Winter travel offers rewards and challenges, including weather and snow considerations. The key to a successful winter trip is planning and patience.
Before you begin packing, research your destination and the expected weather for the time of you are visiting. A great way to do this is to go to www.intellicast.com, select your destination and click on “historic averages.” This will give you an idea of the average temperature and precipitation. Now you can refine your winter trip planning and pack for the right temperature.
You will want to bring layers of clothes that you can add or remove to match the temperature and level of exertion for whatever activity you are performing. Your best bet is to stick with synthetic materials, like fleece, for most layers with a down or synthetic down jacket for the extra-warm layer. A water-proof outer shell jacket (and pants if you are pursuing snow sports) will round out your clothing selections.
Few people plan to be stuck in the same place during their entire winter vacation, so transportation considerations are a must. Assuming you are renting a car, make sure to book an SUV if you are in a snowy area. Once you book the vehicle, call the local phone number for the actual car rental office, not the generic 1-800 number, to confirm that the SUV you have reserved is actually all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Also confirm that the vehicle has all-season or snow tires. If you are traveling to a state that has tire-chain restrictions, ask the agency if you can rent tire-chains. If you can, reserve them. Once you pick up your rental car, make sure you stop at a grocery store to pick up some extra food to keep in the car in case you get stranded due to weather.
Always be sure to monitor the weather. A winter storm can close roads and change your travel plans very quickly. (That's when it's good to know how your travel insurance policy covers weather-related issues.) Have a paper map or GPS with you so you can research alternative routes if you are faced with a road closure. If you are forced to drive in inclement weather, take your time and know how to drive in the snow.
Winter vacations offer a host of challenges but they can be very rewarding if you are prepared and patient. Consider the weather and conditions of your destination when performing your winter trip planning, and you should be ready for anything.
What are your suggestions to make winter travel easier?