How To Pack Light for Winter Travel: 7 Tips to Beat the Cold Weather 'Blues'

Ahhhh, the cold weather blues. I don't know about you, but winter is my least favorite season. I hate to say it, but it's true. Less day light so my mood is more blue. If it snows/sleets/rains I stay inside while listening to the blues (well, jazz really). And freezing cold temperatures so my poor toes and fingers literally turn blue (p.s. if you live in a warm climate and you voluntarily travel to the cold... must be nice. All I got to say on that...).

Well there are some good things about winter. Hot chocolate by the fire (if you don't live in Korea like me), cuddling and getting cozy, cute winter boots, and winter sports! In the winter you can go tubing, snowboarding, skiing, while simultaneously falling gracefully (aka crashing) in the snow! It's a comfort to know that the joy of these activities can relieve your winter blues in a jiffy, especially if you're with good company and a few evening cocktails. So thinking about these things doesn't give me the blues, but sometimes thinking of the journey to get there does...

How to Pack Light for Winter & Cold Weather Travel. Learn the Top 7 Tips and beat the cold weather blues. Plus get the FREE TRAVEL CHECKLIST & PLANNER!

Which brings me to traveling. Well packing to be more specific. You want to pack light and feel like a jetsetter, but you have to pack those cute winter boots, and a winter jacket, long johns, chunky sweaters, scarfs, hats, gloves, etc, etc, etc. 

Well lucky for you I have some tips that may help you pack light for the winter. And when I say light I mean carry-on bag only. Plus most of these tips can even work when traveling from cold climates to warmer ones. #win.

So check out the video below for my 7 tips on How To Pack Light for Winter Travel then scroll down for some more detailed deets (redundant?). 


7 Tips to Pack Light for Winter Travel

1. Multi-Purpose Items

Pack multi-purpose items such as a scarf. If you're flying to your destination this becomes extra handy as it's one less thing you have to pack in your carry on as you can keep it on your person. That way when you're on your flight or maybe even in your car, you have a comfy, soft, and warm pillow and blanket that you can also use while you're on the slopes. 

There are other multi-purpose items besides scarves. You can also pack packable items, which brings me to me next tip...

2. Packable Clothing

These are items that can be compressed into themselves, aka packable. (not sure if packable is a real word - my spellcheck says it isn't but I'm okay with breaking the rules every once in a while). For example I have a Northface Jacket that can be folded and compressed into it's own pocket. Gotta say, I loooove this thing and I'm even wearing it as I type this (it's cold at the school where I teach - and don't worry I'm on break:).  

In addition to being light and compact you can use packable pieces as added layers of warmth. I use mine as a liner underneath my thick winter jacket and have even used it under pea coats as well.  And if you're like me, you'll even use it as your travel pillow! One thing I will mention is that they can get pricey. So I would only invest in something like this if you plan to travel often or if you need a 'liner' type of item to add some extra warmth to your winter wardrobe.

This is the one I have: 

Women's Northface Thermoball Jacket  

Men's Northface Thermoball Jacket 


3. Thermal Clothing  

Thermal clothing is similar to the traditional long johns that we grew up with, only they're specifically made to provide extra warmth. They come in a variety of colors and you can get them as long sleeves, short sleeves, turtlenecks, and as full length leggings as well. They are also thin and lightweight and I wear them daily in the winter underneath my clothing. They take up next to no space if you're packing them and can even fit in little crevices and corners if scrunched and balled up. Plus who cares if they're wrinkled, they're under your clothing!

I should note that not all thermal clothing is created equally. Some are more effective than others and the price variations will prove that. I purchased all my thermal clothing here in Korea at both Uniqlo and Costco. And while they're not the best quality at those places, the price point was right and they do the trick for me. 


4. Plan Your Outfits

This is a tip that I feel many take for granted. We tend to be 'just in case travelers' and pack for every catastrophe, mishap, or random adventure that can potentially happen. Well I don't know about you but once I'm actually on vacation the less I feel like putting effort into what the perfect outfit should be and the more I put emphasis on the here and now and just go with the flow. Ain't nobody got time to be thinking about what to wear when there's tubing to be done!

That being said I really recommend that you plan your outfits in advance. You know how many days your going to be gone and what clothing you feel and look best in. Pack those. And if you followed the previous tip the thermal clothing can help you out in two ways here:

  1. If you wear clothes that are you're favorite but not the warmest, thermal clothing will provide an extra layer of warmth without taking up bulky space in your luggage (or even on your body for that matter).
  2. Depending on how long you're gone you may want to wear something more than once. If you're wearing thermal clothing, it will provide a layer of protection between your body and your quality clothing. Aka you won't be sweating in your favorite shirt. Aka you won't stink. Aka win win situation. #youknowyouhavewornsomethingmorethanoncebefore #longasshashtags

P.S. If you need help planning your outfits in advance try using my free travel checklist & planner and also check out this video.

5. Use Packing Cubes

Packing Cubes could be one of my favorite inventions evaa. I use them for long term travel, weekend travel,  and even for single night trips (always gotta get my moneys worth, naw I mean?). They really compress your clothing down and keep them nice and organized, and many even help you separate clean clothes from dirty clothes. 

My favorite packing cubes are Spacepak by Flight 001. I have several different cubes but started out with this 3 pack in grey (it was on sale for 50% off at the time). They are definitely an investment but if you plan on doing a lot of traveling, are interested in carry-on only packing, or have a quest to fit all of your belongings in 2 suitcases and 2 carry-on bags like I do, then packing cubes are definitely for you. 

Also, if you are interested in a review I'm doing of my packing cubes in the near future then sign up for my email list below to get notified

Oh, and I should also mention that if you don't own packing cubes, you can utilize my next tip...

6. Use Your Shoes

If you've seen previous videos of mine you'll probably know this is my favorite tip! Use your shoes for everything. You can stuff socks, undergarments, gloves, jewelry, electronics, and more inside your shoes. Shoes are free space inside of luggage! 

As an example I'm going to use the scenario of flying from warm weather to cold weather destinations. If you have to pack heavy winter boots inside of your luggage then stuff bulkier items such as scarves, hats, and your thermal clothing inside them. This ways you're still saving some space and utilizing every nook and cranny made available to you in your luggage. 

7. Bulkiest Items For Travel

While we're on the subject of bulky shoes let's segue into my last tip: Wear your bulkiest items while you travel. This means shoes, jackets, scarves, etc. Why? Because those items are the most cumbersome and tend to be the heaviest. Plus they're also layer-able (I love making up able words) so you can easily take them off once on board or when you're in the car/train/bus.

If you're traveling from a warmer climate to a colder climate this of course is a little harder. My advice is this:

  • Bring your scarf and your bulky winter jacket with you on the plane (not the packable jacket). Once on board use your bulky jacket as a blanket or place it in the overhead bin above. Then use your scarf as a pillow or maybe even as a warm coverall.
  • Pack your heavy shoes in your luggage and stuff them with your gloves, hat, and thermals if you can fit them all in.
  • Ensure your winter boots are easily accessible when you pack them. That way when you arrive at your destination and you're already freezing your butt off you can quickly grab your gloves, hat, and maybe a thermal shirt from one convenient place - your winter shoes:)
  • Then of course put your winter shoes on as well since your toes will be turning blue at any given moment (it comes full circle)!

And that's it. Those are my 7 Tips for Winter Travel.



Before you go let me know in the comments below what your favorite winter/cold weather packing tip is. It can be one of my own or one that you use for yourself! Then make sure to get the free Travel Checklist & Planner if you haven't done so already. That's all for now. Until the next time...



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