Here are eight tips to avoid a sticky travel situation altogether or at least more easily get yourself out of one:
1. Check your flight, no matter where you’re going
Think you don’t have to worry about bad weather because you’re flying from sunny California to sunny Florida? Not so fast. That airplane you’re picking up in San Diego may have been coming from Minneapolis or Chicago.
2. Don’t drive into a storm
You should heed winter travel warnings — no matter how anxious you are to get a jump on your holiday trip.
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Monitor your local and regional forecasts. If the weather report in your departure or arrival city advises staying put for safety reasons, consider not hitting the road.
If there’s a possibility that bad weather could hit while you’re on the road, make sure to have cold weather clothing and shoes, extra water and snacks, charged up devices, diapers for the little ones, a full tank of gas and flares in case you get stopped by weather.
3. Rebook your flight for free
Many airlines have teams devoted to tracking the weather and rearranging flight schedules to avoid bad winter weather. If the weather proves too dangerous for flight, airlines often offer customers the opportunity to rebook their flights to leave earlier or later free of charge, before you leave for the airport.
4. Follow your airline and airport on social media
Follow your airlines and airports via Twitter and Facebook. Many airlines and airports post the speediest updates to their Twitter feeds, so start following them now. Sign up for your airline alerts to get flight updates e-mailed to your smartphone.
5. Charge your devices
Be sure to have your smartphone fully charged when you leave home for your winter holiday trip.
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Expect crowds surrounding the electrical outlets at your departure airport to increase if your flight is delayed. And don’t expect rest stops to share their outlets with you. Have a car charger and stash a power pack or a few battery chargers for your portable electronic devices (useful for driving or flying).
6. Stock up on snacks
Stock up on nonperishable snacks and drinks for the car. If you’re flying, avoid the drinks, but carry an empty water bottle to refill after you clear airport security.
Granola bars, beef jerky, dried nuts and fruit and other protein-rich snacks can keep you and the children going without spending a fortune at rest stops or the airport.
7. Are you already stuck at the airport?
You might get booked on another flight before you reach the front of the line. Also consider nearby cities where you can rent a car and drive to your final destination.
8. Consider taking a train
Trains might be able to better handle winter weather than your car during a holiday trip.
Carl Frey/Winter Park Resort
If you live in a part of the world where train service is common (say the Northeast US, Japan, England or many other parts of Europe.,for example), consider taking the train for your winter holiday travel.
CNN’s Forrest Brown contributed to this article, which was originally published in 2014. It has been reformatted and updated.