What to Pack When Traveling to a Colder Climate

From travel influencers to vacation bloggers, it seems like all you hear about online is summer travel. Rail routes across Italy in May, beach trips in July, and summer backpacking trips seem to get all of the hype. But there’s something to be said about traveling during the winter months or to a climate that’s cooler altogether! Yes, it’s different than packing up your bathing suit and relaxing at an all-inclusive resort, but it can be just as rewarding and invigorating.
Plus, traveling to chillier climates during the off-season can be much more affordable than heading to Hawaii during the summertime. So if you’re preparing for a trip to Amsterdam in January or Australia in June, you’ll need to pack for the weather accordingly. At a loss while packing your bags? Check out our tips below:

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Lots of layers

The key to cold weather packing is bringing plenty of layers that you can mix, match, and feel comfortable in. There’s truly nothing worse than trying to explore a new place when you’re too distracted by the harsh weather. Keep your base layer clothing simple (jeans, basic tees, etc.) so that you can pile on other layers as needed and fit in like a local. Nothing makes you stick out like a sore thumb like a totally mis-matched set of winter clothes.

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Photo by Lee Campbell

Depending on how cold the climate is, you might want to take your layering even more seriously by bringing thermal clothes that you can wear underneath your clothes. If you don’t have these and want to save up your travel fund, a pair of leggings will do the trick!
Here’s another tip: if you’re sure that your travel destination will stay cool the entire duration of your trip, don’t even mess around with packing shorts, tanks, or lighter clothing. Chances are, they’ll just take up valuable space in your bag.


Comfortable and durable shoes

If you travel as I do, you’ll want to explore each and every corner of the place you’re traveling to which means you’ll be walking…a lot. So, you’ll need to invest in a pair of shoes that are:

  1. Comfortable, warm
  2. Durable
  3. StylishREAD: 4 Things New Travelers Should Know

While you’re traveling in colder climates, you’ll definitely want to have your feet covered—especially if snow or rain is in the forecast! A pair of Chelsea boots for women or leather work boots for men would be ideal options for exploring the town on foot.

A sturdy and stylish coat

Whether you’re exploring the city streets and holiday markets of Germany in December or trekking through mountain towns in January, you should definitely have a coat that’s up for your adventure.
For city slickers…
If you’re traveling through New York, Paris, or some other fashionable city during the winter season, you’ll want to think about the look of your outer layer in addition to the warmth and fit. Longwool trench coats, sherpa-lined leather, or flannel jackets are good options that will keep you warm and stylish throughout your trip.
For mountaineers
If you’ll be exploring the outdoors for the majority of your trip or plan to be exposed to extreme conditions, you’ll want to be extra careful with the type of jacket you choose.
An insulated puffy jacket would be a great layer to wear underneath a windbreaker, raincoat, or ski jacket if you anticipate wet weather. And if you plan on doing a lot of outdoor activities, like skiing in Japan or mountaineering in Colorado, you might consider investing in gear made with GORE-TEX, which is a breathable waterproofing material.


Cozy accessories

In addition to your base layers, you’ll also want to bring along some warm accessories to add to your look if the air gets breezy. A knit beanie, a blanket scarf, and a pair of thick socks are all necessary accessories to keep the heat in even if the temperatures drop.
If you’re running low on bag space…remember that you can likely find extra items you might need, like gloves or a spare scarf when you get to your destination! Plus, grabbing a handmade item from a local artisan could be a really special (and useful) souvenir to remember your cool trip!

Wrapping up

As you pack your bags for a cold-weather vacation, keep these packing tips handy to make sure you’re ready for whatever weather comes your way.

READ: How Traveling Adds Intimacy Level with Partner