While laws can vary by state, I have tried to draft these tips with a general goal of safety and convenience in mind. And yes, even though I’ve labeled these as “Holiday Travel Tips” they certainly are practical for year round trips. Now, let’s get it on:
- Buckle Up! – Get everyone into seat belts properly. Here is a great guide to know if your child is in the right seat. Also, see my blawg post here.
- Carry Insurance! – Confirm that your valid (unexpired) proof of insurance and vehicle registration are easily accessible in the vehicle.
- Hang Up! – Let your co-pilot do the talking and navigation. Put down the cell phone and drive. If you must talk and drive, use a hands-free device or speaker mode.
- Pack Tools! – Flashlight, de-icer, window scrapper, etc. to keep your views as clear as possible.
- Wipers ON = Headlights ON! – In some states, it is the law. I prefer to keep my driving lights or headlights always on.
- Pack The Car Carefully! – Remember to pack with the most visibility out the sides and back windows, and in a manner that items won’t shift during the trip.
- Rest Up and Don’t Push It! – Commercial drivers must follow strict driving-resting rules. Do the same. Drowsy driving is dangerous to everyone on the road.
- Arrive Early! – Get there early, especially when checking baggage, as some airlines have a cutoff to getting bags checked before takeoff.
- Use PreCheck! – Hopefully you are already signed up for TSA’s PreCheck, via Global Entry or otherwise, to expedite your visit with the TSA officers.
- Follow The Rules! – Know and follow the rules before getting to the airport. What is that 3-1-1 rule again? What must I declare? What about my pet? Find all your answers here.
- Hold Your Mail! – Whether you’re going out of town for a couple days or months, take advantage of the U.S. Postal Service’s FREE mail hold option. I prefer to swing by my local post office after returning to end the hold and pick up my mail.
- Copy Your Cards! – Lay your credit cards, debit cards, ID(s), passport, etc. out on your scanner or copier to create a record of them. Either keep a hard copy with you (separate from your wallet/purse, obviously) and/or email yourself a copy. Should misfortune strike (for example, see here), you’ll be all set with phone numbers to call and numbers to reference.
Overall, be patient and courtesy, especially to law enforcement, TSA, airline employees, and others working over the holidays to make your travel plans happen. A SMILE and an “I appreciate all your help and hope the rest of your day goes well!” can be some of the best gratitude paid to those with the name-tags.
Travel Safely and Happy Holidays!