct or minimize connections, and fly early or late in the day to avoid crowded flights.
Leave at least an hour early. As you prepare for your holiday vacation, give yourself more time than usual, anticipating guaranteed delays. Bring some reading material to keep yourself entertained while you wait in the security line or at your departure gate. In cities with snow or ice, arrival delays can exceed two to three hours and de-icing procedures can take an hour before takeoff.
Pack lightly. Airlines are becoming more strict with baggage and weight limits. Packing less in smaller suit cases could save you money and time. If you're planning holiday travel to be with your family, try shopping online and have your gifts shipped to your destination. This strategy can help cut down on luggage and minimize the risk of losing any special gifts.
Get your flu vaccine. Winter is flu season! Nobody wants to get sick before the holidays. Before you leave, visit your doctor's office or local pharmacy to get the flu shot or nasal spray flu vaccine. Consistently wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to minimize the spread of germs.
Stretch your legs. Take some time to walk around and stretch your arms and legs once every hour, either on the plane or in the airport. If you find yourself in cramped quarters or passing time on long flights, you could develop Deep Vein Thrombosis, which could lead to blood clots in your legs.
Have your car checked out before you hit the road. The last thing you need is your car breaking down in the middle of nowhere, leaving you stranded with no heat. Take your vehicle to a local auto shop for a quick check-up, and make sure your tires are properly inflated.
Be prepared for route changes. Before you start your journey, it's important to know where you're going and how you're getting there. Construction, road closings, and traffic hurdles can make for all sorts of trouble and may detour you from your normal route. Keep maps and GPS handy in case you need to reroute your trip.
Stay hydrated and full. Drink plenty of water! A recent Mayo Clinic study shows that 1-2% loss of body weight can lead to fatigue and decreased alertness, which could be deadly in winter driving. Your body requires more fuel in the cold; rely on high-energy food like nuts, granola bars, and fruit.
Pack a winter safety kit. Don't leave without a cell phone and car charger, ice scraper, tow rope, jumper cables, blankets, flashlights, matches and emergency candles, first aid kit, portable radio, and sand or cat litter to aid with traction, in case you get stuck.
Make frequent stops. Winter driving can be exhausting, so you'll want to make time to stop and stretch your legs. Just a few minutes off the road and out of the car can make all the difference in improving your alertness when you're back behind the wheel.
Please travel safely this winter! Happy Holidays from Steinberg Law Firm!