For many, the winter season and the holidays within are some of the happiest times of the year. It is a chance to visit family, give and receive presents, and experience an all-around feeling of joy as you see the holiday lights and decorations. If you are planning to travel this winter, then you need to do so safely as you are faced with colder weather, varied road conditions, and of course, COVID-19. 

No matter how you travel this year, the pandemic will play a factor. But that doesn't necessarily mean you cannot go where you want. Below we offer some helpful tips that should help you salvage some of those happy holiday memories in 2020.

Consider Staying Home

While you may be excited about winter travel, you should seriously consider the idea that you might have to sit this year out. The COVID-19 pandemic is still alive and well, and many experts are recommending that people remain extra cautious this holiday season, especially if you are in the more at-risk classes that include older people and those with pre-existing conditions. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun where you live. As long as you find outdoor activities where you can socially distance, you can still celebrate safety.

There are a ton of fun winter activities here in Nashville that you can enjoy to get that holiday glee that you’ve been anticipating. One such grand tradition is the LaVergne Parade of Lights, which is a great parade of holiday-themed cars, floats, and signs, along with hot chocolate served at the local high school. On December 7, go enjoy the Brentwood Christmas Tree Lighting and experience the glory of the vivid flashing lights.

Those who stay in Nashville also have the option of hosting a family get-together in your house, but again, precautions should be followed as a result of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that family gatherings are limited so that everyone can stay six feet away from one another. Masks should be worn whenever possible, and you can create better airflow through the home by opening windows, so it is not quite as stuffy and the germs can’t hang around in one place. You will also want to thoroughly clean and disinfect all gathering places. Wipe down all areas after every use and read the label on your cleaning products so you only use the required amount. 

Safe Driving

If the idea of staying put during the winter holidays is too much to take, then you can still travel, but you’ll need to do so cautiously. To practice social distancing and avoid large groups, the best idea may be to drive to your destination. However, you will want to perform the proper maintenance on your vehicle now so you can avoid a breakdown during those occasional freezing arctic blasts from Canada.

Before it gets too cold, bring your car in for a tune-up and check everything from the oil to the tires. If you are going on a longer trip, then you should have your brakes inspected as well so you can drive more conservatively in snowy conditions. This is also a good time to replace your windshield wipers so you can see clearly when that snow or rain storm hits during your drive. You also want your car to start immediately on those colder days, so check your battery and make sure there isn’t any corrosion on the terminals. If there is, use a brush and some baking soda to clean them off.

While Nashville isn’t known for its blizzards, snowfall does occur, so you should drive cautiously to avoid an accident. When driving in snow, you need to do so deliberately without making jerky movements and keep your eyes far ahead on the road in case any hazards come up that you need to prepare for. During the colder periods, you may also have to watch out for black ice, which can be all but invisible. If you hit black ice, your vehicle could lose traction. At that point, you will need to ease off of the gas and turn your steering wheel in the direction that the back of your car is sliding. 

If You Decide to Fly

Those looking to travel a bit further may decide to fly, and this may be the best or worst time to do so, depending on your frame of mind. On the good side, domestic flights are cheaper than ever because the airlines know that this type of travel is in demand, and they need to make money now more than ever. On the other side of the coin, the airlines are taking COVID-19 very seriously, so you will likely have to wear your mask during your entire flight, and you may not be able to sit next to your family in the name of social distancing. So you need to weigh the pros and cons.

Smart packing is key during winter travel as it is generally cold around the United States during this time. If you don’t have a lot of space for clothes, then at least bring a sweater, pants, and a jacket, along with a scarf and gloves. As a pro tip, do not wrap any presents that you put in your luggage. In the case that your bag is selected for a search, they will be forced to tear off the wrapping paper, so avoid the stress and wrap it when you get to your destination. 

Even when we are not facing a global pandemic, an airport is filled with germs as thousands of people walk through it every day. Make sure to pack hand sanitizer and don’t touch your face at any time. If you are traveling to a different state, search online for that state’s website and view the COVID spread in that area. If there is a great risk of sickness, then you may want to stay home.

Winter is a great time to get out of the house and visit those that you love. Follow the steps above, and you can enjoy a safe and stress-free holiday.


Cover Image Source: Unsplash


This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

When I was 14 years old, I surreptitiously made my way through the stacks in the local library until I came to the Psychology section. One after one, I took down the books whose titles I thought would provide an answer, went to the table of contents and, if there were any, I flipped to the pictures.

Keep reading Show less

James Mai

Many of us have made resolutions and pledged ourselves to transforming some aspect, or aspects, of our lives. For some, these resolutions will involve career, budget, home ownership, etc., but for a LOT of us, they will involve various health, exercise and fitness goals.

Often, these resolutions are vague, like “lose weight” or “exercise more”, and way too often they begin with a gym contract and end with Netflix and a bag of takeout. Getting specific can help in holding yourself accountable for these commitments, though. So we thought it might be interesting to talk with a local gay trainer, James Mai, about his fitness journey, his work as a trainer and how he keeps himself motivated, and get some of his suggestions for carrying through on this year’s fitness resolutions!

Keep reading Show less


Keep reading Show less