During the winter, it can sometimes feel like storms, blizzards, and more bad weather just keeps coming, affecting our travel plans and driving us mad with boredom. Blizzard conditions could sometimes drop about a foot or more of snow in the Northeastern states — which doesn’t sound that extreme until you factor in 65-mile-per-hour wind gusts that are simultaneously blowing. Understandably, if you have travel plans to get out of the cold, stormy weather and are scrambling to stay ahead of the storm, there are steps you can take to mitigate the stress. Here are a few essential tips to help you trudge through the winter weather if you’re planning on flying or driving soon.

If You’re Still at Home, Stay Ahead of Delays

Woman Checking Phone

If the weather gets really bad, your flight could get delayed or canceled. To stay ahead of the game, check your flight details before you leave for the airport. You may even be able to re-book cheap flights or make other plans before everyone on your flight realizes it’s too late. It also pays to check with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Flight Delay Map to find out the average delay times at your affected airports. Travelers on the West Coast should keep checking their flights too, as your plane for that Denver to Los Angeles flight might be delayed coming from the East Coast!

RELATED: Flight Cancelled Due to Weather? Here’s What You Need to Do

If Your Travel Plans are Flexible, Utilize Airline Weather Waivers

Woman Using Laptop

In anticipation of the winter weather, some airlines have already begun issuing weather waivers. Airline travel waivers generally allow you to change your flight without having to fork over a change fee or the difference in airfare with a new flight. Utilizing an airline travel waiver is relatively easy. You should head to the airline’s website first to see if your airport is affected. Next, check to see if your travel dates are included in the waiver. If you meet the qualifications, you can generally change your flight online or call your airline directly. If you don’t absolutely need to travel this weekend, airline travel waivers might be your best option for beating the storm.

If You Have to Drive, Prepare, Go Slow, and Take Main Roads

Woman Driving Car in Winter

If you have to drive in wintry conditions — be prepared! AAA MidAtlantic recommends that you load up your vehicle with a survival kit composed of items like a shovel, blankets, and flashlights. Also, make sure your vehicle is good to go mechanically before hitting the road. As you drive through wintry conditions, slow and steady always wins the race. Icy conditions make even the toughest of SUVs weep. If you have to drive, take main roads as they will most likely be treated and plowed.

If Your Flight is Canceled or Delayed at the Airport, Act Fast!

Flight Cancelled Sign

Everyone and their mother will be trying to get on another flight when the gate agent announces your flight is canceled or delayed. While you can join the masses at the customer service line, it doesn’t hurt to get on the phone with your airline’s reservation number. They can sometimes switch your flight long before you get to the front of the line at the airport. If it looks like you’ll be at the airport for several hours, you might as well treat yourself by purchasing lounge access for the day.

Have you ever traveled during a winter storm? Let us know how the weather has affected your travel plans in the comments below.

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About The Author

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at http://suzyguese.com.