Car Travel Tips for Winter Road Trips

Winter road trips are different. It is a very different ballgame from any other season. With the right travel tools, car travel tips and preparation it can be enjoyable, fun and most importantly, safe.

Here are five car travel tips for winter road trips that can help you travel with ease:

One: How to get there and how long
Travelmath’s distance and driving time calculators are your best tools to find out how long you need to drive from Point A to Point B. It will also show you a general map on how to get there.

For example, your driving time from Mobile Alabama to Chicago Illinois is 14 hours 20 minutes. You will find a map of driving directions on the same page showing you a general route through Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana.

Map your driving route and create a plan for your road trip with the calculators.

Two: Stopping points enroute
If you hate driving in the dark or can’t drive for a long time, knowing your stopping points are essential. During the winter holiday season, the days are short and hotels may be fully booked.

Plan out your stopping points in advance. Using Travelmath’s stopping points calculator, we find out the following suggested stopping points:

Stopping Point #1 - Birmingham AL – 260 miles, 4 hours drive
Stopping Point #2 - Nashville, TN – 190 miles, 3 hours drive
Stopping Point #3 – Indianapolis, IN – 290 miles, 4.5 hours drive
Stopping Point #4- Chicago, IL – 180 miles, 3 hours drive

You may want to plan your hotel reservations and meal stops using these stopping points as your guide.

Having a planned itinerary with travel routes and stopping points is a great way to let friends and family know where you are each day. It is particularly important if you are driving in remote areas, mountainous routes and places away from cities. In some areas you may lose mobile phone signal even if you have the best devices.

Three:  Stock up
Stock your vehicle with plenty of drinking water, proteins bars and snacks. Bring a first aid kit with all the essentials needed for aches and pains. If you are traveling with older parents or grandparents remember to bring their medication and nutritional supplements.

Families who travel with pets may need to think about food and litter boxes.

If you are traveling with different electronic devices you may want to invest in a good external battery or a backpack that charges your devices. Tylt’s Energi+ backpack comes with rechargeable battery system. You can charge your smartphone, iPad or a laptop. Mashable has a cool article on bags and backpacks called 6 Bags That Charge Your Devices While You Travel.

Take time to assemble your vehicle with an ice scraper, jumper cables, flashlight, blankets and shovel. Of course you will not need all of these if you are traveling in the southern region of the United States.

Four: Vehicle check up
To be safe, get your vehicle checked by a professional mechanic. Make sure your windshield wipers are working well, lights, tires, brakes and engine are functioning properly.

Please read 7 Ways to Prepare for a Thanksgiving Road Trip for more tips on vehicle check up.

Five: Study the weather patterns
The road systems in America are made for traveling safely and are equipped with call in numbers like 911 or 511.

According to the US Department of Transportation, 511 is one easy-to-remember number that gives travelers’ choices – choice of time, choice of mode of transportation, choice of route – which saves lives, time and money.

For example the Alaska Department of Transportation’s 511 Traveler’s Information provides alerts, driving conditions, weather cameras, weather watches in conjunction with the National Weather Service for up to date weather information.

Before leaving on your road trip, check the National Weather Service website for weather patterns, watches and warnings.

It’s time to start planning your winter road trips and using the car travel tips. Let us know if you have any car travel tips for winter road trips below.

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