Whether you’re seeking a warmer climate or visiting family for the holidays, winter is a wonderful time to travel. However, the possibilities of winter storms can cause delays, stress, and worst of all, safety issues. While you can’t control the weather, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re prepared and safe.
The first step is to familiarize yourself with winter weather terminology (as defined by Ready).
- Winter Storm Watch – there is potential for hazardous winter weather such as heavy snow, freezing rain or ice – typically within the next 48 hours. It is important to have a plan of action in the event of a winter storm watch.
- Winter Weather Advisory – hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent. This includes snow, sleet, freezing rain, or heavy winds. It is recommended to proceed with caution if traveling.
- Winter Storm Warning – hazardous winter weather that poses a threat to life or property is occurring or imminent. A winter storm warning typically involves heavy snow, freezing rain, powerful winds and sleet. In the event of a winter storm warning it is critical to take protective action and avoid any and all travel if possible.
Flying During the Winter Season
Between flight delays, cancellations, missed connections and overnights in airports, winter storms can make flying very difficult. Follow these tips to give yourself the best chance of reaching your destination.
- Fly non-stop whenever possible. If a flight is cancelled you can either stay comfortably at home or spend an extra day at your destination. Otherwise you run the risk of being stuck in a connecting airport.
- If a connecting flight is unavoidable and you have a tight window, let the flight attendant know. They may work with you to ensure you get off the plane quickly.
- Book your flights for early in the morning. If your flight does get cancelled or delayed, this gives you a better chance of getting on a later flight.
- Avoid traveling over holiday weekends if possible. These are peak travelling times and could limit your chances of getting on a later flight due to cancellation.
- Be prepared for security checks. If traveling with gifts, the TSA recommends using gift bags instead of wrapping paper as they may need to be unwrapped for inspection.
Driving During the Winter Season
With ice and snow covered roads, snow drifts, and low visibility, it is critical to be prepared while driving during the winter season. Unlike with flying, where all flight (or cancellation of flight) decisions are made by professionals, it is up to you to make the safest choice while driving. Follow the below safety tips while traveling in your car.
- Know the forecast for your entire route, not just where you are currently.
- Keep friends and family aware of your schedule and any changes or updates.
- Allow for extra time in case a winter storm prevents you from driving.
- Drive slow and increase the gap between you and the car in front of you. If you begin to skid, be
sure to turn gently into the skid and ease off the gas.
- Keep your headlights on and make sure they are clean and clear of snow.
- Put together an emergency supply kit for your car. Be sure to include a first aid kit, any
prescription medication, blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, gloves, extra clothing, a
windshield scraper, a shovel and bag of sand, bottled water, dehydrated foods, and nuts.
No matter how prepared you are for the winter travel season, a winter storm can still strike.
Consider Purchasing Travel Insurance
Trip Cancellation and Interruption benefits can help you recover non-refundable prepaid expenses if
your trip is cancelled or interrupted due to:
- Common carrier delays resulting from inclement weather
- Arrangements canceled by an airline, cruise line, motor coach company, or tour operator,
resulting from inclement weather
- Cancellation of your covered trip if your arrival on the covered trip is delayed and causes you to
lose 50% or more of the scheduled covered trip duration due to inclement weather
Trip Delay benefits can help pay for additional expenses such as accommodations, transportation, and
meals if your trip is delayed for five hours or more due to inclement weather.
Travelex Insurance Services plans are underwritten by Transamerica Casualty Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio; NAIC #10952. Travel Assistance & Concierge Services are provided by the designated provider as listed in the Description of Coverage. For a summary of the plan details on coverages, benefits, limitations and exclusions of the insurance plan, please refer to the applicable Description of Coverage and/or Group Certificate/Individual Policy. 1562055