While most of us look forward to visiting family for the holidays, a disruption in traveling can undermine the whole experience. Unfortunately, the most traveled time of the year also corresponds with a majority of the world’s worst weather. Harsh cold snaps aren’t uncommon, as many of us know. Whether it’s a serious snow storm or sheets of ice that threaten the safety of planes trying to take off and land, winter climate can make getting home for the holidays a hassle. Which is why all travelers need to prepare for worst case scenarios when they fly. Simply arriving airport ahead of time, while a good idea, won’t help you much in the event of a delayed or cancelled flight.

To combat the unforeseen complications of trying to fly in December, check out these handy tips for all travelers.

Carry on

Sometimes it’s just not possible to carry your luggage on to the flight, especially if you’re traveling somewhere for an extended period of time or with a large family. However, whenever you can, always avoid checking bags. Carry on luggage not only makes flying more convenient, it can save you in the event of a flight delay. If you end up getting stuck in an airport for an extended period of time, you’ll eventually want access to some basic toiletries such as a toothbrush or contact solution. Prescriptions in particular should be carried with you.

However, necessary carry-on items aren’t just limited to toiletries. Being stuck without a cell phone charger can make a bad situation worse. And if you’re flying internationally, you should always keep a travel plug adapter handy.

Follow airlines on social media

Many airlines have smartly incorporated their social media channels into a broader customer service initiative. Twitter in particular is commonly used to post real-time updates on flight info. Additionally, airlines are typically quick to respond to customers online. Social media is a public forum, and airlines want to put on a good face for everyone. Their customer service agents interact with people’s comments and requests and, although all users should be respectful, they also field reasonable complaints. Following and reaching out to your airline on Twitter can be a great way to stay current with flight info, and address any legitimate grievances.

Track flight info

As with social media, most airlines have kept up with digital trends. In addition to running robust online campaigns, they give customers the option to stay in touch via email or text alerts. During the holidays, flight info can change at a moment’s notice. Blizzards can change direction or become more intense without warning, hampering airlines’ ability to operate. Even an intense shower can ground flights. By keeping in touch with the airline through texts, you’ll have the timely info you need to avoid weather-related delays (or any kind of delays, really). Make sure you check your texts before you leave the house. It may save you hours you’ll otherwise spend impatiently waiting at the airport.