Top Tips for Winter Travel
Monday, 28 Nov 2016
Whether travelling away for business, taking a holiday, or visiting family for the festive season, winter travel comes with a unique set of potential problems. So make sure you take these simple but effective steps this winter to ensure that your trip is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.
- If travelling by air this winter, make the most of your flight to catch up on some festive tasks, such as writing a list of gifts to give family and friends. This is a great chance to think of something for those people who seem to have everything. Why not take advantage of on-board duty-free and tick a few people off the list. A long flight is a great opportunity to finally get round to writing greetings cards. It’s a chance to catch up with old friends and let them know what you have up to during the past year.
- If you struggle to fight jet-leg, why not book yourself onto a night-time flight, so that you are more likely to get to sleep on board, and more likely to stay awake once you arrive at your destination. Be prepared and take along a few items to help you drift off to sleep, such as an eye mask, ear plugs, and some warm socks.
- Before you fly, remember to check liquid restrictions. Don’t forget that all liquids you present at security are subject to restrictions. This includes many possible Christmas gifts, such as alcohol and snow globes. If these exceed the permitted quantity, they will be confiscated.
- Travelling during the festive season can be even more stressful than normal, with lots of people either desperate to get away on holiday or desperate to get back home. This means a lot of waiting in line and pushing through crowds. Travelling with kids can make this all the more trying. So, come prepared with a wide range of distractions for your youngsters, from toys, to books and puzzles. And don’t feel guilty about loading up a tablet or smart phone with lots of games and movies to help keep them occupied. Don’t forget to pack headphones and chargers.
- Avoid several occasions when you would normally have to queue by shipping your luggage ahead with Send My Bag. This means that you can print your boarding pass at home and proceed straight through security, skipping check-in all together. It also means that you don’t have to wait for your bag once you disembark and that you don’t have to drag bags onto public transport. It also means that you can avoid altogether excess or oversize baggage charges, which is a particular problem if carrying sports equipment such as skis. To find out more about luggage shipping, read our 'How it works' page or our 'FAQs'.
- There is not much that can be done about travel disruption caused by bad weather, but you can try to avoid such situations by booking domestic flights that leave early in the morning. That way you may avoid the knock-on effect of delays that is often felt when travelling later in the day.
- If your flight is cancelled and you need to rebook, you shouldn’t accept the rebooking desk as your only option but should also give your airline’s helpline a go. This could mean that you avoid queuing for ages.
- Make sure you travel with travel insurance that includes cancellation cover. You should ask for your policy to start a few days or weeks in advance of your trip so that you are covered in the case of any prior event causing you to cancel your trip, such as a family bereavement or bad weather. Better still, purchase annual travel insurance that automatically renews so that you are always covered.
- Bad weather should be a serious consideration if you are travelling by road. Do not set off if extreme weather is predicted. Even if you do set off in acceptable conditions, you may still get caught out. You should, therefore, prepare for every eventuality by packing several essential items, such as a tyre repair kit, an ice scraper, your mobile phone, the phone number of a vehicle recovery service in several locations along your route, fresh water and food supplies, including a flask of tea or coffee, extra jumpers and warm blankets, a torch, reading material, a map, a first-aid kit, tow rope, sand to help with traction, matches and candles. You may think it unlikely that you will be faced with an emergency, but you will be grateful for your preparation if you are. You should also make sure your vehicle is in good condition before you travel, with oil, water and antifreeze all topped up if necessary.
- Make sure you don’t return home to a disaster by securing your home against extreme weather. Prevent burst pipes by insulating external pipes or those in the attic or garage against the cold. You should also secure any items outside your property that might fall and be damaged, or cause damage, in strong winds. Ask a friend or neighbour to check on your home while you are away and make available any critical information they might need in the case of an emergency, such as how to shut off the water or turn off the electricity. Also make sure that they have a number on which to reach you.
Follow these top tips for winter travel and you should avoid the major pitfalls of travelling at this time of year. Further travel tips can be found on our blog, including advice on travelling with children and tips for travelling in groups.
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