Snow may be pretty to look at, but it can certainly make a mess out of your travel plans. Every year, you can bet on North America getting pounded by one snow storm after another, leaving not only piles of soft white flakes, but also long lines, cancelled flights and disgruntled travellers in its wake. Don't be one of those passengers – use these travel tips and tricks to help you escape the polar vortex and continue on to your tropical getaway:
If you're planning a trip during the winter months, consider purchasing a refundable ticket, which allows you to receive your money back if you need to cancel your flight due to harsh weather conditions. While it may cost more at the time, it could end up saving you a considerable amount of money in the long run if you need change your flight multiple times. Some airlines, including Air Canada, also offer "bundled fares." These tickets offer several travel perks for a fixed price. The perks typically extend over to no-change fees, which means passengers can safely transfer their flight without the hefty charge.
Call the airline
When bad weather is on its way, don't wait around - call your airline immediately to confirm the status of your flight. The longer you wait to do so, the less likely you'll be able to transfer your seat to the next available flight if necessary. Fortunately, many airlines have been waiving transfer fees - or offering flight transfers at a reduce rate - especially for those who are departing or arriving in a city hit hard by a winter storm. You can either call your airline or visit its website to receive information on transfer and cancellation fees.
You never know how long you're going to be sitting in an airport terminal when a winter storm hits. Because terminals tend to not have enough electrical outlets or charging ports, prepare beforehand by charging all of your electronic devices at home. It's also best to purchase extra battery packs for your cellphone and laptops in case of an emergency.
Utilize social media
In this digital age, it's possible to receive up-to-the-minute updates via social media platforms. Many airlines now use Twitter to post flight delays, cancellations and arrivals. You can also sign up for flight alerts, which the airline will send directly to your email or cellphone. Several lodging apps for your smartphone also provide information on how to find affordable accommodation at the last minute, in case you're stranded in a foreign city for a day or two.