There are many things to consider when thinking about taking a trip during the cold winter months. One of the first things on the to-do list is packing for the trip. There are certain things you should have with you when you travel in cold weather:
Clothing. Be sure to pack enough warm clothing like sweaters, warm socks, pants and thermal underwear. Bring an extra coat, gloves, scarf, hat and boots. The key to dressing for winter weather is layers. You can always remove a layer or two while inside a
restaurant, hotel room or relative’s home.
Extras. Make sure you bring your cell phone charger, plenty of funds in case of a break down and blankets. Bring some hot chocolate or coffee with you when you first leave home. Water is a necessity, but something warm will taste good too. You may want to consider bringing some soup in a thermos as well.
Vehicle. Have your vehicle serviced before you head down the road. This way if there are frayed belts or bad hoses, your mechanic can replace them before they leave you stranded in the snow. The alternative to this is to do the maintenance yourself. This can save you money if you know what you are doing. Either way, it is still wise to check your fluids, belts, hoses and tires before you leave home. Also check to make sure your heater and defroster works. Make sure the cigarette lighter plug works so you can charge your cell phone while traveling.
Vehicle packing. There are some things you should have in your vehicle in case of emergency and for general comfort while traveling. Tool kit, complete first-aid kit, thermal blankets, road flares, spare tire and jack, extra anti-freeze, oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and windshield washer fluid, extra belts and hoses, fire extinguisher, drinking water, flashlight with fresh batteries and a current road atlas. Have jumper cables and a portable battery charger (if possible).
Things like holiday traffic, winter weather conditions and emergency preparedness are the next things to consider. These all can greatly affect your trip positively or negatively.
Holiday traffic is not something most motorists enjoy. Bumper to bumper in the cities and what feels like convoys on the open road. This is a time when even the nicest people can become impatient and commit road rage to varying degrees. While they may be no real way to avoid holiday traffic, there are a few ways you can prepare it. First and foremost, bring your A-game. This means be well rested before you hit the road. Be alert, you may know what you are doing, but that does not mean you know what everyone else is going to do out there.
Winter weather conditions. Make sure your lights are on so other motorists have a better chance of seeing you if you run into a low visibility area. Avoid driving fast. Listen to the local weather channel on your vehicle radio for upcoming road conditions/closures and weather forecasts. Pay attention to where you are at all times, this way you can give your location should you break down, become stranded due to zero visibility or are involved in an accident.
Traveling during the holiday and winter season can be a lot of fun. Trees covered in snow can make for some great photos. Winter travel can also be very tricky and potentially dangerous. It pays to be prepared.