“Winter is coming” is more than a sentence in Game of Thrones; it’s the reality this time of year. With winter comes the holidays, centered around family, friends, and other loved ones. But what also comes with the winter is travel. If you don’t already know these winter travel tips, then you might find yourself in a situation you’ll regret.
Whether traveling to family homes for the holidays or taking a much-deserved vacation, traveling can be stressful if you don’t follow simple winter travel tips like these.
Winter Travel Tips
Plan Your Budget Ahead of Time
My first winter travel tip is about budgeting. One of the areas that most people don’t plan for during the holidays is the double whammy of travel, gifts, and monthly bills, all impacting your annual budget at the same time. In fact, over 33% of all American’s rack up added debt during the holidays that take months to pay back.
So how can you plan for a perfect holiday trip without falling too far behind in your finances?
Planning a budget well ahead of time can produce some fantastic results. Setting aside a little money all year can add up by the holiday season. And if you adhere to only spending what you saved, you won’t adversely impact your finances or have to take on unnecessary debt just for the holidays.
That said, having a little breathing room during the holidays will also help you destress the holidays and allow you to enjoy them a little more.
If you’re planning a trip to visit family, budgeting should be easier than traveling for a vacation.
In that vein, let’s discuss winter travel tips with regard to vacations over the holidays.
Overseas Trip Tips
If you’re planning to travel overseas during the holidays, there are quite a few things you need to prepare for in advance of leaving.
Obviously, getting tickets and budgeting your trip are some of the most important steps to take, but so is canceling your mail, making sure your house, pets, and plants are taken care of while you’re gone; getting your passports and visas in order; having the recommended vaccinations; paying bills ahead of time; packing appropriately for your trip, and sharing an itinerary with loved ones to keep you safe and in communication, if needed.
The key to international travel is to be prepared but be flexible. There are often more things to see and do than you have time for, so plan but be open to discovery.
Another tip: It’s essential to be aware of local laws and customs as well as the exchange rate before you go.
Road Trip Tips
Getting your road trip on is one of the top American vacations. So naturally, we romanticize the experience, in songs and shows, from Route 66 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, the movie, and more. In a previous article, I wrote about how to make a road trip plan, but I’ll summarize some of the main points here:
Travel Insurance: Especially if you are driving in a foreign country, travel insurance is recommended, but check your home and auto policies first.
Emergency Road Trip Kit: From spare tires, jacks, flares, and jumper cables, an emergency road trip kit is crucial.
First Aid Kit: Any first aid kit should include the basics from aspirin, antihistamines, bandaids, to antibacterials.
Cell Phone Charger: Whether you’re going someplace new or somewhere you’re familiar with, having a phone charger in the car is a good idea. You never know if some situation happens, and getting your phone charged is an issue, so having a charger in the vehicle helps avoid any potential problems.
Physical Map: With GPS and map services on your phones, physical maps are the long-forgotten items for a road trip but are crucial for long drives in unfamiliar territory.
You may hit pockets that don’t have cell phone service on your trip, and having a physical map is essential in staying on the right roads, freeways, and bypasses.
Car Service: Having your car serviced is highly recommended; oil changed, fluids checked, and battery in good shape are all crucial to a good road trip.
Another suggestion is to have an automotive battery charger to bring along if you suffer any battery power issues while away. You can store a battery charger in your road trip emergency kit or have it as a stand-alone item.
There’s nothing more relaxing than staying at home and telling everyone you’re on vacation.
The simple act of telling people you’ll be on vacation alleviates the need for social interaction, and for many introverts, a staycation is the most desirable vacation of all. With a staycation, you can choose to stay home, rent an Airbnb or go to a local hotel and discover more about your town and community.
You can plan on doing all the touristy things you recommend to others, explore new restaurants and museums, spend time at a spa, or whatever recharges and relaxes you.
Whether you plan to stay home this winter, take a road trip to nowhere, or travel overseas, wintertime is a great time to travel for fun and celebrate the holidays. With these winter travel tips, you can be safe, plan ahead, and enjoy all the experiences, memories, and wonder of traveling.