Guest Spotlight: Pro-Tips for Solo Travel in the Winter

Road-trips have become increasingly popular this past year because of the pandemic. The past several months have been difficult with the lock down, but one thing that has helped me through is staying active and being outside. The Winter season in Washington makes it difficult for some to enjoy outdoor activities, but I prefer it. Yes, Winter in Seattle is cold and wet, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying all the beautiful scenery Washington has to offer. From hiking, snowshoeing to skiing, there is no shortage of fun weekend activities here in Washington State.

As a solo traveler, driving through my home state is an easy and cheap way to go on a fun adventure. This winter, think about taking a trip around your state for a change of scenery. I partnered with Cabana to share some tips on how to enjoy a solo winter road-trip here in Washington.

Consider Renting A Van

Winter in the pacific northwest can be very unpredictable. Consequently, many prefer summer road-trips. Renting a camper van takes away some of the worries of winter travel. The right van can provide you the flexibility, and comfort to travel anywhere. The Cabana vans, equipped with all the technology, makes for an effortless and safe trip. For instance, the added bed, shower and kitchen makes it easy to social distance and enjoy a full night of rest after an all day hiking excursion. With everything provided to you, the camper van gives you the freedom to go off the beaten pass without the hassle.

Click here to book you first camper and enjoy vacationing on your own term.

Pack Winter Essentials

It is recommended to bring the ten essentials for any hiking, camping winter road-trips. The essentials include food, water, map and compass, first aid kit, emergency shelter, pocket-knife, fire starter and sun protection. I’ve included some extra winter essentials for safety.

  • Adequate warm clothing: Temperatures are unpredictable in the winter. To keep warm, pack clothing items made of wool to wick moisture from the body. For any winter activities, make sure to bring gloves, hats, and warm socks.
  • Extra food: If you are planning on hiking or snowshoeing, bring along plenty of food for energy. We tend to expend more energy during these activities.
  • Head lamp: With the sun setting much earlier during this time of the year, it’s important to bring a source of light for visibility in the mountains.
  • Plenty of water: Stay hydrated
  • Tire chains: Washington State requires tire chains depending on road conditions. Check weather conditions prior to your trip. Washington State Department of Transportation provides real time weather report.
  • Hiking gear: A good pair of ankle high hiking shoes for areas of deep snow. Shoe spikes for frozen snow to prevent from slipping. A hiking bag to carry extra food and water. A small first aid kit. A whistle in case of an emergency.

Where to go

Snoqualmie Pass is one of the most beautiful mountain passes in Washington extending through the incredible cascades. The pass experiences heavy snowfalls and frequent road closure, however due to the low elevation, this mountain pass is the best area for first time winter hiking. The area around the pass has many beginner hiking and snowshoe trails such as Franklin Fall. With an elevation of just 400 feet and a distance of 2 miles, Franklin Fall is the perfect destination for those looking for a beautiful day hike. In the Wintertime, the waterfall and the icicle formation along the mountain walls make this hike one of the most popular destinations in the area. Make sure to arrive early to avoid the crowd.

Check out more beginner winter trails to explore for solo hikers.

Road Tips

Rapidly changing weather and road conditions in the pass can affect your winter road-trip. Here are a few things to do to better prepare.

  • Always check weather and avalanche conditions before hiking snowy trails. The Northwest Avalanche Center is a good place to check weather conditions.
  • Research which trails are open for hiking or snowshoeing. The Washington Trail Association provides detailed report on all hiking trails in Washington. The report includes trail information such as elevation, difficulty, pass needed, camp sites and many more.
  • Be flexible. As mentioned above, fast changing weather conditions make winter trips more dangerous. Stay alert and turn around when conditions change.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. With the sun setting earlier, it is easy to get lost in the dark with the trail covered in snow. Be safe and have fun.

Hope these travel tips have inspired you to journey on your first solo winter road-trip. Thank you Cabana for allowing me to enjoy a winter escape through the cascades!

For more from Mariame, visit her blog, Lifestyle Steps.

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