It’s no secret that vacation travel can be stressful. Especially when the hustle and bustle of winter vacation travel starts, people can become more distressed, with long waits and unexpected challenges. If you travel by air or car during the winter, you can count on more delays than you’d experience in the summer. Once bad weather appears during the peak times for air travel, we end up with the lengthiest flight delay, and the most cancellations and missed connections of the year.
On the other hand, road travel has its share of annoyances and risks. There may be road closings, slower speeds due to snow or sleet, traffic accidents, and other obstacles to throw you off track. However, don’t let the winter and vacation travel season make you blue. Below are some travel tips to make life easier as you journey to and from your destination.
Airline Travel Tips
If you’re traveling a great distance over the holidays, the last thing you need is a stressful airport experience to start your vacation off on the wrong foot. Consider the following airline travel tips that can help to alleviate potential troubles.
Plan ahead for your own sanity – Waiting until the last minute always leaves a great deal of your trip up to happenstance. Planning in advance is the most important tip of all, It is truly worth it to spend the extra time and effort to do so. Contact your travel agent to book your vacation as soon as you can manage. Then, you’ll be able to avoid peak travel dates, get lower airfares, fly direct (or minimize your connections) and fly early or late in the day to avoid the bigger crowds.
Leave the house at least an extra hour earlier – As you prepare for your winter vacation give yourself more time than usual to accommodate any delays that may occur. Remember to bring some reading material for 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 before takeoff can take up to an hour.
Pack as light as possible for your holiday travel – Since more airlines are getting stricter on baggage limits and weight allowances, packing less and taking lighter suitcases could save you money and time. If you’re planning to bring gifts for family and friends, consider shopping online and having your gifts shipped to your destination. This strategy will help cut down on luggage and will minimize the risk of losing any special gifts.
Stretch your legs often – If you find yourself in cramped quarters or passing time on long flights, there’s the possibility you could develop Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which leads to blood clotting in your legs. So, remember this essential airline travel tip on your next flight – get up and walk around and stretch your arms and legs once every hour.
Winter Driving Tips
For road travelers, winter is the most dangerous time of year. The following winter driving tips will help you stay safe and a little less anxious on your next trip.
Have your car checked out before you leave – This is a crucial winter driving tip. The last thing you want to worry about is car trouble, leaving you stranded far away from home. Take your vehicle to your local auto shop for a quick once over, and make sure your tires are winter ready and are properly inflated.
Stay hydrated for the journey – It probably seems like dehydration isn’t very likely during the winter, but a recent article published by Massachusetts General Hospital notes the importance of drinking in the winter, stating, “It may be difficult to notice when you’re sweating in colder weather. Even when you’re not sweating, you lose water through the skin, and the drier air from indoor heating can cause you to become dehydrated without even noticing.” Dehydration can quickly lead to fatigue and decreased alertness, which could be deadly during icy winter driving. Also, your body requires more fuel in the cold – so take with high-energy food including sandwiches, a thermos of hot soup, nuts, and fruit.
Pack a winter safety kit for the car – Don’t leave without the essentials for a safe road trip – a cell phone (don’t forget the car charger), ice scraper, tow rope and jumper cables, sand or kitty litter to aid with traction, blankets, flashlights, matches and emergency candles, first aid kit, portable radio, and a good book, in case you do get stuck.
Make frequent rest stops – winter driving is much more fatiguing than driving in the summer, so you’ll want to make time to stop and stretch your legs. Just a few minutes off the road will make all the difference in improving your alertness when you’re back behind the wheel.
The most important take home message for winter travel will stand you in good stead for many life situations is to be prepared, and plan ahead. Consider what potential hazards may be ahead, and have a plan and the proper provisions in case you are faced with challenges or emergencies. And remember to say a heartfelt tefillat haderech before you begin your vacation adventure.