Every season brings its own charm and gives you special reasons to pull out your Road Trip Planner and Winter is no exception. Going on a Winter Road Trip can be a great experience, especially if you also have a Plan B for winter contingencies.
Ironically, Winter Travel is a good time to learn how to “go with the flow”. Even though you may have to do some extra Road Trip Planning to have the extras on hand before you embark on the trip, bumper-to-bumper traffic may require you to “stop and smell the roses”, even if those roses are stowed in the trunk of your car. If you’re a couple, this is a nice time to pull out a CD & simply kick back & enjoy the music. If you’re a family, pull out those car games, watch a DVD together, or simply start a round robin joke-a-thon. Keeping everyone comfortable and in good spirits will be the order of the day, but if you've planned for such things, it can actually be a fun time, albeit cramped.
While you’re doing your road trip planning, pay extra attention to towns or cities near roads you think may pose traffic delays or closures. Add activities to your itinerary that could keep you and your passengers occupied if delayed for more than four hours. That way, you can pull off and go shopping, take in a movie, enjoy a long lunch or early dinner, or stroll through a museum. Add a couple of nearby hotels to the unscheduled section of your road trip planner just so you’ll have the information on hand should the traffic delay be more than 8 hours.
Road Trip Planning Safety Tips
- If you are traveling with your family by car, get your vehicle inspected and check the weather conditions immediately before the trip.
- Cancel the trip if you are traveling to winter destinations and the weather forecast predicts a snowstorm.
- Some roads are not recommended unless you have a 4x4 vehicle.
- Carry snow chains & battery cables at all times
- Include a Delay of Game kit filled with extra snacks, car games, energy drinks, surprise DVDs & blankets (if you don't end up needing them for the trip up, you can enjoy the contents on the trip home).
- Stow an emergency kit in your trunk containing batteries, blankets, a collapsible shovel, flashlights, food, gloves, an ice scraper, rubber boots, ski caps, and water for those times when you may be stuck in your car for 8 hours or more.
- Always keep your gas tank topped off. Do not drive that last quarter tank assuming you will get to the next service station.
The above precautions aside, Winter Road Trips are fun! Just getting to the destination on your road trip planner is more exciting because snow transforms the landscape. Snow-laden cabins take on a mysterious hue. Ice caves form along river banks and dance with blue/white sparkles. You drive slower so everyone can catch glimpses of interesting niches, and icicles forming on rocky precipices, maybe even catch the wind brushing snow off tree branches in a miniature snow flurries.
And once you get to your destination, there's toasty fireplaces, snow boots creating puddles by the front door, and steaming mugs of hot chocolate. And the activities! Sledding, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, sleigh rides! Let's not forget snow angels and impromptu snowball fights (the best kind of fighting, with pillow fights coming in a close second :o).
So what are some prime Winter Road Trip Destinations? Here are some to get you started on your Road Trip Planning.
For the White Winter Wonderland Experience:
- Alaska Experience with All Alaska Tours (this Road Trip can give you the Winter touch even in the Spring)
- Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario
- Banff & Jasper National Parks in Canada
- Lake Tahoe in California & on the Nevada side
- Mount Rainier in Washington
- Pigeon Forge Winterfest in Tennessee
- Salt Lake City in Utah
Winter does not always mean knee-deep in Snow: Here are some grand Winter Road Trips where you’ll be hard-put to find snow (other than possibly some frosting atop distant mountains).
- Sedona Arizona - Red rocks, jeep tours, hot air balloon tours, shopping, spas, dining, festivals...great for a couple needing some time away from the kids.
- Las Vegas , Nevada – Vegas isn’t just about gambling & night-life, though it certainly carries both in abundance. Vegas offers winter visitors a plethora of daytime activities to enjoy.
- Virginia Beach, Virginia - Go whale watching.
Winter getaways offer experiences you won’t get any other time of the year so make sure you utilize your Road Trip Planner to maximize your Winter fun!