Holiday Traveling Safety Tips
AAA predicts that 1 million more people will travel during this year’s Thanksgiving holiday than last year. In total, AAA expects to see 48.7 million Americans on the roads, in the air, and at sea. The holiday season reunites loved ones and gives many people a much-needed break from the daily grind. With so many people traveling, consider some simple ways to keep you and your family safe and healthy during the next couple of months.
If you use public transportation, including trains, buses, and planes, you will come in contact with many people. Winter brings the flu season, stuffy noses, and the spread of germs. Use these tips to protect yourself from sickness before, during, and after holiday visits:
- If you’re sick, stay home. If you recently experienced an illness, you could spread the infection to others. If you must travel while sick or during recovery, avoid touching people and things. Use a face mask and remember to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Use your own travel supplies. Bring a pillow and blanket to use and to cover potentially contaminated surfaces. Creating a physical barrier between you and recently touched spaces will reduce the spread of germs.
- Take hand sanitizer everywhere. Wipe down surfaces before eating or after sitting for too long. Antibacterial wipes provide a simple and effective method for killing germs on-the-go for both children and adults. A bathroom door handle at the airport or the in-flight magazine could harbor pathogens from thousands of travelers.
On-the-Road Safety Tips
Before you drive to a family gathering, run through this checklist to travel safely:
- Double-check vehicle safety. Check tire pressure, headlights, and the battery before heading out on long trips. Keep your gas tank half full of gas at all times to prepare for the unexpected.
- Check traffic. With GPS technology, rerouting a trip to avoid traffic and hazardous weather conditions saves time and reduces risks. Consider keeping a printed copy of your route or a map as a backup to a smartphone or GPS system.
- Cover or hide valuables. The holiday season often corresponds with an increase in crimes of convenience. Keep valuables hidden in the trunk or cover them to reduce the risk of a break-in.
- Drive safely. Wear your seat belt, take your time, and stop to rest along the way. Unsafe driving behaviors put your passengers and other drivers in danger. Speeding will not cut enough time off the total trip to make it worth the risk. Be aware and contact a car accident lawyer if you are injured due to someone else’s negligence.
Travel Planning Tips
Whether you’re planning to fly with several stopovers or you’re driving straight to Grandma’s, these planning tips will ease the stress of holiday travel:
- Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your trip. The holidays are stressful enough without worrying about booking a plane ticket or navigating the highways in the middle of rush hour. Plan your travel as early as possible, and give yourself enough time to account for unexpected delays.
- Keep your smartphone charged. Travel apps, GPS, and a physician’s hotline can help you make informed decisions along the way. A smartphone serves as both a planning tool and a backup plan.
- Build an emergency kit. Before you head out, make sure you pack everything you need to stay safe and warm along the way. Winter flight delays, car trouble, and other travel hiccups may leave you stranded for days at a time. Bring emergency cash, extra clothes, water, nutrition bars, and a small toolkit or multi-tool wherever you go.
As a final tip, a smile and a bit of patience will help you overcome many stressful situations during the holidays. Use these tips to avoid playing a starring role in a travel horror story. From staying healthy to finding the most effective routes, some simple planning and preparation will reduce the risk of common (and uncommon) travel woes.