Reghan Winkler: If you want to travel, go — just know your risks


By Reghan Winkler - Better Business Bureau



With Thanksgiving travel concerns in the rearview mirror, the next travel portion of the holiday season now looms on the horizon for many of us.

Also on the horizon is the latest COVID variant, Omicron, which, at this point, may or may not alter plans. However, a new survey from the website TheVacationer.com indicates 33% would not celebrate Christmas with an unvaccinated friend or family member, but another 20% would if the person has a negative test.

In a December 1, 2021, Philadelphia Inquirer article, Drexel University’s professor, Dr. Michael LeVasseur, said, “There is no information on how severe this disease is, how much the vaccines will work on it, or how quickly it is spreading. It is hard to come up with recommendations for holiday travel, even for myself.” He continued, “Whatever your risk is, the risk isn’t new. This isn’t March 2020. Now, we have more information and effective treatments. If you want to make travel plans, go for it – just know your risks.”

From keeping safe amid the pandemic to prepping for air and car travel situations, here are some things to consider.

According to TheVacationer.com, 122 million adult Americans plan to travel during the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa timeframe. That is a 42% increase over the same time last year. The survey also indicates 6 million more American adults plan to fly for Christmas than they did for Thanksgiving.

• Be aware that federal mask-wearing mandates on airlines remain in effect until at least January 2022.

• Keep in mind that experts say the widespread flight cancellations that have plagued major airlines in recent weeks (blamed on a combination of harsh weather and staffing woes) are likely to continue, so stay updated on developments that could affect your flights.

• Avoid airport security-line hassles by applying for a TSA Precheck. You’ll get to keep your shoes, jackets, and belts on and at the same time go into the Fast Pass lines. There is a fee that covers you for five years.

• Don’t wrap gifts before you fly. If the TSA decides to inspect your items, they will unwrap them.

• Bring snacks. Some airports are still operating at reduced capacities with limited quantities of products.

• Consider buying a comprehensive travel insurance policy. This is a protection investment should you need to cancel your trip unexpectedly or encounter any unforeseen delays or interruptions.

As always, the bulk of any holiday travel is by car. When hitting the road, follow these tips.

• Check your car’s fluid levels. Coolant, brake automatic transmission oil power steering and windshield washer fluids. Top them off, even if it’s not quite time for a refill. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

• Check your tires. Make sure they are inflated to proper levels. Check for safe tread depths by putting a penny with Lincoln’s head upside down into the tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires. Also check your spare, make sure it is inflated.

• Know how to get help. Make sure you have numbers in your car for roadside assistance. Put the information in the glove compartment or other safe place within the vehicle.

• Don’t let your car run low on gas, especially if you’re in unfamiliar territory and not aware of the location of the nearest gas station.

Whether you’re jetting off on a warm weather Christmas getaway or driving to visit family, following these tips can help make things as smooth and stress-free as possible. Travel safely!

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By Reghan Winkler

Better Business Bureau

Reghan Winkler is executive director of the Better Business Bureau serving West Central Ohio. The BBB may be found on the Internet at bbb.org/us/oh/lima.

Reghan Winkler is executive director of the Better Business Bureau serving West Central Ohio. The BBB may be found on the Internet at bbb.org/us/oh/lima.

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