Tips for holiday travelers | NevadaAppeal.com

Tips for holiday travelers

Karl Horeis, Appeal Staff Writer

Highway 395 in Washoe Valley was closed Friday afternoon after a multi-car accident. The highway was intermittently covered with ice and snow. | Photo by Rick Gunn

Almost 500,000 Nevadans are expected to travel at least 50 miles during the holiday season, according to a travel survey by AAA Nevada.

That’s a lot of travelers on the roads and in the air at a time when a series of weather systems has coated the Silver State in white.

A five-car accident forced the closure of Highway 395 in Washoe Valley for about three hours Friday as crews worked to clear the cars and salt the roadway.

“It’s the same thing every year. The wind gets to blowing that snow across the highway, people are traveling on dry road and all of a sudden they hit that ice and start slipping off the roadway,” said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Zacha.

More snow is expected through the weekend, and possibly into Christmas Eve. “We’re looking at a series of systems here,” said Mark Brown, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno. “A slight system could be approaching after Christmas. It’s just a hint of something that we’re looking at right now.”

For the 379,000 travelers expected to take to the roads over the next week, AAA advises they be prepared for all weather conditions. Automobile travelers should carry tire chains for icy roads and be ready with boots, gloves and coats. Other items every car on the road should have include flashlights, jumper cables, flares or reflective triangles and a first-aid kit.

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In a sign of hope for the airline industry, AAA Nevada expects a 5 percent increase in the number of people traveling by air this year compared to last.

“An estimated increase in the number of people flying is an encouraging sign for the travel industry,” said Lisa Foster, AAA spokesperson.

Officials at Reno/Tahoe International Airport advise air travelers to be familiar with new security measures put in place in response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Travelers are urged to arrive early because security requirements will add time to the passenger check-in process. Travelers flying of Reno/Tahoe are urged to arrive 90 minutes to 2 hours early.

In order to expedite the security checks, travelers are advised to pack light and not bring any sharp objects, which will be removed by security officers. That means no fingernail files, no small scissors and no pocket knives. Also, rather than have metal keys or cell phones in pockets when they go through metal detectors, passengers are advised to put those items in their carry-on baggage and have photo identification ready. Only ticketed passengers will be allowed through security checkpoints.

Construction of a new canopy along the front of the airport will cause delays. The traffic lane nearest to the airport’s terminal building will be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Curbside SkyCap service at Reno/Tahoe International Airport is available.

ON THE NET

For road conditions: http://www.nvroads.com

Reno/Tahoe International Airport Website: http://www.renoairport.com

For additional information: http://www.TSATraveltips.US

or call: 1-877-NV-ROADS

AIR TRAVELER TIPS

— Do not pre-wrap holiday gifts you plan to carry on board the plane. Security personnel may be required to unwrap and open wrapped packages.

— Limit your carry-on baggage. FAA requires all passengers to be limited to one carry-on bag and one personal item (examples include: purse, briefcase, computer/case, backpack). Pack light, fewer check-in and carry-on items will speed the hand searches at ticket counters, and screening at airport security checkpoints.

— Have photo identification ready upon check-in and at departing gate such as driver’s license or passport.

— Only ticketed passengers will be allowed through security checkpoints. See airline ticket counter personnel for special needs.

— Electronic Ticket customers must bring a printed itinerary or receipt verifying flight information.

— Call the airline prior to departure to ensure flight information is correct, and that the flight is on time. For specific flight information, contact the airline.