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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Winter Travel Tips

We are approaching the dog days of winter. As another snowmageddon looms, it's a fine time to weave in some winter travel tips. Below are some you may already know, along with a few you may never have pondered. 

1. Try to travel on non-stop flights leaving early in the morning. If you do have to connect, try not to do so through hubs that regularly experience nasty winter weather, like Chicago's O'Hare and Denver International. That said, even southern airports like Dallas or Atlanta can be tricky during the winter, given the increasing number of ice storms that seem to be besetting Dixie. 

2. Traveling to high altitudes for skiing or snowboarding? Prepare for the highs. 
  • Don't overdo exercise on the first day.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol intake, particularly during the first few days of your trip.
  • Your digestive innards work slowly at higher altitudes, so late meals may     interfere with sleep. 
  • Consider taking aspirin with a huge glass of water right before bedtime to preempt  altitude-induced headaches. 
3. Loyal Daily Suitcase readers know of my great concern for proper hydration.  This is because I have ended up in emergency rooms in both Beijing and Phnom Penh with heat-related dehydration. But it is important to note that dehydration can also happen in frigid temperatures. In fact, for some, severe dehydration may be more likely to occur in winter than summer. 

If you are flying somewhere for a ski trip, the flight has already likely dried you out. Add to that extreme exercise, the lower oxygen levels and lower humidity of high altitudes, and the intense sun, and you have the perfect storm of ingredients for dehydration. In order to avoid this fate, start drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day about a week before your trip starts. Then, keep drinking H20 as you go. Again, avoiding dehydrators like caffeine, alcohol, and fatty foods may be wise.

4. Invest in the proper clothing. If you are going to be outside for a good part of a winter's day, layer away and thermalize. Pay special attention to your extremities, including head, hands and feet. I can recommend Heat Holders thermal socks (the company also sells hats, neck warmers, tights, and gloves).  At The Warming Store, you can find a wide selection of battery-heated socks, insoles and gloves that will keep you extra toasty. 

5. Buy travel insurance. If your winter trip gets cancelled or delayed due to unexpected weather events, insurance will cover prepaid costs and extra expenses (additional hotel nights, meals). Plus, some travel insurance companies offer concierge services. If a flight is cancelled or bags are lost, the concierge can provide a much-needed assist. 

Captions: All images photographed in Sun Valley, Idaho.

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