The most important do’s and don’ts of fall travel

Every year, during the fall, with Halloween over and the holidays quickly approaching, countless people take it upon themselves to travel. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), it is expected that approximately 102.1 million people, roughly a third of the population, will travel during the holiday season. Whether visiting friends and family, or visiting a location always dreamed of, people take this time to create memories. Some travelers are seasoned veterans, and others are just embarking on their first fall time traveling journeys. A beginner’s lesson for the newcomer and a refresher course for the well traveled (and everyone in between) could come in handy and save the traveler an avoidable headache.

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Do’s: Vehicle safety check

If driving, it is immeasurably important for the driver to conduct a vehicle safety checklist. This includes checking the condition of engine oil, transmission and differential fluids, hoses, belts, engine coolant, tire pressure and tread, braking system, and car battery. A fall road trip can easily be ruined by an ill timed breakdown or tire blowout. The traveler should make no assumptions about the status of the vehicle’s condition.

Don’ts: Forgetting to dress appropriately

Summer is over! Yes, it is unfortunate, but, in come the crunchy leaves, and out go the short sleeves. Well, the short sleeves can stay, if they are layered properly. While a bulky winter coat and snow boots probably aren’t necessary just yet, a jacket, thermal, and hat combination might just do the trick. Fall is generally known for its sometimes wild temperature swings. A 2pm temperature in the mid 60’s can easily become an 8pm temperature in the mid 40’s, and even colder. The trick is to dress in layers that allow for comfortability in the high and low temperatures of the day.

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Do’s: Take pictures and video

The changing of the seasons is a beautiful event to witness if the traveler spends time in nature. According to Carl E. Palm Jr., at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, “in the fall, because of changes in the length of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible and give the leaves part of their fall splendor.” The technical explanation of leaf color changes doesn’t quite capture the beauty of it. However, taking photos and video out in nature is as close as it comes to capturing it. Hurry though, according to The Farmer’s Almanac, in the United States, this process takes approximately two weeks, and begins in mid to late october.

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Don’ts: Forgetting to be mindful of germs

During the traveler’s expeditions, there may be contact with a more diverse group of people, places, objects, and foods than usual. Add this to the assertion that germs spread more easily in the winter. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s official website, the overall burden of influenza for the 2017-2018 season was an estimated 45 million influenza cases and 21 million influenza-associated medical visits. Washing hands regularly, and being mindful of what comes in contact with the travelers’ hands and mouth are small steps that may prevent contracting influenza. Who wants to catch a bug during a fall getaway?

Don’ts: Forgetting to properly hydrate during traveling

Who forgets to drink water? Well, as it seems, a lot of people do. During the fall, with lowering temperatures and humidity, the physical prompts, during the warmer months, that usually goad people into drinking water, can be significantly decreased. Reduced perspiration and physical exertion may lower how often a traveler feels thirsty, therefore, possibly leading to reduced water intake. According to the Mayo Clinic official website, “dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don’t replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated.” During fall travel, there may be the occasion for increased drinking during social gatherings. The traveler could benefit by being mindful of the above mentioned information.


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Do’s: Try the seasonal food staples

The pumpkin spice flavor may be one of the most widely recognized fall food staples in the United States. However, there are others that the traveler may enjoy during the cool autumn days and chilly nights. According to, sweet potatoes (high in vitamin A, and beta carotene); chickpeas (a great option for soups and hummus, and high in protein); pears (high in fiber, rich in nutrients, and can even be roasted for a snack); pomegranates (high in nutrients and anti inflammatory); and dates (high in potassium and a great substitute for bananas) are all great seasonal foods to experiment with during the fall.

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There are probably hundreds of more do’s and don’ts to follow while traveling this fall. With a little common sense, good judgment and the do’s and don’ts listed above, the traveler is in for a great start.

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“A former reporter who went from telling the news to telling stories. Introverted, but willing to discuss food. I work hard so my cat can have a better life.”