According to a recent article from AAA,  more Americans than ever on record – 115.6 million – will travel this holiday season, from Saturday, Dec. 21 through Wednesday, Jan. 1.

“Travelers should be getting used to crowded highways and airports, as this marks the eighth straight year of new record-high travel volumes for the year-end holidays.”, said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel.

If you plan on driving or flying to visit family, here are 7 tips to help you stay safe and stress-free during the busiest travel time of the year.

1. Take Your Vehicle in for a Check Up

If you are driving a long distance take your vehicle in for a basic inspection. The mechanic can check your tire pressure and tread, top off fluids and make sure all systems are running as they should be.

2. Plan Ahead

If driving, map out your route ahead of time and plan alternative routes as well. For example,  is there a scenic drive that might be longer but have less traffic?

3. Ship Gifts or Buy Gift Cards

Whether you are flying or driving, packing extra gifts can be an unnecessary hassle. If you’re flying you’ll probably have to check in extra luggage. And if your driving, those gifts can pile up and block your view, or the gift wrap can easily get torn.

Instead of packing gifts, ship them ahead of time to your destination. Or, you can never go wrong with gift cards as they are easy to pack and people can buy exactly what they need.

4. Beware of Ice and Other Winter Precipitation

Freezing rain and other icy conditions can come out of nowhere and that’s exactly what makes them dangerous. Plus, there is no antilock brake system or 4 wheel drive that can keep you from sliding.

So be mindful that even the slightest precipitation can be treacherous when temperatures are below freezing. If there are icy conditions, try to get a room for the night or stay off the road until the ice has melted.

5. Travel on Off Peak Days, If Possible

On Christmas and New Year’s, the peak holiday travel dates change each year depending on which days the holidays fall. But typically if you can travel on the actual holiday, airports and roadways will be less busy. If you are traveling close enough where you can reach your destination in just a couple of hours, it may make more sense to leave on Christmas.

6. Pack a Survival Kit

Hope for the beset but plan for the worst. If you are driving and your car breaks down, being prepared for the situation can make a huge difference.

Pack an emergency bag with blankets, food water flashlights and important documents for your insurance company.

Learn More: What to Pack in Your Emergency Go Bag

Also, never travel with less than a half tank of gas in your vehicle. This way if you are stranded and waiting for help, you can keep the vehicle running with the heat on.

7. Leave Early

Since this is the busiest travel time of the year, plan for delays. If you are driving to your destination, expect traffic jams. And if you are flying, plan for long lines for security checks, baggage claim etc. Planning ahead and leaving early will allow you to relax rather than worrying about making it on time or missing your flight.

About Rochester Lender, Julie Krumholz

Julie Krumholz is has been helping homebuyers in Rochester and throughout Michigan for over 30 years. On a personal level, you will find her to be friendly, straightforward, honest and extremely dedicated to helping her clients.

If you are looking for a Mortgage expert in Michigan that you can rely on call: 586-382-5482