Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer
December 20, 2011 — Whether you're driving to visit relatives or flying to another country, The Weather Network and the CAA have travel tips for you this holiday season.
When it comes to travelling, there are few times as busy as the holiday season.
Roads are jammed and airport line-ups are long. Combine that with some messy weather conditions, and you could be looking at some delays in the coming weeks.
Silvana Aceto is a spokesperson for the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). She says travellers need to plan ahead and be prepared more than ever.
“We are all trying to get somewhere and it may take you a little longer to get where you're going,” Aceto says. “Whether it's weather-related, or it's just busier because it's the time of year where everyone is on the roads, take your time, and be patient.”
Travelling on the roadways in late December and early January means there's a risk of facing wintery weather conditions. The CAA says motorists need to keep that in mind.
“We remind drivers to drive according to the road conditions. Depending on where you're driving, there can be snowstorms and you really want to pay attention to the road conditions,” explains Aceto. “Slow down and be prepared. Plan ahead and make sure that you leave yourself that extra travel time to get to where you're going quickly so you're no rushing around.”
Aceto says drivers should make sure their vehicles have an emergency kit, a snow brush, and ice scraper, as well as extra windshield washer fluid, blankets and extra clothes. “Just in case you do get stuck and are waiting for help,” she says.
For those who are planning on travelling by air over the holidays, the CAA has some tips, as well.
“You want to make sure that you check your airline's policy when it comes to carry-on luggage and fees,” Aceto says. “You also want to make sure that you pack appropriately and take what you need. Ensure that you have your necessary travel documents with you.”
Since many Canadians will be flying over Christmas, Aceto says it is a good idea to wrap gifts once you arrive at your destination, as opposed to beforehand. She also recommends checking in online if you can and printing your boarding pass at home.
“We do expect that the airlines and airports will be quite busy,” says Aceto. “There will be long line-ups, so be sure that you give yourself extra time to arrive early and be patient.”
LEAVING YOUR HOME SECURE
If you're going to be travelling over the holidays, it is important that you ensure that your home is safe and secure.
Aceto says you should make sure your house looks “lived in.”
“Cancel your newspaper subscription. Ask a neighbour if they can come pick up your mail. Maybe that same neighbour can park in your driveway,” she says. “If you don't already have motion-detector lights outside try to put those in, or use timer lights on the inside. If you can, invest in a home alarm system.”
The CAA also recommends limiting the number of people you tell that you are leaving your home. That includes keeping travel plans out of social media.
“People are on Facebook and Twitter and they tend to get excited and tell everyone,” explains Aceto. “You may want to refrain from doing that because you're broadcasting to everyone that you're going to be away and, sometimes, for how long you're going to be away, as well.”
For more on how to best be prepared this holiday season, check The Weather Network's Christmas Day Forecast.