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Winter Travel Tips

Winter Travel Tips
Allianz - Winter Travel Tips

Consider this your warm welcome to winter travel season.

‘Tis the season made for cold weather warriors, when we’re sharing the road with snowplows and salt trucks, escaping our local tundra on the way to ski slopes and cabins in the woods.

There is no reason to fear winter travel if you pack a little travel savvy. Don’t worry, even as new challenges present themselves like Double Diamond ski slopes seen through fogged up goggles, we’ve got the tips, sound advice, and hacks to ensure you have a safe and smooth trip.

Travel Tip #1 – Avoid the Winter Travel Blues with Travel Insurance

Make no mistake, travel turmoil can happen in any season, but winter is famous for delaying trains, sidelining cars, and upping the stress quotient.

That’s where our trusty companion comes in: travel insurance. A travel insurance plan from Allianz Global Assistance can help with trip cancellation before you pack your bags — or roadblocks and speed bumps down the line of your itinerary, from damaged rental cars to lost baggage. It also delivers peace of mind that pre-paid, nonrefundable expenses you’ve shelled out for can be reimbursed depending on your insurance plan details. Best of all, Allianz Global Assistance offers a full range of plan options. You can choose a travel insurance plan that matches your needs, whether you’re seeking year-long protection with AllTrips Prime or simply looking to safeguard your annual winter getaway with OneTrip Basic.

Travel Tip #2 - Rent a Car Fit for Your Trip

As more travelers warm up to the idea of taking road trips this season, they’re also realizing that their personal vehicle might not be the most ideal sleigh to head over the river and through the woods aboard. Maybe you have a lil’ hatchback that comfortably fits three — and you need to fit four, all the luggage, and gifts across snow and ice. Perhaps your conversion van has the space you need, but gets worse gas mileage than your lawn mower. Or you’re just concerned about the depreciation, as well as the wear and tear that comes with putting lots of miles on your “baby.” Whatever the reason, renting a car is way to find the right ride to match your trip (We list these and more reasons to rent right here).1

If you choose to pair a rental car with an insurance policy to avoid impacting your own rates in the event of a slip-up down the highway — because why wouldn’t you — Allianz Global Assistance’s Rental Car Damage Protector packs all the benefits you need at a price that won’t dent your wallet.

Travel Tip #3 - Consider Renting Gear, Too

If you’ve invested in ski or snowboard equipment, you probably want to take it with you on your trip to the slopes. Before you depart with gear in tow, however, be sure to check your trunk space. If you’re traveling with your family, storing everyone’s gear may be impossible. And do you really want to rent a trailer or skimp on packing long underwear when battling Old Man Winter? Do a little bit of math to figure out how much it costs to rent to your gear at the resort. Another bonus: If you’re in the neighborhood for new winter sports equipment, use renting as an opportunity to test drive new skis or a snowboard.

Travel Tip #4 - Follow the App (Not Your Gut)

Driving apps can perform all sorts of handy functions: showing you the estimated time to reaching your destination, revealing all the accidents and slow-downs along the way, and pointing you toward a detour that puts you back on track. Whether you choose Waze, Google Maps, or your own favorite app, be sure to get connected before hitting the road — because you don’t need to be in a white-out to be driving blind.

Travel Tip #5 - Stay in the Know

The laws of the road aren’t the only rules you know to abide over the winter driving season. There’s also guidance from the CDC, as well as state restrictions you need to follow. Before loading up your car or even finalizing your itinerary, be sure to see what steps you need to take to lawfully visit family and friends — as well as to return home (and if it’s even allowed). Of course, this isn’t always about what you can do, but what you should do — be sure you let common sense be your compass.

Travel Tip #6 - Practice Wellness

You don’t need another reminder to wash your hands or to pack hand sanitizer in your pocket. But there are a few other steps you can take to remain healthy on the road this winter. Many experienced travelers take supplements (think Vitamin C, Vitamin B and probiotics) that provide a boost to the immune system. You can even take it one step further by getting your flu shot before your trip.

Travel Tip #7 - Take Breaks

During winter travel, sometimes we get so carried away with making “good time” that we forget to take care of ourselves. Plan ahead and include time for frequent rest stops so that you can stay hydrated and stretch your legs as often as possible. As a bonus, physical activity and proper hydration will help you stay alert, which is a must when traveling through winter weather conditions and heavy traffic. Google Maps now has a function (or “layer”) that helps you steer clear of COVID-19 hotspots. Let it guide your decisions about where to stop for gas, snacks, and more.2

Travel Tip #8 - Make Space

Six feet. 10 feet. A mile. Whether we’re abiding by health agency guidelines or the stricter boundaries set by your own comfort zone, do your best to avoid crowds this winter. If you need to stay in a hotel, consider choices that allow you to enter and exit your room without walking through common areas. Consider packing snacks instead of stopping at markets and restaurants. Google Maps has yet another function to help in this effort: live crowdedness information to help you stick to the more sparsely populated areas.2

Travel Tip #9 - Inspect Your Car

It’s always a good idea to give your car an extra once over before you hit the road. At the minimum, check your tire pressure, oil levels, and fill up the gas. Even better? Take it to your local mechanic or dealer for a check-up to make sure everything is up to safety standards and working correctly.

Travel Tip #10 - Drive Safe

If you’ll be driving through snowy or icy climates, use common sense. As a reminder, 4-wheel drive vehicles won't stop any better in icy conditions than front or rear-wheel drive vehicles. Investing in a tire traction system can help offer additional peace of mind. It’s also a good idea to prepare a safety kit for your car in case of a delay or emergency. The kit should include blankets, water, a flashlight, scraper, shovel, lock deicer, nutrition bars or candy — plus anything else your specific group would need if you got unexpectedly delayed. You can even pack kitty litter, which can help your tires gain traction if you get stuck in the snow.

One last tip: if you’re taking toll roads, and don’t have a transponder such as E-ZPass, research whether you’ll need exact change or you’ll simply receive a few toll bills in the mail down the road. Those attendants who typically make change for you? Well, those lanes have pretty much closed. You might even get lucky and learn that the toll roads on your route are free to drive on this winter — providing an extra little jingle in your pocket.

Winter travel can understandably cause a little apprehension even for the savviest of travelers — and this year’s extra obstacles mean even more preparation is needed. With these tips, and finding the right travel insurance plan, you can pack up and bundle up confident you’ll be traveling safely and soundly.

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