When a winter storm threatens travel

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So, there’s a storm coming.

It’s the time of year when travelers get a bit concerned about how snow, wind and frigid temperatures will affect a trip. And many times, it does. Here’s what to do:

FLYING

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Even if a snow storm is on the east coast, it could still cause a ripple affect and lead to delays and cancellations across the country. Here’s what to do:

  1. Contact the airline before you leave for the airport to find out whether your flight is leaving on time.
  2. Check the airline to see whether it will be issuing travel waivers, allowing passengers to re-book flights or change plans without penalty.
  3. If you have travel insurance, contact the company to alert them if you’re flight has been delayed or cancelled and seek clarification of coverage. If the plan offers 24/7 emergency assistance — you may also be eligible for assistance with finding a new flight.

MORE: Worst airports for winter travel delays

DRIVING

Woman Shoveling her Parking Lot

We’ve all heard officials warning drivers about the possibility of severe road conditions during a storm. If you absolutely must hit the roads, here’s some advice from AAA:

  • Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
  • Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
  • Always look and steer where you want to go.
  • Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle. (Source: AAA)

MORE: Biggest threat to winter travel plans

APPS TO DOWNLOAD

Man in the hall station. Typing text message  on mobile phone

Here’s a roundup of some of the best apps for winter travel. In addition to downloading airline apps,  these handy tools can help travelers stay ahead of the storm and be better prepared.

Track Weather: Try Dark Sky or Weather Channel app to keep tabs on weather conditions.

Keep Itinerary: TripIt pulls together hotel, airline, and rental car emails and syncs the itinerary to Google Calendar and Outlook.

Maps: Google Maps or Waze can help storm warriors get to their destination and avoid major delays.

Hotel: Need to crash another night in town? Download an app from a travel booking site like Expedia or Tripadvisor.

MORE: Winter travel getaways

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