How to safely travel over Christmas

If you’re planning to travel over the holiday season, you’re not alone! The GasBuddy annual Holiday Travel Survey has found that about a third of Americans plan to travel over Christmas weekend (with around a third of those people planning to cross state lines).

That is still quite the dip from previous years, largely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of Americans have plans to stay home! However, if you are one of the roughly 34 percent who are planning on a road trip, keep the following in mind to ensure you have smooth travels:

  • Get your car checked ahead of time. Get that oil changed and those tires checked. And if there’s any work you’ve been putting off, there’s no time like the present! No one wants to spend their holiday on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck.
  • Speaking of your car, stock it up with supplies. This is especially true if you plan on driving anywhere you may encounter snow or ice. Having something like rock salt or kitty litter, along with a rope or chain, on hand can help your car gain traction on ice. If you get stranded somewhere and are unable to turn your car on, a blanket will keep you warm. Emergency flares and a flashlight are always a good idea. If you’re traveling long distances, try to think of what possible issues you may encounter along your route. And keep an eye on the National Weather Service (weather.gov) for information on any potential inclement weather.
  • Download the Google Maps app to check on crowds. One of my favorite features on Google Maps is how it tells you the crowd levels of select businesses. (I can always see if a Target run will be quick or if maybe I should wait a couple of hours!) In the age of COVID-19, this can be a great way to choose which gas station or restaurant will be better to visit when you need to fuel up or grab a meal.
  • Download the app to your preferred gas station. Speaking of apps, you may also want to download one or two specific gas station apps – they often will have deals, or ways you can build up “points” for better pricing. It’s always nice to save some money, especially this time of year.
  • Mask up! If you are traveling during the pandemic, studies have shown even cloth masks have varying levels of efficacy in preventing virus transmission. Not only can you help stop the spread of COVID-19, but this is also a simple way to prevent the usual cold and flu germs that also creep around this time of year. So remember to wear your mask in public places!
  • And if you are sick, stay home. Your loved ones don’t want a contagious illness for the holidays. Whether it’s COVID-19 or the flu or any other contagious disease, just stay home and focus on getting better. Christmas may be only one day out of the year, but you can celebrate the spirit of the holiday anytime!

Some research and a little bit of planning will go a long way in ensuring you have safe travels this holiday season! What’s your best holiday travel tip? Leave it below in the comments!

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