But that’s no reason to hibernate. Some destinations are best experienced when the thermometer dips. There’s no Ice Hotel in July, and forget about seeing the Iditarod in September. But before you head off into the tundra, consider that flying during the winter months can present a whole host of issues that you won’t find when the temperatures soar.
To make sure your winter break lends itself to holiday bragging rights, Air Canada offers these simple tips:
The devil is in the details. When planning your trip, pay as much attention to your flights as you do your final destination and accommodations. Try to book as many nonstop flights as possible, especially if you otherwise might be connecting in winter trouble zones such as Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco. If possible, it might even be worth driving to an airport slightly farther away in order to avoid connecting flights.
Time is on your side. If there’s no way around a connection, then lessen the risk of a cancelled flight or missed connection by allowing ample time between flights and avoiding those airports that are known to have problems in the winter. Also, remember that travel delays have a domino effect, so try to book flights as early in the day as possible.
Check the weather. It goes without saying, but check the forecast. If a storm is anticipated, check with your travel agent or airline and start thinking of a Plan B.
Alert! Alert! Be sure to sign up for travel alerts from your air carrier. That way you’ll be the first to know if your flight (or connection) is delayed or cancelled or if there’s something as simple as a gate change.
Pack right, pack light. Winter clothes have one job—to keep us warm (and hopefully, keep us looking good while keeping us warm), problem is they are bulky. And as awesome as that fuchsia puffer jacket that only goes with one outfit might be, leave it at home. Try packing neutrals and then brightening up the look with accessories. And to keep your suitcase relatively light, consider wearing your bulkiest items on the plane as part of a layered look. That way you have more room for all those gifts, whether given or received.
Carry on, carry near. As always, make sure that any valuables you’re taking with you are stored in your carry-on luggage. This goes double for any medications you might need, as well as power cords and backup power packs. And whatever you do, don’t put your car and house keys in your checked bag—your homecoming might not be as happy as anticipated.
It’s better to give than receive. Don’t bother wrapping those holiday gifts—TSA might just want to take a peek to see if you’ve been naughty or nice.
Documentation is key. Whether traveling as a single parent with your child, or traveling to Norway to see your Great Uncle Knut, make sure you have the right documentation.
They’ve got an app for that. Consider downloading your carrier’s app, as well as other apps designed to make air travel easier. Some provide airport maps, allowing you to search for restaurants, shops and other amenities by terminal.
Book with a travel agent. In the event a problem arises, you can get busy finding the nearest coffee shop or spot for something a little stronger, while your agent does the hard work of getting you rerouted. One call to your agent and rather than standing in a long line for customer service, you can be catching up on those episodes of Empire that you’ve been meaning to watch.