Winter Travel packing Tips
Winter is officially here with the kickoff of the holiday season and December already well underway (where has 2021 gone?!), which means traveling just got a bit more complex because packing all those layers and boots is never easy. Whenever I travel, especially if I’m flying, I prefer only taking a carry-on whenever possible. I really hate lugging around too much! I’m all about simplifying my life wherever I can. During the winter though, there’s much more of a formula and a few hacks I try to use to make the most out of my suitcase space. I’m sharing my best tips below plus my winter travel essentials list! If you have anything to add, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Get double use out of packing space where you can
You can’t leave an inch of space unused when trying to pack all your winter must-haves so I’ll pack smaller items like socks, scarves, gloves, etc. inside boots, hats – anything with extra negative space. This way I’m capitalizing on all the very valuable real estate inside my bag. Don’t leave any space unused! I also love to wear the most bulky items on travel days to save space like beanies, chunky boots or heavy chunky jackets/coats.
Pack lightweight yet warm items
This is a quality over quantity thing for me. I’d rather pack one cashmere sweater and/or a cashmere scarf that I know will keep me warm but doesn’t weigh a lot or take up a lot of space. This is a really great sweater option, or if you’re looking for a scarf, I love all the color options for this one. Both of these are classic wardrobe essentials that you’ll have for years, which you know I love! I always make sure to have the perfect warm base as well thats pretty basic but will make all the difference when layering under statement pieces. I have cashmere long underwear, wool t-shirts, and even a cashmere tank top to layer underneath everything just to keep my center warm. My favorite is always packing a lightweight thin puffer vest (the best is Patagonia or north face) to wear undershot my coats and jackets. It’s hidden enough so you don’t see it but adds a great extra layer of warmth. This is where the material is EVERYTHING. You really can’t go cheap and stay warm. Sometimes investing in a few key warm pieces is all you need.
Plan, plan, plan!
This tip is great whether you’re traveling in the summer or winter, but is especially helpful when it comes to packing winter clothes. Yes, taking the time to plan your daily outfits can be time-consuming leading up to your trip but I love it for two main reasons. First, it saves so much space. Tons! Second, it takes the guesswork out of getting ready every day. I even sometimes take iPhone shots of my outfits or write out a list of different outfits so I can refer to it when needed while packing or while on vacay. If you prefer giving yourself options like I do, see the next tip…
Pack mix and match items
I totally understand wanting to have some variety and options when traveling. Things come up or plans change and it’s nice to have more than one thing to choose from when this happens. Because of this, when you’re planning everything, lay out your options and come up with a few different combos for each item. This will make your outfits feel fresh! Not only that, but this will help you get the most bang out of your packing. My favorite is to pack a few pieces that can be mixed easily with different outfits just styled different ways. Sets are always amazing for this.
I know no one wants to hear this, but winter shoes take up too much space. Depending on what you’re planning on doing, I’d aim for two pairs plus the pair you wear to travel in. I think that should cover all your bases, but obviously it depends how long your trip is, where you’re going exactly and the types of activities you’re doing. Ultimately though, if you need to create more space in your bag, if you re-evaluate your shoe situation you’ll likely find something you can take out. I always like to take a pair of doc Martens because they are perfect for the cold and walking in (airport shoes) and then a pair of cozy shoes like Uggs for downtime and just staying cozy. If I’m planning on going to nicer places and need to be fancier I will fit in a chic pair of booties as well.
Winter Travel Essentials List
1-2 solid tights
1 warm turtleneck or sweater to layer
1 thin cashmere or wool tights
1 packable down jacket (always good to wear bulkier items on the plane if you’re flying)
1 pair of gloves
2 pairs of boot and/or sneakers (for boots, I think one pair that’s more stylish and one pair that’s more functional)
2-4 pairs warm socks
1-2 pairs of pants
1 puffer vest for layering
1-2 long sleeve/regular tees for layering
I hope this is helpful as you pack up and plan for your next winter getaway!