Winter travel is undoubtedly a challenge. Not only do you have to adjust for the weather, businesses’ seasonal schedules, and your own schedule, but you have to contend with unexpected weather changes that can thwart your plans.
Whether you’re visiting a vibrant city like Chicago or are heading somewhere warmer for your winter vacation, preparation is a key. Read our tips below to make the most of your wintertime travels.
1. Leave Early – Every time
Leaving early is a must in all travel situations. If you’re leaving for the airport, you’re probably already paying attention to the weather forecast. With inclement weather on the radar, you’ll want to add in extra time to ensure that any delays don’t cause you to miss your flight.
For road trips, inclement weather and wintery road conditions mean slower driving speeds. Add in an extra cushion of time to arrive at your destination safely and promptly.
2. Stay Up-to-Date on Flight
Few things are as frustrating as rushing to get to the airport, only to find that your flight has been canceled. Don’t waste any time by keeping track of your flights, especially during tricky winter weather.
Stay up-to-date on flight times, delays, and cancellations by downloading a handy smartphone app. FlightAware, GateGuru, and FlightBoard are some of our favorites. Or, you could download your airline’s app. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to get your flight information in real time.
3. Get There Safely
Another important part of safe travels during the winter is using means of transportation that increase your safety. Icy and snowy road conditions add a slew of dangers to travel, especially when you’re driving in an unfamiliar area.
If you’re taking a trip to a city with traditionally challenging winters, like Chicago, it might be beneficial to hire someone else to handle your transportation throughout your trip. A Chicago car service like OML Worldwide can provide you with a vehicle that is up to snuff with winter safety and a chauffeur that has experience driving in local weather conditions.
You won’t have to worry about navigation in an unfamiliar city or operating a vehicle that may or may not be ready for the harsh conditions.
4. Check Availability and Openings
Another source of disappointment for winter travelers is reaching your destination city only to find out that the sites and attractions on your itinerary are closed for the winter season. If you’re visiting Chicago in particular, check websites for winter hours to save you time and frustration.
5. Get the Best Hotel Possible
When it’s cold outside, it’s imperative that you book a hotel that’s conveniently located near the things you want to see and do, as walking long distances is surely not on your agenda. Consider whether or not the hotel you’ve booked has the amenities you’ll need, including any winter weather services like a concierge, laundry, a business center or gym. Having things close by beats having to venture out into the cold.
As you plan your winter vacation or business trip, it’s important to take inclement weather into consideration. As many Chicagoans know, preparation during this time of year is essential. Once you’ve prepared for the weather, all that’s left to do is enjoy yourself.
*Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2015. However, it has since been updated to reflect the most accurate information.