While this is a season of major travel, it is sometimes the most dangerous time to be on the road. Inclement weather, busier than normal congestion, and an increase of exhausted, stressed out motorists can create less than ideal driving conditions. We always know the holiday season has when everyone one the road is driving crazy! I think some good winter travel tips are in order, don’t you?
Preparing for Travel This Season
As my husband’s family is overseas and most of my family is spread across the country, we won’t really be going very far this winter. My mom is only twenty minutes away but we see her all of the time, so that doesn’t really count as “travel.” We’re mostly using these breaks from school and work for mini-trips with just the four of us (my husband, daughter, dog, and me).
A few years ago, though, we did do a big family meet-up in Lake Tahoe. My sister’s friend owns this huge house there and let us rent it out for a week. Frans, Munchkin, and I decided to head out to have some family time of our own. We stopped at one area with a huge pileup of snow and guess who we saw there—the rest of the family. By coincidence, we all ended up at the same spot! So, we threw a bunch of snowballs at each other and drove a bit further for some crazy off-road sledding. Good times!
6 Winter Travel Tips for Family Travel
No matter where you go, good preparation can keep frustration levels to a minimum as you focus on enjoying as much time as possible with your family. Here are a few ideas you can try before you go so your vacation proceeds that much smoother.
- Winter Wonderland: Your car will not be happy with you going from dry or wet areas to snowy ones unprepared. Lower temperatures might call for some special additives in your windshield wiper fluid to prevent freezing. Unless you have winter or snow tires, certain stretches of road may require snow chains. Make sure you have the right chains for your car’s tires. You should know how to put the chains on fairly quickly (it can get really cold trying to experiment on the side of the road in the snow) or be ready to pay someone in the chain application area to do it correctly.
- Refueling the Family: Snacks and drinks are always good to keep on hand. Who needs hungry, irritable passengers complaining during hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic?! Plus having your own trail mix, fruit, and water will keep everyone happy in case you’re on a highway with places to buy refreshments being far and few between. Rover will also appreciate some fresh, non-frozen water to drink at any pit stops.
- Google It: Make sure you go online to double-check your planned travel route. If you know of road closures, accidents, or construction areas ahead of time, you can adjust your route or timing. For traffic in the San Francisco Bay Area, we will often check 511.org for current road conditions.
Jiffy Lube has some great tips to help Leave Worry Behind® for travel during this time too. My family and I actually follow these particular tips before heading out on the road.
- Keep ‘Kit’ Together: Be sure that you have a car emergency kit in your trunk for any unforeseeable car issues that may arise during your trip. Kits should include a flashlight, jumper cables, batteries, electrical tape, a rain poncho, a reflective safety vest and an emergency blanket. Drivers should also pack a medical kit equipped with band aids, gauze, alcohol antiseptic pads, insect bit relief and any necessary medications.
- Watch Your Weight: Matching the load rate of your vehicle (found in the owner’s manual or inside the driver’s side door) with the estimated weight of your family and the luggage you’ll be packing for the trip will help improve gas mileage. Excess weight makes the engine work harder and consume more gasoline.
- Keep Rollin’: Check tire air pressure, including the spare. Over- or under-inflation can weaken your tires, cause uneven tread wear and impact your gas mileage. Many drivers think the proper tire pressure can be found on the actual tire, however, that’s incorrect. Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual or to a decal often found in the doorjamb or glove compartment for the proper tire pressure. Check the pressure when the tire is cold/at air temperature. Do not check the pressure after an extended drive on the highway or after driving for more than five minutes.
How are you preparing for your upcoming road trips?
This post was sponsored by Jiffy Lube. All opinions are my own.