Colder weather is making itself known in the Northern Hemisphere, as the end of the year and the festive season approach. That doesn’t have to mean you’re stuck at home, nor does it cross the wintery north off the list of possible travel destinations. A road trip during the chilly months can be an adventure to remember, and in a good way.
From visiting the charming Christmas markets of Europe
to sipping hot chocolate by the fire in a Canadian mountain lodge, there are many great reasons to brave the chill and embark on a winter road trip - but before you do, we have some suggestions to ensure that your journey is safe and enjoyable.
1 . Get the right vehicle for the job
Whether you are driving your own car or renting one, it’s important to ensure that it is one which is well-equipped for the conditions. Depending on whether you are expecting snow during your trip, you may need chains, and a 4WD vehicle is a good idea in many cases. ABS braking is a handy feature to have if possible, as is Electronic Stability Control.
Renting a suitable vehicle
might cost a little extra but is well worth it for safety and convenience. If you aren’t sure which features are available, ask before booking!
2 . Bring towels
It’s a simple winter road trip tip, but a helpful one. Small towels, big towels, nice ones and rags - stash them in convenient spots around the vehicle, like the glove box and door pockets, so you can wipe off any rain or snow when you sit down. There’s not much worse than a damp car, and having a towel at hand is an easy way to make sure everything stays dry.
Of course, having damp towels strewn around the car is not much better than damp upholstery. For that reason, we also recommend bringing plastic bags so you can keep them wrapped up until you have the chance to hang them out to dry.
3 . Don’t scrimp on accommodation
It probably goes without saying that camping in winter is not the best idea, unless of course you’ve planned your road trip to take place in Florida
. Decent accommodations are especially important after a wintery day on the road, so you can dry off and prepare for the next day’s adventures. We’re not talking 5 star hotels, just somewhere that’s comfortable and dry with a bit of private space to spread out in.
Even if you’re not planning on doing any skiing, the cheaper and off-mountain ski lodges make a good place to stop for the night, as they often feature spa pools and drying rooms which are a welcome treat after wintertime activities.
4 . Layer up
A winter road trip means a lot of changing temperatures. Pack warm clothes, of course, but also ensure you have plenty of layers so you can adjust to changing temperatures as you get in and out of the car into different environments. Socks, leggings, pants, long-sleeved tops, sweaters, jackets and scarves all come in handy to help customise your clothing to what’s going on around you.
Having the heat in the car turned up too high can cause drowsiness, so it’s a good idea to set it at a moderate temperature and keep a layer or two on.
5 . Pack an emergency kit
The aim of course is to avoid all problems, but if something does go wrong you’ll want to be prepared. An emergency kit can stay packed away in the trunk unless it is necessary - and you might be glad to have it. Safety is key when it comes to winter driving!
The kit should contain water and non-perishable snack foods, a flashlight, batteries, blankets and a first aid kit. It’s always a good idea to have some form of communication too, so a CB radio is helpful if you don’t have a cellphone.
There are also a few car-related items which are a good idea to have with you in case of a winter emergency, on top of the usual jumper leads and hi-vis vest. These include kitty litter for extra traction, a tow rope and an ice scraper. If you are renting, ask about adding these items to your booking.
6 . Go scenic
Although it might be tempting to eschew nature for cities when the weather turns colder, the landscapes of any given country can be even more spectacular in winter than in summer. Don’t hesitate to walk on the beach, stroll in the countryside and drive through rural areas as long as the weather presents no dangers - you’ll see a unique beauty that summertime visitors might miss.
No matter where you’re headed, Airport Rentals can help your road trip plans happen! Drive safely, leave plenty of space between you and the car in front, and enjoy your wintery adventure. And if you live in the Northern hemisphere and wish you could escape winter, you could go South to Australia
) or New Zealand
(most popular destinations include Auckland
), or even to Dubai
where it's never cold!