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Planning your winter vacation? Find out my top tips for packing for winter travel so you will be prepared. Scroll down to read more!

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Saving money, energy and time is paramount for most travelers.

If you are traveling somewhere cold in winter months, bulkier clothing, winter jackets, and gloves can weigh down your checked luggage, making travel more expensive than necessary.

And when you add in kids, all that luggage multiplies.

These time and energy-saving tips when packing for winter travel will not only ease your load but potentially save money and your sanity.

Packing for Winter Travel Destinations

Take time before you jump into packing for winter travel with some pre-travel preparation to get you started on the right foot.

First and foremost, because winter travel items can be heavy and bulky, consider traveling with just a carry-on. If you can swing it, using a backpack designed specifically for backpacker travel vs. rolling luggage can make all the difference.

Navigating rolling luggage on icy or snowy walkways can prove challenging. It can also be difficult to ensure your luggage stays dry so low to the ground.

Keeping your items in a backpack, not only frees up your hands to wrangle an errant toddler or two, but it can also keep your luggage dry and protected from the elements.

Another way to ensure your belongings stay dry is to use a waterproof spray on soft-luggage or backpack.

Waterproofing your travel items before your trip is a great way to prolong the life of your item and keep your clothing dry. Waterproofing your winter travel gear is a five-minute task that can save you time, money and aggravation while traveling.

You may want to bring along a stainless steel bottle for water or keeping liquids hot during winter travel.

If you’re not carrying a bottle on the plane, stash one in your luggage and store small items like jewelry or toothbrushes inside.

Keep reading for other handy tips on what to tuck into small spaces while packing for winter travel.   

Find out my top winter packing tips that will save you time and money
Be smart about what you are packing for your winter vacation.

What Types of Clothing Should you Pack for Winter Travel?

Choose black or dark clothing when packing for winter travel.

While you may be inclined to reach for bright, fun colors to offset the mood of long, dreary winter days, you’ll remember from Science class, black absorbs wavelengths of sunlight.

When you wear black clothing, you’ll stay warmer as darker objects absorb light and convert it to heat.

Speaking of sunlight, despite the fact that winter sunlight is weaker, when it reflects off snow it can significantly impact your eyes.

Polarized sunglasses will block damaging reflected light and reduce glare.

Don’t forget the sunscreen too, a sunburn from the reflection of the snow is just as damaging as the summer sun.

Purchases like thermals to wear under your clothing will keep you warm and dry and may save you from having to pack ultra-bulky clothing.

They fold or roll well into luggage and can even be stuffed inside hats or side pockets.

Speaking of hats, when traveling in winter, you’re likely to be covered up much of the time so change up your look with different winter hats.

Save the jewelry for warmer destinations and accessorize with fun scarves and hats.

When choosing layers  be mindful of hoodies and fleece pullovers with hoods. If your winter outerwear has a hood, choose layering items without a hood to eliminate bulkiness and discomfort.

Leave the cotton socks at home when planning your winter travel packing and opt for wool socks instead.

Wool often has a bad reputation for being uncomfortable and itchy. Thermo-regulation is the Scientific way of saying that wool fibers help your feet warm in winter.

For a less itchy option, Merino wool is perfect for all seasons and has been increasingly used in newborn clothing for its thermo-regulation factor. 

Handy Accessories to Include When Packing for Winter Travel

  1. A small travel umbrella can protect your camera or phone when taking photos outdoors.
  2. Hand-warmer packs are great for stuffing into gloves and boots or winter coat pockets.
  3. Use wet bags like those used for diaper bags to keep sopping socks and gloves away from other clothing.
  4. Fingerless gloves are great when traveling in winter when you need to stay warm but able to access documents and devices. (those gloves with the tech finger never work for me.)
  5. Hoard silica gel packets when you buy new products throughout the year or purchase some to throw into a wet bag to draw out moisture.
  6. A hard case for your camera and devices in case they fall onto ice or in water, snow or slush

Hand-warmer packs and silica gel packets are useful winter travel items that fit into small spaces like a packed water bottle or thermos. The above-mentioned winter travel items can eliminate potential travel disasters and inconveniences. 

Make sure to pack for your winter vacation smartly so you have more time and money to play
Being prepared with your winter packing list cuts the stress so you can enjoy your winter vacation!

Winter Travel Packing Tips You May Not Have Considered

Of course, typical winter packing travel tips will remind you to wear as much as comfortably possible on the plane.

This way you won’t have to include big, heavy bulky items in your checked baggage, which will help keep your fees down.

It is also widely recommended to leave your own skis and snowboards at home and rent them when you arrive to a ski resort. While not the most frugal option, renting saves time and energy.  

But what about those one-off tips that you may not have considered?

If you’re traveling from a warm climate to a cold one, you may just pack your earmuffs and scarf away in your checked luggage.

These items, however, can do double-duty on an airplane. Earmuffs work well to keep out the cold, but can also muffle sound and help you rest easier (if you’re not a parent and have the luxury of sleeping during a flight.)

A large blanket scarf can be a trendy, warm addition to your winter travel packing list, but it can also be draped over your body on the flight. 

Packing strategically when it comes to winter travel adventures can mean the difference between a stressful vacation and an amazing one.

Successful packing for winter travel just takes a little out-of-the-box thinking and preparation. These tips and a positive attitude can help make winter travel easy and fun.

Where are you heading this winter?


Marcie writes the family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. When she's not traveling the world, she's home in Seattle with her husband and two little boys.

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