For many of us, the holidays often mean traveling to visit family and friends in other cities, states, and even across the country.
If you’re planning a family trip this year, these holiday travel tips will help you arrive at your destination safely.
However, before you set off for [insert name of your relative/family friend here]’s house, you should ensure that your home security system is working properly. Test all your burglar and fire devices as well as cameras. Let your alarm company know that you’ll be doing this and that you’ll be traveling so they know how to respond to signals when you’re gone.
Bring a Winter Emergency Roadside Kit–If you’re driving more than a few miles, you should pack some items to help you in case your vehicle breaks down, including a fully charged cell phone (and car charger), first-aid kit, flashlight, folding shovel to dig tires out of the snow, flares and a white flag, jumper cables, nonperishable food, drinking water, blankets, extra clothing, and any necessary medicines.
Keep the Gas Tank Full–If you get stuck in traffic or even in snow–you might use more gas than you anticipated to get to or from your destination or to stay warm. You should also have a mechanic check out your vehicle before you leave home to ensure it’s in tip-top shape. Check the air pressure in the tires and bring along a bottle of windshield washer fluid. If the tires are worn have new ones put on before you start your trip.
Don’t Drive in Bad Weather–Stay off the roads if conditions are hazardous. Wait until the weather and the road conditions improve before you travel. If it snows when you’re on the road be sure to keep your windows clear of snow and ice. Don’t forget to clean the headlights, tail lights and brake lights. If you have to turn on the windshield wipers, turn on the headlights as well. Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows up if you have to pull over to wait out the really bad weather. If you have to keep your vehicle running, do so only long enough to get warm and be sure to keep the exhaust pipe clear of any snow.
Take Frequent Rest Breaks–Winter driving can tire you out more than driving in the summer. On long trips, plan enough time to stop to stretch your legs, get something to eat, change drivers, or rest if you feel drowsy. Don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep before you drive to your destination or back home again.
Flying the Friendly Skies
Give Yourself Extra Time–As you head out to catch your flight, remember the words of Scottish poet Robert Burns, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Traffic jams, roads construction or even road closures could mean your plans to get to the airport on time to go awry. Speeding so you won’t miss your flight could cause you to get into an accident. So build in some extra time just in case.
Ask a Friend to Drive You to the Airport–If possible ask a family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker for a ride or maybe take a cab. Then you won’t have worry about your vehicle while your away. However, if you have to drive and leave your car in the airport parking garage, don’t leave any valuables such as CDs, GPS devices, or other electronics in plain sight. You should also be sure to lock the doors of your vehicle.
Bring Along a Small Emergency Kit–Pack a small kit in your purse or carry-on bag containing such items as antacids, pain relievers, adhesive bandages, and antibiotic ointment in the event of minor scrapes, bumps, bruises, or ailments. Don’t forget the hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to wipe down arm rests, seatback tray tables, and the like.
Equip Kids with Wearable Safety Devices–Traveling with children is not an easy proposition in the best of times. An airport jammed packed with people can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to keeping your children safe. One way to ensure that you know where your kids are at all times are lightweight, wearable location devices available in a number of designs, including a smartwatch that’s also a smartphone.
Following these tips will help keep you and your family safe during your holiday travels, whether you’re heading over the river and through the woods to your destination by plane or car.