Weathering winter travel during the holidays
“If it is not a life safety issue, stay off the roads,” VDOT says, noting that about 70 percent of deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles.
“If you set out with no preparation and no flexibility to be delayed,” says Martha Mitchell Meade with the AAA Mid Atlantic travel organization, “you’re setting yourself up for preventable frustration.”
Winter is harder on cars: hoses crack, belts will break and batteries die, she notes. When the temperature hits 0 degrees, a car’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength, at the same time engines need twice the power to star insanity workout t, AAA says, recommending that you have your battery checked if it’s more than 2 years old.
Cars can be targets for thieves: Put valuables underneath your seats, the Virginia State Police reminds travelers.
If your car breaks down, the agency advises, turn on the flashers, lock your doors and get as far off the road as you can. Call 77 for police assistance.
“To me, it’s time more than anything else,” said Richmond International Airport spokesman Troy Bell. “It’s critical around the holidays to allow enough time” to make your flight without elevating your blood pressure.
“There’s no way you can show up at this airport during the busy holiday period less than an hour before your flight and expect you can get through.”
Arrive at the airport or bus station at least two hours before your scheduled departure time, officials recommend.
Amtrak passengers should arrive 45 minutes early if they’re departing from a busy train station or if they need to pick up their ticket there, said Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole. Otherwise, he said, 20 30 minutes should be plenty of leeway.
Large hub airports offer more opportunity to rebook, and flights booked on larger aircraft are less likely to be canceled when weather limits the number of flights an airport can handle, he said.
“Don’t be tempted by that great flight to Chicago that has a 45 minute layover,” said travel agent Karen Kilyk with Covington International Travel. Such a short layover time invites missing your connecting flight, she says.
Hoffer said, “If the weather’s bad, stick close to your cellphone. The airlines anticipate bad weather and will give you opportunity to leave early.”
Carry on bags should contain what you’re going to need over the next day, Bell said: cash, prescription medicines, jewelry, and personal electronic devices such as your laptop and cellphone.
Buy travel insurance, Kilyk recommends.
“It often can cover or reimburse you for unexpected expenses,” says AAA’s Meade, “including lost or stolen luggage, trip cancellation, emergency medical needs and missed flight connections.”
Dress for air travel success, RIC airport advises: Before heading to the airport, empty your pockets of loose change, wear minimal jewelry, and avoid wearing a belt so you have fewer items to remove for the metal detector at insanity workout the TSA security checkpoint. Wear shoes that are easy to slip off and on.
If you’re bringing holiday gifts with you, don’t wrap them. TSA screening will just have to unwrap them. Better yet, send them through a parcel service like UPS or FedEx.
Limit your carry on baggage. Airlines generally allow passengers to carry on the plane one bag that fits under the seat or in the overhead bin, and one personal item, such as a purse or briefcase.
Amtrak’s passenger trains can be a better bet than air or highway travel in the winter. “Unless it’s extremely heavy snow or ice, Amtrak will generally come through,” Hoffer said.
While Amtrak travelers don’t have to go through security screening like airline passengers, the public passenger rail service does have security requirements. For instance, Amtrak customers 18 and older must have valid photo IDs when they do ticket transactions or check baggage.
Carry on baggage is limited to two pieces per passenger, with few exceptions, Amtrak says, while checked baggage service is available on some services. And on most Amtrak trains, seating is first come, first served.
While the passenger rail service set a ridership record for its Thanksgiving week ridersh insanity workout ip, Cole said, “we certainly do have availability for travel” for the winter holidays. “We’re still not sold out around Christmas.”
When that happens, not all tickets on Greyhound are refundable, Lines Inc. spokesman Timothy Stokes says, but the bus company has the capacity to add additional buses to overbooked routes or if buses are delayed.
Meanwhile, low cost Megabus offers refunds for cancellations only for reasons wholly within its control. M insanity workout egabus also doesn’t have terminal buildings though its on street stops are frequently located next to public transportation centers like Main Street Station in Richmond so you’ll be waiting and boarding outside. Bundle up and remember to bring a raincoat or umbrella.
Like the airline industry, Megabus sells seats by reservation and won’t give you a refund or credit if you miss your bus. Customers have to be at the Megabus stop at least 15 minutes before their bus is scheduled to leave.
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