By Victoria Falk
According to the American Automobile Association, over 45 million people are expected to travel this winter holiday season. The holiday season is a precious time for many people who enjoy being with friends and family. It’s an exciting time of the year, a joyous occasion, and yes – it can also be very stressful as you’re trying to find the best way to get to your destination.
Plan ahead. You definitely want to plan your travel route before the start date of your vacation. If you are driving across country to visit friends and family, make sure you have correct driving directions. Check for road closures, detours, and other delays that may affect your trip. Make sure you have current information about where you’re going. If the last time you made the trip was for last year’s holiday season, there is a possibility that road conditions may have changed. You want to know these things before you go on your trip.
Prepare for emergencies. You do not want to be that person who is sitting in their vehicle, on the side of the road, waiting for help to come. Furthermore, other drivers should not have to call their families to tell them they’ll be late for holiday dinner because they are stuck behind you on the road. It may be cheaper for you to drive this holiday season, instead of paying for airplane tickets. But, can your car handle the road trip? Check your vehicle thoroughly before your road trip to make sure it is in good condition for the trip you’re planning. Each year as millions of people take the road, it’s not unusual to see traffic delays as drivers slow down to look at or try to go around those vehicles that for whatever reason, have broken down, stopped, stalled, etc., and are holding up traffic. Nobody wants to think about getting a flat tire or running out of oil during their trip to their family’s house for holiday dinner. But if you want to take the stress out of holiday travel, consider the possibilities and be prepared.
Make sure your tires are in good condition and carry a spare tire in the trunk; along with a jack in the event you need to change a tire. Make sure your fluid levels are sufficient and carry enough oil, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, etc., to make sure you have enough for your trip. Fill up the gas tank before you go and make stops to get more gas so your meter is never approaching empty. Remember that membership has privileges and consider enrolling in roadside assistance services.
Get an early start. Whether you are driving to your friends and family or driving to the airport to board a plane, you want to get an early start. During the holiday season, expect traffic to be heavier than usual and prepare for delays by giving yourself enough travel time. If you are flying within the United States, it is advised to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before flight departure time. However, if you are making an international flight, you must be inside the airport and checked in to your flight at least 3 hours before the expected flight departure time. Airlines can and will deny you
access to board a plane if you have not been checked into the flight by the required time. The airports will be more crowded than usual so you will need more time to get through check-in, baggage claims, security, etc.
Communicate early. Contact your friends and family to discuss your holiday travel plans. Ask them if there is anything you should know before your trip that may be helpful to ensure your travel is as convenient and comfortable as possible. Let friends and family know the time you’re departing your location and when you are expected to reach your travel destination so they can be there to welcome you with open arms. Contact your travel professional for more great travel tips and decide now if you need to make changes to your holiday plans.
Victoria Falk is a Travel Specialist and award-winning CEO of Passionate Travel, Inc