Top travel tips for winter commuters

When a commuter thinks ahead to the next semester, they must consider various situations for which they may need to prepare themselves. Not only must a commuter worry about getting stranded on the side of the road or accidents leaving them in the ditch, when they finish classes, they may not be going home for a while.


1. Pick your favorite vegetable and fruit and keep a small stash in the back in case you cannot make it home. Vegetables and fruit should keep well in your vehicle since it is winter and will not spoil as quickly like at any other time of the year.

2. Also store some non-perishable food items like Cliff bars or your favorite canned soup. And store, as in, leave them in your vehicle so you have additional food supplies if you need them. Personally, I know I also enjoy some flavored jerky from time to time as well. There are also plenty of yummy trail mixes you can choose from.

3. If you love cooking, think about what you might like to eat and the night before you leave, take your food down to your vehicle. If a hazardous blizzard arrives and you are stuck at school for a while and must wait for it to blow over, you have something to eat and you do not have to spend any extra money. Again, your food is a refrigerator.

4. If you do take meals with you to school, you may want to invest in plastic utensils at Wal-Mart or keep some of your silverware from home in a place in your vehicle. That way you will not have to worry about if you have anything to eat with—obviously.

5. If you carry meals with you as a commuter, you may also use a microwave or a refrigerator in the Non-Traditional Student Center which you can find on the lower level of the Centennial Student Union. If you are stuck because of a storm in the area where you live, you may be able to wait it out and stay there for a while.

6. On an additional note, if you park in the free lot, you may not make it back to your vehicle if the weather gets severe. So you may want to keep food inside your backpack or suitcase roller.

Items to keep in your car:

1. Flashlights, in case your car dies and so does your phone and you have extra lights. When you have no power, you can experience your worst nightmare in worrying about where to find what you need. From general experience, things tend to get at least somewhat shuffled around no matter how orderly you try to keep your vehicle.

2. Ice scrapers, yes, I pluralized the word. Store one near your driving side and under the seat so it will not flounder all over your vehicle. But if you happen to lose it, keep one in the back seat so you have an extra so you will have no travel delays, especially if a blizzard is fast approaching. It may also be helpful to have a snowbrush handy, too, for fresh snow.

3. Blankets are another high recommendation. If you are running low on gas or you wish to preserve what you have, stash a couple blankets in the backseat so you can use them to warm up if you need to. I would be picky about the material, particularly if you tend to turn into a human popsicle in the wintertime. I would have both a polyester and a wool blanket, but that is my personal preference. If you would like to, include pillows. Hey, you never know!

4. Jumper cables, so if your vehicle does die and you have nowhere to go, you can get started again in a half hour. Self-reliance is the key to independence. It also heightens your alertness when you take control of situations to the best of your ability.

5. A bag of sand or cat litter—if you have such a roommate living with you—may also come in use in case the snow has piled up and you are unable to get out.

6. Windshield fluids are always a good idea to have in your vehicle, but it is especially excellent in the winter. It will unfreeze your windshield from the ice and keep it clean and clear for you to see when driving in winter conditions.

On a note to conclude, I have a couple other pieces of advice to offer. Build friendships, no matter how busy you are. Take time to eat lunch with someone from your class or from someone you connect well with at your workplace. They may be able to offer you a place you can stay as a last resort if a blizzard blows through at the last minute. But also use your phone to check the status of the weather, too, or scope out the conditions from the televisions around campus. If you need to leave early, let your professor know. If you have not acquired a habit of being late or absent to class, many professors will understand! They will want to see you safe and live to survive real physical storms as you move toward success in life and build on the simple habits you need to further yourself and your present dreams and future career.

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