Christmas is one of the busiest travel periods of the year, making it also one of the most dangerous. According to the National Safety Council, an average of 343 people are involved in traffic-related deaths each year during the three-day Christmas holiday period.
1. Check flights, traffic, weather, and routes before leaving
Anticipate busy roads if traveling by car and be prepared for busy airports if taking a flight. For extra convenience, make use of apps that can help you monitor weather and flights, track traffic, and provide alternate routes. Many of these apps can be configured to send you automatic notifications. One site to track flight status is FlightAware. Just being aware of the risks of holiday travel can make your trip safer.
Ensure that these apps are updated before you go—you never know whether WiFi will be available. Examples of most downloaded apps are Google Maps and Accuweather. Waze can track changes in road conditions and traffic patterns.
2. An extra phone or mobile charger should be part of your travel essentials
Speaking of apps, ensure that you enjoy technology and connectivity without the risk of running out of phone battery. Have an extra battery pack or power bank in your bag. Just don’t forget to charge it before leaving home.
Having a working phone means you’re able to get roadside assistance if needed or update loved ones about your location. Bring extra charging cables and adapters in case they get lost or become damaged during travel. They are also handy in case your companions forget to bring theirs. Don’t forget a 12-volt charger in case the vehicle you’re traveling in doesn’t have USB ports or one of those fancy wireless charging pads.
3. Always carry emergency supplies and items to meet weather conditions
Keep emergency medical information accessible to responders. “If you have any health problems during your trip, a medical alert ID is a simple and effective way to let people know about a pre-existing medical condition. 95% of emergency responders check for medical identification around the neck or wrist. Wearing a medical ID can play a vital role in saving someone’s life," says Rick Russell, founder and CEO of American Medical ID.
5. Carry enough medications and supplies to last your holiday trip
According to Cleveland Clinic, some patients don’t bother taking their medications on short trips during the holidays. This can be disastrous for a person with diabetes or high blood pressure and can even send them to the hospital with hyperglycemia or shortness of breath. You may think that you are only going on a short trip, but what if that gets extended and you are unprepared?
Different climates and environments can also increase exposure to potential allergens, so don't forget to pack allergy meds in case you experience allergy symptoms.
5. Avoid stress and accidents by keeping all essentials such as your wallet, phone, medications, charger, and documents like plane tickets or insurance forms together and accessible in one place
Using pouches or a purse organizer can keep your essentials orderly. This will save you time when reaching for items that you need and help avoid the disaster of misplaced or lost items. Forgetting something important, like medication or a medical device, can put a damper on your holiday travel experience.
For bigger bags or luggage, packing cubes can help you better organize belongings by compressing your clothes as you pack them.
Holiday travel does not have to be stressful and dangerous. With a little careful planning and preparation, these tips should hopefully help you enjoy the holidays with peace of mind.