It seems like everyone will be going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house next week; the Automobile Association of America (AAA) estimates next week will be the largest travel week since 2007. Are you ready for the crowds? What can you do to make your travel as sane and safe as possible?
The number one tip is to keep your cool. You know it’s going to be crowded, whether you’re in the airport, on the roads or in the mall. Just take a deep breath and remember that everyone wants the same thing you do – to get to their destination safely and on time, with minimal fuss and bother. There’s no need to get angry or frustrated because your flight is late or you’re stuck in traffic; you knew this was going to happen before you left home, so it’s no surprise. You’re traveling in November; the chances of clear weather across the country are slim to none, so anticipate your flight will be delayed. Get to the airport early, because the lines at the security check-in will be long. Do everything you can to keep your head in the game.
Speaking of keeping your head in the game, remember to limit distractions and alcohol, not just when you’re driving but when you’re traveling in general. Less savory individuals are looking for you to be distracted. When you’re looking at your phone, you’re not paying attention to your luggage, your family, your surroundings or your wallet/purse. You’re especially not paying attention to the road.
Here are some more tips for safe travel over the holidays (or whenever you’re traveling):
- Arrive earlier than normal. Check-in and security lines will be huge, so leave yourself enough time if it takes an hour to get through security.
- Expect delays. If your flight is cancelled, make sure to call the airline (even if you’re in the airport) and get a “protected” seat on the next flight to your destination.
- Carry your prescription meds, toiletries (travel sized) and a change of clothes in your carry-on; if you get stuck, at least you’ll have the essentials with you.
- Have your chargers, extra batteries and plenty of books, puzzles and magazines to keep yourself and your family occupied during a long wait.
- Bring protein bars and snacks with you to munch on so you’re not eating junk all day. It’s easier to stay calm when your blood sugar is at the right level, so avoid sugary snacks that can spike then drop your blood sugar.
- If your flight is delayed, it’s worth it to buy a one-day pass to your airline’s lounge; it’s much more comfortable than sitting at the gate for several hours.
- Tag all your bags, including your carry-ons. Include your name, address, phone number and email address on the tag. If the flight is full (and it probably will be), your carry-on might get gate-checked and this will allow you to more easily identify your bag at the other end.
- A week before you go (so now, if you’re traveling for Thanksgiving), get your vehicle serviced. Change the oil with a winter-weight oil, bring your anti-freeze up to the right temperature to where you’re going and double check your tires for pressure and tread wear.
- Make sure you have plenty of windshield wiper fluid and carry some extra in the car in case you run into bad weather.
- Even if you’re driving, tag all your bags. Having your name, address, etc on the inside of the bag will help you get it back in case it’s stolen and dumped.
- Plan your trip out before you leave and make sure your family not traveling with you knows your route. If you get into trouble, they’ll have a way to track you.
- Pack a cooler with healthy food; road food may be fun for a road trip on vacation, but traveling in winter is no walk in the park. Protein bars, fresh fruit, plenty of water will come in handy.
- Don’t drive ahead when you’re tired or if the weather turns bad. It’s better to get to your destination in one piece than to forge ahead through sleepiness and blizzard.
Hopefully, everyone will arrive safely and relaxed, ready to enjoy the time with family and friends.
Do you have winter travel tips? Make sure to comment so everyone can share in your great ideas!