Everyone tries to give you packing tips for a winter getaway to the tropics, but what if you like the chilled weather? How do you pack for your winter vacation to Seattle or New York City? Travel packing for wintry weather isn’t as difficult as people make it out to be. It’s going to take a little more time to pack lightly, but if you know how to properly pack your bags you won’t be lugging around any more weight than you need to. If you’re tired of listening to vague advice like ‘Don’t pack too much stuff’ and “Make sure you pack a hat,” here are some truly helpful tips for packing light that will make your 2017 winter getaway even better than it was last year.
PACKING YOUR TOPS
You dress in layers for winter weather and you pack in layers for a winter vacation. Start with your base layers. Camisoles and tank tops can be worn under anything and take up very little weight or space in your suitcase. You can also wear them to work out and while you sleep. If you want a thinner base layer, opt for the long-sleeve t-shirt. Bring a solid color shirt that can be worn under your other ‘normal’ tops or as a top on its own.
Thin tops are easy to fold. Fold them like you would a traditional dress shirt and then fold each in half lengthwise once more time. They can form the bottom layer of your suitcase. On top of them, pack a few trusty cardigans and a wool flannel or two. If you’re traveling smart, your tops should only take up half the room in your suitcase. Wear your jacket. You’re obviously going to need one during your winter getaway and a good jacket is going to be too bulky for your travel bag.
BACKING YOUR BOTTOMS
When you’re traveling to a wintry destination, jeans are an excellent go-to option. If it’s cold, you can slip on a base layer of leggings or tights underneath to keep your body heat close. Corduroy pants are another warm option to pack for your winter excursions. The tricky thing about corduroy pants is that they’re thick. Once you’ve folded them down in your suitcase, they can take up a lot of unnecessary space and add a surprising amount of weight. If you’re traveling from a wintry area to a wintry area, consider wearing your corduroys as your travel outfit to save space in your suitcase. The same goes for lined jeans. Sometimes traveling smart means knowing what to wear as you travel as well as how to properly pack your suitcase.
Shoes are hard to pack, but boots are worse. If you’re bringing boots with you on a trip, it’s best to wear them while you travel. These bulky items take up the most space in your suitcase. Even worse, the dirt from the bottom of your shoes can ruin everything else in your suitcase. If you do have room or feel the need to pack boots in your suitcase, use a plastic bag to keep the mess contained. You can stuff socks and other accessories inside the boots inside the bag, but it’s best to keep the soles away from anything they could stain.
For your other pair of shoes, find something waterproof. You will encounter some type of precipitation at almost any wintry destination and the last thing you want is to be running around in cold, wet shoes. If you aren’t sure whether your shoes are waterproof or not, buy some waterproof coating for them just to be safe.
Your socks, underwear, hats and scarves all need to fit in the suitcase, too. Not all packing tips are directly about what goes into your suitcase! You can wear your scarf, hat and gloves while traveling. Socks and underwear need to be packed away, except for the ones you’re (hopefully) wearing, obviously. One of the best ways to pack a suitcase with accessory items is to fill a compression sack and deflate so it takes up less space. If you’re filling your compression bag with clothing items, you can fit quite a lot into a small space. Compression bags are also an effective way to squeeze shoes into your suitcase if you need to add dress shoes to your vacation wardrobe.
Winter vacations can be magical even if it’s not holiday time. If you know how to properly pack your suitcase, you’ll be better prepared once you arrive and less stressed while you travel. As a winter vacation kind of person, it’s time to put these winter packing tips into practice.
— Julie Grossman