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Planning a winter weather vacation

Date posted:  11/9/16 10:00:00 AM Keep the family safe while traveling this winter.

For families, the winter months can be a great time for travel. Your children probably have an extended holiday from school, and everyone can use a break from the cold and snowy weather. If you are interested in planning a winter vacation, follow these simple tips:

Be flexible with travel
The colder months tend to have the most difficult traveling conditions. According to Independent Traveler, flight delays and other weather-related problems can lead to substantial issues.

Ensure you have extra money saved for a hotel, food and alternative travel expenses. If you are planning to fly, stick to nonstop flights to avoid being stuck in a connecting city without a place to stay. Even if you have saved money for an unexpected situation like this, actually finding an available room may be difficult if other travelers are stuck in a similar situation.

The U.S. Department of Transportation suggested booking the earliest flights available as the chances of a delay or cancellation are far slimmer than an afternoon or evening flight. In addition, you have a better chance of finding a seat on another plane within the same day.

Drive safely and be smart
If you and your family plan to drive to your destination, you will want to be safe when hitting the road. Ice, snow and rain may lead to dangerous situations, so driving carefully and knowing when it's time to pull over will keep you and your loved ones safe.

Bring your car into a trusted mechanic to have your vehicle checked over for overall winter-readiness. Invest in new tires if your current ones are worn.

Before you hit the road, stash an emergency kit in the trunk in case you find yourself in a ditch or are stranded due to extreme weather conditions. Your kit should include:

  • Extra coats
  • Blankets
  • Road flares
  • Food
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries

When driving in icy conditions, err on the side of caution. Driving a little slower and arriving to your destination a little late is always better than potentially having an accident.

"See and be seen. Keep your headlights and taillights clean, especially in stormy weather," noted Montana snowplow drivers, according to the Independent Traveler. "Keep windows clean and make sure defrosters work well. If snow has built up on your vehicle overnight or after a break from driving, clear it away so it doesn't blow off and obscure your windows."

Stay hydrated and apply sunscreen no matter the temperature
Whether you are enjoying a skiing trip in Colorado, or soaking up the sun in Cancun, it is critical to apply sunscreen, noted the American Academy of Dermatology. You also can't forget about consuming water. When your body regulates its temperature, water serves as the primary fuel for this function.

You likely remember to drink large quantities of water when it's hot outside, but when you're cold, you tend to forget to drink water. Avoid dehydration as it may lead to hypothermia in the cold and heat stroke in warmer climates.

Protect your exposed skin from sun damage by regularly applying sun screen. You may also want to invest in eye protection for the whole family. Make sure everyone has a pair of shades to slide on when you head outdoors.

Traveling during the winter requires some planning, just like any other vacation. By following a few tips, you can ensure a successful and fun vacation with the whole family.