How to Pack for the Ultimate Winter Holiday
Packing for a summer vacation is nothing but a breeze. Stow a couple of shirts, a pair of flip flops, a sun hat and swimwear into your luggage and you’re good to go. But the same can’t be said for a winter getaway. Often, people don’t know what to pack for winter vacation – especially those who live in a tropical country. Here, we’ve prepared a packing list for the cold weather, to get you going.
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One of the easiest ways to stay warm during winter: layers. We love tank tops and camisoles because they can be worn under anything for added warmth, and weigh next to nothing so you don’t have to worry about weight and space. Bringing tanks and camisoles with you on your trip also allows you to wear them later on your trip – in warmer weather, for exercise, or to sleep in.
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Another base layer option is a thin, short or long-sleeve shirt, preferably made of merino wool. This kind of top is best in a solid color that can be worn under other “normal” tops, or that can be worn as a top all its own. The goal here is to have something that keeps your core warm. Once you have something that acts as your core, you can move onto your presentation layers.
When shopping for winter coats, look for something waterproof. Obviously, coats come in multiple weights and temperature ratings, so you’ll want to find something that matches your environment.
Most heavy winter coats are considered “hard shells” – which means they’re waterproof. Look for one that’s labeled as breathable because they let evaporated sweat escape from the inside of the coat. Unfortunately, the most breathable coats are also the most expensive.
If you’re not traveling to a super cold environment then you might consider getting a soft shell jacket. Soft shell jackets have better breathability but they’re not completely waterproof (they’re fine for light/medium rain).
The days of massive mittens and wool gloves are gone, at least for smart travelers. Today, you can get a great pair of warm, waterproof, yet thin gloves that weigh only a few ounces and will take up only a few square inches of your luggage. The breathability makes them wearable across a wide temperature range, the waterproofing makes them useful in the worst weather, and the tight packaging makes them very low impact both when packing and when carrying them around.
Given that your feet are on the front line of most weather you will encounter, you should really invest in a good pair of boots to protect your feet. A solid, decent-looking pair of low-frill winter boots that you wear right onto the airplane will come through for you again and again during a winter trip. Here’s an important note to consider: Make sure to wear them on the plane to avoid having to find space in your luggage (and to avoid them being counted against any weight restrictions). If you absolutely have to pack them, fill them up with items to save on space.
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Though often overlooked, a raincoat will not only assist you in a flash storm but also keep that ice cold wind from blasting through your layers and to your skin. It’s a blessing in disguise, and is also be thin enough to become an extra layer! They especially will come in handy when you’re hand feeding pigeons in Venice and one decides to make you their next toilet spot!
A common, inevitable occurrence of winter in all countries is the flu. Pack some Advil, Panadol and Berocca to keep you on your feet and away from catching any nasty coughs or colds that may surface during your time abroad. (Popping a clove of garlic at the first sign of a cold also wards it off.)
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If all of your clothing items are in neutral or solid colors, it’s easier to mix and match them. Use accessories as a way to change up outfits from day to day. It may be the same coat every day, but you can wear different hats, scarves and gloves to change up your look. It’s much easier to pack lighter with multiple hats and scarves rather than multiple coats.
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Here comes the most important part of the packing! Before you start, you need to decide if you’re bringing a carry-on bag or luggage. If you’re trying to fit everything into a carry-on sized bag, you’ll find it hard to squeeze in the bulkier winter clothing. We’d advise going for travel backpacks because they allow for hands-free travel and make maneuvering stairs and busy streets a breeze.
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It’s best to stick with a backpack that’s carry-on size, but don’t go overboard if you choose a backpack over the carry-on limit. For reference, a carry-on size roughly translates to roughly 45L (give or take). Personally, we wouldn’t get a bag that’s over 60L.
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The Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Anti-Theft 45L Carry-On Travel Backpack is perfect for winter getaways. This full-featured backpack is extremely comfortable and is equipped with a number of anti-theft technologies. Armed with eXomesh® slashguard, it’ll protect your bag and belongings from cut and run thieves. There’s also the puncture resistant Toughzip that helps prevent anyone from prying your luggage open.