Cold Weather Travel Tips

Many people are weary of cold weather travel and understandably so.  Flights often get delayed or cancelled and road conditions can make driving dangerous, which is why we thought you would appreciate some cold weather travel tips.  Whether you’re traveling by plane or car, you can prepare for even the coldest of arctic blasts, wherever you go.

By Car

Cold weather can bring out the worst in roads so postpone travel if the weather looks bad.  If you must travel, keep an eye on weather updates and try to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.  Leaving an hour earlier than usual can reduce your need to hurry by providing you with a time buffer in case you hit poor conditions or a traffic jam.  Even if you don’t have a time buffer, take your time and be cautious of road conditions – it’s better to be slow, steady and safe.

Plan and Pack Ahead: Before heading out on the road, make sure your gas task is at least half full.  This can help prevent the fuel lines from freezing and, if needed, allow you to run the heat if you get stuck.  Also check that your tires are properly inflated – you will have better traction if there is snow or ice on the roads.  If you do end up in the ditch or stuck on the side of the road, having your car packed with these items can help you out:

  • Bottled Water
  • Non-perishable food
  • Extra gloves, hats, jackets and boots
  • Blanket
  • A spare phone and car charger for emergency calls
  • Small shovel
  • A bag of sand or cat litter to put under tires for traction
  • Ice scraper
  • Jumper cables
  • First aid kit

By Plane

According to FlightStats, over 3,000 departing flights from Chicago O’Hare were delayed during the week of January 5, when a polar vortex hit much of the Midwest and Northeast causing record low temperatures.1,2  This is an extreme and unusual number of delays but it’s telling of the impact weather has on flight schedules.  Although you can’t control the weather, you can do some things to prepare for possible delays and cancellations.

Keep Calm: No one wants delayed or cancelled flights but they happen and are more frequent during times of cold weather.  Everyone around you will be trying to get on the next available flight so it is important to remember to keep a cool head and be respectful.  Remember – airline representatives can’t change the weather but they can help you rearrange flight schedules.  It is frustrating when flights get delayed or cancelled but being calm and polite can go a lot further than yelling and making demands.

Charge up: Before leaving for the airport, be sure to charge up your phone and any other electronics that might come in handy should you need to make phone calls to rearrange your travel plans.  Pack extra batteries or portable charging devices so you don’t have to worry about scouring for outlets in the airport when battery levels run low.

Pack travel insurance: Purchasing a travel insurance plan through Travel Guard is one way to cover pre-paid and non-refundable travel investments you have made if there is a delay or cancellation due to weather.  Depending on the type of plan and coverage available, Travel Guard’s 24/7 assistance centers can offer help to customers regarding flight cancellations or delays due to inclement weather.

Traveling can be a wonderful experience but sometimes not everything goes as planned, especially when something unpredictable like weather enters the picture.  However, through research and proper planning before travels, you can minimize cold weather woes and be on your way.


  2. accessed on Jan. 13, 2014
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One Response to Cold Weather Travel Tips

  1. Annie Craven says:

    Living here in Canada, cold weather is inevitable and it seems to happen on the days we travel. It sucks but we have to deal with it. You have some great tips, thanks for sharing!

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