The Safest and Cheapest Ways to Travel This Holiday Season
It is hard to travel during the months of November and December.
Why? Not only is there traffic because of the Holiday season, but the road conditions are less than perfect.
But, this shouldn’t stop you. You can still find some amazing vacation stays during these months.
Sometimes you will receive larger discounts for traveling in the “off-season”.
Making road trip plans for the Holidays may seem like a financial burden for you and your family.
But there is no better time to gather in a car and get to know on another a little better.
You don’t have to stretch your time frame or your wallet to make a great Holiday trip happen.
The best moments are the times with loved ones. So, roll up your sleeves, grab out your map, and plan your next winter adventure now!
Make sure you add that extra car insurance to your already existing plan before you go.
Make sure you have roadside assistance as well.
You may be pleasantly surprised with the winter traveling experience.
Here Is Where To Start
Finding the best cheap car insurance is a great place to start.
Even if you own your car outright and only need to pay for the minimum amount of car insurance, why not feel safer?
For the winter months, try upping your premium for extra coverage.
Many states only require you to have liability car coverage.
In the state of California the minimum car insurance requirement is this:
- Bodily Injury Liability Limits: $30,000 per occurrence and $15,000 per person.
- Property Damage Liability Limits: $5,000 per occurrence.
This may not seem like much. Especially if you are driving your family around on slippery roads.
You may want to add:
- Collision insurance which will cover your own car and expenses when in an accident.
- Comprehensive insurance will cover things such as theft. It will also cover other types of damages to your vehicle.
- Uninsured Motorist coverage will still cover your expenses if the other driver does not carry the proper insurance.
- Roadside Assistance and towing is a must have when traveling this winter. This is one of the least expensive add-on’s. You won’t be sorry you added roadside coverage which may help you if you break down or need a tire changed.
After all is said and done, the best way to travel in winter is to simply be insured.
Holiday Traveling Safety Guide
Another thing to do before heading out on those winter roads, is to do a safety check.
Not just a safety check on your car, but the route that you plan to take.
Have your family involved in this process as well. This could be a great learning experience for everyone.
The Holiday season is a fun one, so maybe make a game out of it for the kids.
A simple safety check on your cars may include this:
- Tire check. Upgrade to winter tires if you are traveling in heavy weather. You should have at least 1/8 inch tire tread before starting our on your journey.
- Carry tire chains on you. You can pick them up at any local tire store. You may run into snow or areas that require chains and it is much cheaper than having authorities put some on for you.
- Knowing what kind of brakes you have on your vehicle is important. Whether you have ABS brakes or standard brakes, get them checked. You can replace brake pads fairly inexpensively as well.
- Have an oil change done in your car before taking off on the road. Be sure to top off all of your fluids including anti-freeze, and steering wheel fluid.
Here is a list of standard items to keep in your car when you are traveling:
- a blanket
- a flashlight (with fresh batteries)
- jumper cables
- Scraper and brush for the winsheild
- a tow rope
- extra bottled water
- a first aid kit
- some extra food such as: chips, granola bars, and dried fruit.
- a cell phone and charger. We usually remember our phone but rarely the charger. Keep an extra one in your glove box just in case
- Last but not least, check that your current registration and insurance papers are in your car. You may want to have copies of the title and drivers licenses as well. You car manual should always stay in your glove box.
Make sure that you have all of the necessary equipment for changing a tire. Even if you carry roadside assistance, you may be far out of reach. Learning to change your own tire may come in handy.
You may not think of a road trip in the winter a great idea.
But if you are already headed out to see family or friends, finding fun things to do as you go, is the perfect way to make your family adventure even more fun.
Here is a list of some of the best places to visit in the winter months.
Since Oregon is the Christmas tree capitol of the world, why not stop by for a visit. It may seen a bit too far to go to pick out your Christmas tree and you may be right. But Oregon is a beautiful place to visit even in the winter. If you are coming from California, head over Grants Pass Oregon and stop on in Ashland. Take the I-5 for this very straight-forward adventure. No need for backroads here. This quaint town is full of antique shops and cool fall weather. Grab a warm cup of Joe and take in all the magic of the Holidays. You are bound to hit rain in Ashland but most likely snow over the Pass back into California.
From the east…
If you are coming from the East, head through the Malhuer National Forest by taking the the 20. Stop in Bend, Oregon for the night. This eastern Oregon town is full of wonderful things to do and stays green most of the year. Known for growing hay and other agriculture, you will feel at peace with the open terrain.
New Mexico in winter is a beautiful sight, especially if you like to ski. Santa Fe Ski Area and the Wolf Creek Ski Area in Pagosa Springs, Colorado is bound to have some snow. Stop in town to gaze at beautiful art and crafts. Have some hot chocolate and tour the adobe town. Then have some family fun at the ski resort. Most of the time you won’t get as many people as Tahoe Ski Area, but you will get as much snow. Over 400 feet of snow annually fall on this great Ski Resort. After some time in the snow, soak in a hot tub and enjoy a yummy meal out. There are plenty of things to do here. Head down to the Grand Canyon in the winter too! Arizona is not that far, and the majestic winter sun sets in the desert are unmissable.
How to get there…
Some main highways lead to Santa Fe and the Grand Canyon. Take the 40 west from Santa Fe to Flagstaff. From there it is about an hour drive to the Grand Canyon. If you are coming from the North, take the 25 down into Santa Fe from Denver. Who said the south was hot and dry? Winter in the desert is well worth a look!
The Florida Keys
If you aren’t a big fan of the colder weather, take a break and head south. Florida in the winter is spectacular. Head down to the warmer climates to enjoy kayaking and other water activities. For a fun-filled family trip, stop by Orlando on the way down and visit Disney World.
How to get there…
From Orlando, take the 95 down the East Coast of Florida and enjoy the views. Maybe stop in Miami for a cultural dinner out. Once you are in the Keys you will feel right at home with the warm hospitality. Florida may be out of the way for some, but it will have better driving conditions that anywhere else on the east coast. Make sure you leave after November, which is the tail end of Hurricane season.
California’s Historic Route 66
Cross through the Mojave Desert and head west towards the beach on one of the most iconic routes in history. Winter is a great time to see family in Los Angeles as well as make a fun family road trip. About 300 miles of fun can be made from the boarder of Arizona to Santa Monica. Start in Needles, California where you will find the Colorado River, and well, just about nothing else. You may just sight some UFO’s if you are careful enough. This place is said to have some of the largest UFO sighting of anywhere.
How to get there…
Head west towards Barstow, where you wouldn’t want to be caught dead in the summer, but in the winter it is a nice little drive through town. Keep going and you will cross over the mountains of the Cajon Pass. This stretch of mountains is quite a climb but beautiful as well. You will land in Pasadena, and must stroll through the oldest city in Los Angeles. Make your way through L.A. and to the ocean that sparkles even in the winter. Check out the Santa Monica Pier. Have dinner at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.
Cape Cod, MA
Take a scenic East Coast ocean drive through Cape Cod. This small protruding peninsula in Massachusetts is surrounded by the Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Coming from any direction, you will first need to cross into the State on Highway 495 or 95. Head all the way East and pick up the 6. Start out on the 6 for about thirty miles. Wind your way North past Pleasant Lake. You may want to stay in your car unless you are hopping out for a warm cup of soup. It is quite chilly on the East Coast around the Holiday’s. But if you are looking for a winter wonderland, Cape Cod is just that.
When you reach the top of the peninsula, take the 6 back down the way you came. At the town of Orleans, head on the 28 and check out the south part of the peninsula. These quaint port towns are well worth a visit. See the Fleetwood Sanctuary for birds and ducks. Hop out and collect antiques at one of the many shops in town. Most are decorated for the Holidays. Take in a warm meal and truly feel the winter that is settling around you.
There are few lakes like Lake Tahoe. It is blue and clear and misty in the early winter mornings. Most spend there time in Tahoe skiing and snowboarding. You may want a scenic drive with your family instead. One of the most majestic drives is that from the North Shore to the South Shore on highway 89. Start out in Tahoe City, a small town full of artists and cafe’s. Drive past mammoth cabins and estates as you head south on your journey. Stop in Homewood for a snack and a coffee. Look out over the lake on one the many piers. Look out over Emerald’s Bay as you climb high above the lake. This small inlet to the lake has green color and fabulous granite outcroppings.
How long will it take?
You will drive for about 45 minutes or so before reaching South Lake Tahoe. This busy section of the lake has plenty of shopping and eateries. Keep going until you reach the state line of Nevada and California. It is fun to put one foot on each side of the border. Then you can say you have been in two states at once! The kids will love it. For the adults, there are Casino’s for gambling. You can try out a show at Harvey’s Hotel and even take a horse-drawn carriage ride through town. Lake Tahoe is full of adventure and it isn’t just on the slopes.
Things To Remember
- The best part about any holiday trip os having fun. Remember to plan for a trip that the whole family will enjoy. Do a little research. If none of the above places sound good to you, there are many more wonderful adventures out there.
- Be prepared with the cheap car insurance you and your family deserve. Don’t skimp on insurance, especially in the winter months. Driving is already dangerous, have your bases covered.
- Have a clear plan and talk about it with your family ahead of time. Better to make sure everyone is on board before you get started.
- Pack for everything. Having extra blankets, pillows and snacks ready for your drive will make it all the better. Maybe pick out some Holiday music or a podcast you can all listen to. Nat King Cole’s Christmas album is always a success. If you have little ones, try the Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas. That is sure to make everyone laugh.
- Safety check our vehicle before heading out. On some of these road trips, you won’t have the luxury of stopping for equipment whenever you want.
- Fill up your tank and plan ahead for gas. In some rural areas you may not see a gas station for 50 miles. Check out where your gas stations are before you leave.
- Most importantly remember that a road trip is a time for bonding. Find some way of making your car your home. And have fun!