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Survive the snow with our top travel tips

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travellingBrrr…don’t you just want to snuggle up by a nice log fire, with a hot cocoa in hand, while wearing your warmest woolly jumper when it snows? But as much as we might want to curl up, we still need to get back to our daily lives: going to work, visiting friends or a going on a holiday long booked in advance – snow or no snow.

There’s always the risk of delays, cancellations and complications on the roads, runways and even the railway lines when it snows — however prepared our hardworking transport staff are. But you can do your bit to survive the cold snap with these nifty travel tips…

Monitor the forecast

Try to check the weather forecast a good few hours before your journey, whether you’re at work (and worried about getting home) or about to set your alarm the night before an early trip. Things can change quickly when it comes to Britain’s weather, so keep checking it.

If there’s a good chance of heavy snow, you might want to set off earlier, ask to work from home or postpone your journey if possible. The Met Office’s app is a handy way of getting severe weather warnings as they’re issued, daily weather updates and forecasts — plus it’s free. The @bbcweather Twitter account is great for glimpse of the UK-wide picture, while regional accounts like @BBCScotWeather can tell you about what’s happening where you are.

Keep an eye on delays

Technology makes it easy for you to keep tabs on your train and be the first to know about any delays or cancellations so you can make arrangements ahead of time. Sub scribe to National Rail’s Twitter feed for up-to-the minute-announcements or check their webpage dedicated to service disruptions.

For regional travel updates, most local councils post regularly on their Twitter feeds, so it could be worth following them.

And remember to look at our live arrivals and departures page or tweet us @redspottedhanky
if you’re stuck somewhere. We try to keep our travellers informed about what’s happening on the lines too.

Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail

Even if you leave lots of time and check the weather reports daily, you never know when you might be caught out by extreme weather.

If you were driving during bad weather you’d probably want to make sure you had a torch, blanket, food, warm layers and a fully charged mobile with you just in case you broke down. And it’s worth doing a little of the same prep when you’re taking the train in bad weather.

You might want to dress more warmly just in case you do end up waiting a little longer than you anticipated on the platform. And you’ll definitely want to have a charged mobile with you so you can check those travel updates and get in touch with family and friends if it looks like you’re running a little late. You might also want to keep a little extra cash on you in case you want to grab an extra coffee or a snack if your train is delayed.

The Ultimate Winter Travelling Survival Kit

If you are prepping ahead, you might want to pop these in your bag or coat pockets:

1. Emergency phone charger

You don’t want to be stranded without charge in your phone if you need a lift or have to let people know you’re running late, so, if you usually run down most of your charge during the day, keep an emergency phone charger with you just in case – or take your charger to work so you can top up at your desk before you head for the train.

2. Warm layers, a hat and gloves

Staying toasty when it’s chilly outside is all about (ideally thermal) layers. Pile on more as the temperature drops or roll them up in your bag when you’re feeling warm. That hat and glove will be your best friends if you’re kept waiting.

3. Snacks

Most train stations have places to get food and there is usually a food trolley on the train, but take a snack and some water in case everything’s shut and the trolley’s nowhere in sight – it’s cheaper to bring your own too, so stashing a chocolate bar in your coat could save you a pound or two later.

4. Entertainment

Once your physical needs have been taken care of, you’ll want something to occupy your mind too. Smartphone users can do just about anything on their phones, but don’t rely on it entirely in case you can’t get a signal. Download movies or books onto your tablet or e-reader before you set off or bring a good old fashioned pack of cards — it might, ahem, help you break the ice with your fellow passengers.

Do you have any tips for travelling when there’s snow? Please leave us a comment and let us know.

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