Winter weather travel tips

The ‘polar vortex’ is sweeping most of the nation this week.  Even here in Texas we are seeing snow and temperatures in the twenties and teens. 1-6-15-1 Luckily I’m not traveling this week during the extreme cold, but with the holidays behind us I know many of you are back in the saddle.    Traveling during the cold weather season is much different from the other seasons.  Carry-ons get heavier, flight cancellations spike, and getting from one place to another seems to always take longer.  Here are some things to consider when traveling during winter weather. 

Wear layers. Two thin layers are just as warm but take up way less space than something thick. That being said, you will still likely need heavier clothing than other seasons so be prepared for a heavier carry-on. For more packing advice, check out my post about surviving a winter business trip.

Bring a good coat and plan to carry it on.  I have two winter coats—a wool one (see here) and a puffy one (see here). The wool one is usually enough until it starts snowing or get below twenty. For really cold temps I always bring my puffy coat. If you can squeeze it into your suitcase, great, but chances are you will have to carry it on. Etiquette tip: Either put your coat on top of your suitcase or wait until everyone has put their bags in the overhead bin before putting your jacket up there.

Plan for extra drive time.  Wintry precipitation can lead to lots of traffic delays. Pad your schedule a bit so you won’t stress if your commute takes extra time.

Have a plan B in case your flight is canceled or delayed. Delays and cancellations are inevitable this time of year. Make sure you have a back-up plan in case you can’t get to your destination as scheduled.

Prepare time for defrost.  Consider bringing an ice scraper—most rental car companies have them but not always! Make sure the thick layer of ice on top of your car is removed after defrosting so it doesn’t fly off your car while you drive.  (Here are more tips for scraping ice off your car from Popular Mechanics.)

Readers, what do you think is important to remember during winter business travel?

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  1. Most business travelers carry on, but it is even more important in winter. The chances are that most delays cancellations are weather related, which means that the airlines aren’t responsible for food/lodging. If you do need to stay overnight it is good that you have your stuff with you in the carry on. The airlines won’t uncheck your bag for you to access your pajamas.

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