There’s no place like home for the holidays but it can be chaotic, frustrating and confusing getting there. We want to make sure you and your family arrive to your holiday destinations safe and sound. These ten holiday safety tips will help make your Thanksgiving and Christmas travel smooth and safe.
1. READ HOLIDAY TRAVEL FORECASTS
For every major travel holiday, AAA compiles a forecast report with comprehensive information on best times to travel, heaviest traffic, and how many are expected to be travelling. These forecasts can help you plan an efficient and smooth travel itinerary. Keep an eye out for Thanksgiving and Christmas travel forecasts to help you plan.
2. SECURE YOUR HOME
Home burglaries increase during peak travel months however many can be prevented by taking a few precautions.
- Be sure you close and lock all windows and doors in your house and garage. If you have sliding doors, it’s recommended that you get sliding locks.
- Make sure that someone close to you is aware of your trip and able to check on the house periodically or you have a neighbor that can collect mail and newspapers during your absence
- If you own a second vehicle, consider parking it in the driveway so that it appears someone is home.
- Most importantly, make sure your home owner or renter’s insurance policy is up-to-date and offering you the right coverage.
Talk with an Insurance Professional
3. GET TRAVEL INSURANCE
It’s better to be safe than sorry and this small, additional purchase can end up saving you thousands of dollars if you are forced to cancel your travel.
You also want to check your existing insurance policies to figure out what is and isn’t covered while you’re away – car rentals, lost luggage, overseas health insurance.
4. DOWNLOAD THE AAA APP
The AAA app is a travel-must! Not only can you find the cheapest gas around, plan your trip and figure out where your AAA discounts apply – you can also request and track emergency roadside assistance. Take a few minutes before you leave for your trip to download the app so that it’s on your phone and ready to go in the case of a roadside emergency or if you just need guidance on what restaurants to visit or sights to see.
5. GET YOUR CAR MAINTAINED
If your holiday plans include a road trip, having your car maintained is a must, particularly if you’re travelling somewhere winter weather heavy. Whether you do the work yourself or take it into a professional, make sure the following are in tip-top shape and ready to hit the road:
- Fluid Levels
- Hoses & Belts
- Brake System
- Heating & A/C Systems
- Steering & Suspension
- Wipers & Lighting
Find an Approved Auto Repair Shop
6. AVOID TRAVEL HEAVY DAYS
Sometimes you just have no choice but to travel when everyone else is. If, however, you find your itinerary has flexibility, consider travelling when traffic is expected to be lighter. Heavy traffic mixed with cold weather and holiday expectations can make for unsafe driving conditions. If your trip allows you the flexibility to leave at a time when traffic is expected to be lighter, do so! You’ll likely save yourself time and a headache.
7. HAVE AN EMERGENCY KIT
Emergency Kits are great for… well, emergencies! It doesn’t take long to put one together and when you need one AND have one, it can really help a stressful situation. If you’re driving to your holiday destination, keep an emergency kit in your car so that it’s accessible and easy to grab.
8. COMMUNICATE YOUR ITINERARY
If you’re travelling with multiple people, make sure everyone is aware of the plan and on the same page, especially if you’re flying. Airports will likely be crowded, and you don’t want to lose a travel companion because of information mishaps.
If you’re travelling by yourself, be sure to communicate your itinerary to someone close to you – both back at home and at your destination (if possible).
9. GET PLENTY OF REST & DON’T GET HANGRY
This may be a no-brainer, but travel is exhausting! Make sure that you are well-rested and ready to go before you depart. A good night’s sleep can keep you upbeat as well as alert, allowing you to tackle any mishaps that may head your way.
Similarly, make sure you don’t get hungry. If you’re on the road, pack light and easy-to-access snacks and drinks for you and your family so that you can avoid any mishaps that come with being hangry (hungry and angry). If you’re flying, be sure to swing through your local airport’s food courts & restaurants and fuel yourself up.
10. PLAN FOR DELAYS
We know, we know. Nobody wants to be delayed while traveling – whether by vehicle or plane – but delays can sometimes be unavoidable. Cushion your travel itinerary with extra time so that you aren’t caught by surprise if a delay lands in your lap.
Allowing yourself extra time will reduce the stress and anxiety of unexpected interruptions to your travel plans. If there are no delays, well, you’ll get to your destination earlier and can enjoy your holiday even sooner.
If you don’t want to deal with the headache of travel plans at all, chat with one of our travel agents! They’ll take care of the work for you so that you can focus on the holidays with your loved one.