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This is our guide to traveling to cold destinations. For our guide on how to enjoy a winter vacation to a tropical destination, stay tuned. When adventuring in the winter, the goal is to pack light, be stylish, and stay warm for the duration of your vacation. Many of us love to go on adventures during the winter. It's a time when we can reconnect with loved ones, recharge from our daily responsibilities, and visit a place when it's not humid and hot. The key to enjoying your time is to pack in a way that alleviates your stress while traveling.
Tip #1: Choose Your Location Wisely. This is our first secret to traveling in the winter for an excellent reason. Check the weather forecasts in all of your possible vacation spots to see the reality of what a winter vacation would feel like in that area. If you and your traveling companions love snow and rain (and are ready for genuinely brisk days), then Scotland may be the perfect option. A similar weather pattern awaits you in Scandinavia and most of Western Europe. If you would rather experience a more mild forecast, then plan on visiting the beautiful coasts of the Mediterranean. It all depends on what makes for the ideal winter vacation for you.
Tip #2: Find your Perfect Carry On. Choose the right carry on, regardless of whether you plan to check luggage or not. Having the right carry on is what separates the amateur from the seasoned traveler. Choose something large enough for all of your immediate necessities. Include two full outfits and your hygiene items. There is always the chance that your luggage will be delayed or even, God forbid, lost. Balance that concern with having a carry on that is small enough to ensure that you will be able to fit it in your plane's overhead compartment. For this reason, we suggest a hardshell 20" carry on for optimal ease.
Tip #3: Start with Basics. You always need less than you think you do. It's easy to begin packing by adding in your favorite stand-out pieces. Start with making sure you have room in your luggage for all of your essentials first. Pack your most versatile (and warm!) clothing items, such as jeans, pants, sweaters, base layers made of merino wool, and socks before anything else. Then, see how much room you have for accessories and statement pieces.
Tip #4: Pack One Pair of Shoes. Looking for an under-rated, but brilliant travel hack? Bring one versatile pair of shoes to make your luggage lighter and getting dressed every day that much easier. Of course, you may not be able to pull this off if you have special events or very diverse terrain ahead of you. However, if you can manage your travel with only one pair, we suggest something versatile and undeniably comfortable. For men, you can't go wrong with Dress Fast or Uptown Maverick. Both styles look sophisticated and understated with a variety of outfits. For the ladies, Shear Alpine is an ideal option if you like to feel put together at all times. The SamSport Chelsea Boot is another perfect option that goes with any outfit. All of these shoes will keep you from looking like a tourist—a priority for every savvy traveler. Even better, all of these styles either slip-on or have a convenient zipper for airport security.
Tip #5: Prioritize Warm Clothes. Be sure to include thermal leggings, warm socks, winter accessories such as a warm hat, and gloves when you are packing for your vacation. Merino wool is soft, comfortable, and temperature-regulating, so look for base layers made of this magical material. Staying warm and comfortable shouldn't require you to sacrifice style. Shop for items in warm natural fibers that also incorporate colorful natural dyes or textures.
Tip #6: Fly in Your Coat. Wear your coat and all your bulkiest, warmest items on the plane. Having these items with you on your flight increases the room that you have in your bag to pack all of your other essentials. Make sure you wear layers so that you can shed some of the bulk in case of overheating. If you are visiting a variety of locations on your vacation, begin your travels in the coldest environment and then work your way to the warmest. That way, getting off the plane, you won't have to carry your jacket.
Tip #7 Use Packing Cubes. The secret to packing well starts with organizational tools. Packing cubes are containers that help you stay organized no matter the amount of luggage you are taking with you abroad. They help maximize your space and help you be ready for each day throughout your stay. Cubes range in price and are easy to locate online and in stores. This trick can also help couples or families traveling together fit all of their items in one large suitcase without causing packing confusion. Once you start using packing cubes, you will find yourself never wanting to travel without them.
Tip #8: Stay Moisturized. You will need to stay moisturized and hydrated, regardless of where you are heading this winter. Bring along chapstick, moisturizers, face masks, aloe vera, and any other products that you know keep your skin in its best condition. In a similar vein, be careful to drink enough water by bringing a high-quality refillable water bottle. The last thing that you will want to experience on a winter vacation is dehydration.
Tip #9: Consider Travel Insurance. An easy way to ensure that your trip doesn't have a dark cloud hanging over it—buy travel insurance. When you're planning a trip, many of the horror stories you hear revolve around stolen, lost, or broken property. The best way to prepare for that possibility is to be insured.
Tip #10: Choose Your Travel Companions Wisely. For families, this may be a bit complicated. We're not suggesting leaving your kids behind, unless you want to, of course. You can choose precisely who comes with you on this vacation. Choose flexible travel companions who know how to make even the annoying parts of travel feel a bit lighter. Although we can't tell you which of your friends you should choose, we do suggest leaving behind anyone who reacts poorly to surprises. You're on an adventure—surprises are inevitable.