The week between Christmas and New Years is a perfect time for traveling and vacations. Kids have the week off, college students are home, and the holidays are a fun chance to use up your vacation time. Traveling away from home during the holiday week isn’t anything new and it’s just one more way people celebrate and take the time to spend some quality time doing just about anything.
Advance planning can make the difference between a relaxing and enjoyable trip, or one filled with the stress of last-minute travel arrangements.
Winter travel in the northern part of the country can be hazardous, and despite great advances, winter weather can descend on virtually any part of the country when you least expect it. Pay attention to weather reports and remember that finding a motel or hotel to escape a winter storm can be difficult during the Christmas holidays.
If you’re traveling by RV and don’t usually use it in the winter, remember that cold temperatures can freeze the plumbing. Fill your propane tanks and perform required maintenance on your RV generator before you leave to ensure electric and gas heaters keep running.
Keep warm blankets, extra caps, and mittens in your vehicle. A three-wick candle can supply a surprising amount of heat and raise the temperature in the car in case of emergency. If you become stranded, conserve fuel by only running the car as necessary to warm up―keep two windows open an inch while running the engine. Pack a kit that includes your candles, matches, a lighter, and chocolate bars in advance, and keep it easily accessible.
Airports are busy places for any holiday, and Christmas is one of the busiest. Verify flight information and itineraries, and plan for additional time in busy airports. If you have to travel with a lot of luggage or packages, consider advance shipping. It can save money and time, and eliminates the hassle of checking bags and retrieving luggage―not to mention worries over lost baggage.
Anytime you’re leaving for an extended period like a Christmas vacation, take steps to avoid disasters that can happen at any time, but might be much worse if you’re not home.
Turn off the faucets connected to your washing machine. A burst hose could flood your home in no time at all. Set the hot water heater to vacation mode at the same time you turn your thermostat down. Stop the mail and any newspapers.
Let a neighbor know you’re going to be gone for the week; if they might notice suspicious activity they can call the police. Ask a friend or relative to drive by your house occasionally. Use timers to turn lights on and off.
A dried out Christmas Tree is an invitation for fire. Use a continuous watering system that will keep your tree watered for a week or more. Outdoor lights set on timers are another deterrent against thieves because they keep the outside of the house lit.
Before you leave, have your standby generator serviced. When you’re away for vacation, the last thing you want to worry about is your pipes are freezing or basement flooding because an ice storm downed power lines and cut off the power for days. With remote access, you can monitor the generator and know your home is safe and secure, even though you’re enjoying a warm ocean beach or navigating a mogul field on the ski slopes.