Before You Hit the Road for Home

Grace Ekema

With finals week coming to a close, it is time to hit the road back home. To some, it may just be a couple minutes away, but for others it can be long hours of driving. 

For those long distance travelers, it may be the first time in a while to be driving or flying again. Winter is setting upon us so the conditions for traveling are certainly not the same as they were back in August.

Here are some reminders to look over before heading home again. reminds drivers to have a winter driving survival kit inside your car. Some key things to have are an ice scraper, sand or salt, and a snow shovel. Other considerations to keep in the vehicle are an extra coat and hats and gloves as well as a blanket.

It is also important to watch the gas tank while you are on the road. Winter is not the right season to be running the tank until it is almost empty. says to practice filling up the gas tank after it gets to a half tank. The website says to do this so you can “run your engine and stay warm if you get stuck or stranded.” 

Being aware of the weather conditions ahead is always important. Look for weather alerts before you get on the road so you are aware of the possibilities you might be facing later on.

While driving, remember that it is okay to not drive the exact speed limit. “The speed limits are meant for dry roads, not roads covered in snow or ice,” says. Go the speed that is the most comfortable for you and go a distance where the road is still visible for you. Also, avoid using your cruise control when you are in snowy or icy conditions because you want to stay in as much control of your car as possible.

In Ames, there hasn’t been much snow at all yet. But if you are traveling somewhere with more snow or somewhere where there is a possibility of a snow storm, refer to the website for more instructions on things like breaking down or getting stuck in the snow.

Traveling by plane is different in the winter as well. The weather can easily cause delays or flight cancellations that can turn the trip into an even longer one. has these tips to help stay on track when flying back home. 

Some of their suggestions are to choose the fly nonstop options to eliminate being stuck in the middle of your trip or even to book the earliest flight available. The nonstop option allows you to stay away from being stuck in a connecting airport which can cause backups in your arrival time. Booking an early flight gives a further step ahead in beating the weather at other airports along your trip home or if your original flight is affected and you have to switch, the odds are better a finding a seat on an early flight. also says to make sure you are prepared for anything. Keep all of your devices charged in case of a backup occurring and to pack wisely in case you will be laid over at an airport or a city on the way. This allows you to be able to stay in touch with family about the situation as well as stay comfortable with a new change of cloths.

Other ideas to follow are to watch the weather days before you leave in case of needing to change flights as well as paying attention to your airlines on social media to see if flights have been delayed or canceled. also has information on travel’s insurance if that is an option you and your family would want to consider.

With these air and driving travel tips in mind, travel safely back home!