Tips for planning winter travel: SnowCast review

This post brought to you by SnowCast. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Pit Stops for Kids.

We love winter trips at Pit Stops for Kids, but traveling during the winter months to and from most North American destinations requires more trip planning and preparation than the average vacation. We recently returned from a long weekend ski trip to Colorado, and used the following tips to have a safer and easier travel day on both ends of the trip.

keystone-resort-vacation

Predict snowfall with SnowCast:

We recently checked out the SnowCast app, available for iOS, which can show users how many inches of snow may fall in any location. Once the app was downloaded to my phone, I was able to choose the ‘now’ option to see how much snow to expect immediately, or the ‘later’ option to see how much snow was predicted to fall up to 48 hours later. Because I was departing from a wintery location as well as arriving to one, I used the app to see how much snow to expect both at home on our departure day as well as at our destination.   

With this information, I knew if I needed to wake up earlier than planned to get to the airport (the answer was no, I would not need to shovel out my car) and if I could expect a longer commute to the ski resort once I landed (the answer was yes, unfortunately!). I found the SnowCast app to be easy to use, with a clean interface, and I love that it gets its predictions from NOAA, which is where I turn for snow forecasts already. 

snowcast

Download the app

Prepare your car for winter trips:

If you’re driving instead of flying for your winter trip, use a weather tool like SnowCast to prepare your car as well as plan your route. We absolutely always have the following items in a tote at the back of our car during winter weather trips:

  • snow chains (that fit our car…check tire size)
  • collapsible snow shovel
  • extra gloves, a head lamp, and a small tarp (fold the tarp to use if you must kneel or lie on the snow to put on chains)
  • a blanket or two
  • one case of bottled water

I like that I can use SnowCast mid-trip, checking conditions as I go. We’ll have it at the ready on our next winter road trip, which will be in a few weeks.

Pack carefully for winter trips:

I hate over-packing almost as much as I hate checked luggage fees. However, it’s very hard to pack light for a family trip in winter. Here’s what we do:

  • On ski trips, bring ski or snowboard boots in a boot bag as your ‘personal item’, and rent skis or boards at your destination.
  • Wear bulky winter items such as boots or jackets on the plane to save room.
  • When headed to warm-weather destinations, utilize airport coat checks…you can leave your winter coats at the airport, and retrieve them before heading back out to the cold parking garage!
  • Roll thinner winter items, such as thermals and wool socks, to save space.
  • Use packing cubes to store like-items that may only come out once or twice during a trip, such as extra sweaters or winter gloves.

What are your best tips for winter trips?

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About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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