December is one of the the busiest travel seasons, and this years is shaping up to be no different.
Heavy traffic, long lines, inclement weather and drowsy drivers can play havoc with holiday driving. Consider these tips for your holiday travel.
1.Prep Your Vehicle
Schedule a routine vehicle inspection to avoid any potential issues or breakdown. You don’t want to deal with roadside assistance or emergency mechanical repair which can be especially pricey during holiday weekends. Keep a spare tire, jack, jumper cables and other maintenance essentials in your vehicle. If you’re traveling in a cooler part of the country, pack blankets, flashlights, candles and matches just in case you find yourself stuck on the road during a storm. Top off windshield wiper fluid, and also be sure your windshield wipers are in good condition.Start Early
2. Leave home early for holiday travel
to avoid heavy holiday traffic. Tired or tipsy drivers are often on the road late into the evening. If possible, try to avoid driving on the weekends; if you must, get an early start!
3. Avoid the heaviest travel days.
The heaviest travel days are December 23 and January 1st.
4. Plan Ahead
Even if you’re familiar with the specific directions, having alternative routes ready will reduce the stress of changing course if weather or heavy traffic slows you down.
*** Be sure to download the WAZE APP before you go. It’s a navigation app that shows you where the jams, accidents and police are located and offers alternative routes. It’s community based and has saved us time and stress during high traffic travel times.
5. Reduce Fuel Costs
Properly inflated tires provide better fuel efficiency so check the pressure before heading out. You should consider filling up at your local warehouse club (Costco or Sam’s Club) where gas prices are 10 to 30-percent cheaper. If you’ve racked up a bunch of grocery rewards, find out if the supermarket has partnered up with a gas station as many allow you to redeem those points for money off your fuel purchase. Safeway provides shoppers with the opportunity to save up to $1 off the price per gallon at Exxon or Mobil.
6. Save the Food for the Table
Packing your own snacks and bottled water is a great cost-cutting measure. Carb-heavy road trip snacks can lead to drowsiness, which you definitely don’t want. Consider energizing snacks as tangerines, beef jerky, baby carrots, assorted nuts and maybe even pumpkin seeds (keepin’ it festive!). These snacks will keep you satisfied and alert for your trip home. Avoid dehydration and the cost of bottled water. Fill your water bottles as home and from drinking fountains along the way.
7. Don’t Overuse Your Data
Accessing maps, reading reviews and sharing photos on social media can drain your data plan and battery life. Download maps from your home or hotel WiFi so you have them on the road, and enable your WiFi locator so you can find free connections en route.
Also, don’t forget your charger — this should be on the top of your packing list!
8. Call Your Bank and Credit Card Company
Last year’s infamous data breach at Target caused banks and credit card companies to lose millions of dollars. With hacking at an all-time high, these organizations have ramped up fraud protection services to keep your personal data safe and ensure your money stays put. This means they’re watching for irregular activity, so make sure you give your bank and credit card companies a heads up about your travel plans. Otherwise, a fraud alert may limit access to your funds and leave you in a precarious position while traveling. Keep cash handy, too, in case of emergencies.