Traveling in the winter can be dangerous especially if you are from a warmer climate that the area you are staying at. If you’re saving money for a trip, you don’t want it to be wasted with any accidents or spending your time freezing on your vacation. As such here are tips on how to stay safe while traveling in the winter.
1. Check the Forecast
An obvious precaution but one that deserves to be restated. Keep an eye on the predicted temperatures, especially the wind chill factor, so you can dress appropriately or stay inside during poor weather.
This is especially important if you are planning any outside, physical and/or long distance activities. A warm, at least comparatively, sunny day can quickly shift to wet, cold and/or icy weather with surprising swiftness and being caught out in such a situation can, in extreme cases, be life threatening.
2. Have Appropriate Clothing and Supplies.
Spend the time to workout what sort of winter clothing is right for the weather you will be experiencing. For cold climates this will typically include several layers from thermal underwear to parkas and ski jackets. Make sure to find out what is best for the area you are traveling in so you can pack appropriately.
When doing outdoor activities in cold weather make sure you have some form of method of outside contact and have either a map or other directions, because though winter scenery can be beautiful becoming lost can cause severe injury or be life threatening.
3. Travel Safely.
Driving in cold or icy conditions is dangerous. If you, or the person driving, don’t experience in driving in such conditions it is best if you find different transport. Never drive into a storm. Also make sure to learn if hail or sleet is common and be careful if either of these conditions are forecast. Hail can cause injury as well as damaging cars and equipment. Sleet is also dangerous, its liquid water content soaking warm clothes reducing their effectiveness.
This also applies to flying, keep an eye on the weather for your flight and make sure you know how to re-book or get a refund for flights grounded by storms, snow or other bad weather. If your flight is canceled a train ride can often get you to your destination.
4. Keep Electrical Devices Charged
In case the weather takes an unexpected, or expected, turn for the worse make sure your phones and/or other devices are charged. In confusing and crowded situations your phone may be the only place to get reliable information and will certainly be the only easy way to reassure friends and relatives or to organize around an unavoidable delay.
Following the twitter of your airline can make it easier to get up to date information about flights and potential delays. Twitter and Facebook can also be useful in informing friends and family of your situation when calls or regular internet access is an issue.
5. Check Opening Hours
Many tourist attractions will have shorter opening hours during winter, make sure to check what the best time to visit is. Weather can also influence this, especially for outside activities such as skiing or hiking, so be sure to check if an outing has been delayed or canceled.
In the end the best winter travel tip is to be careful and aware of your surroundings and to then prepare for the potential outcomes. If you plan to travel places like Thailand or Mexico, you won’t need to worry about these winter safety tips. But we have to travel for business sometimes as well and many places through Europe and North America can experience very cold winters. That being said, many winter locations make excellent holiday locations for the prepared and cautious.
Below is an infographic from Slater and Gordon Lawyers, who have been kind enough to provide us with some crucial tips for staying safe during winter travel.