How To Pack Light For Winter Travel & Cold Weather

This is a guest post by David Henderson, an avid traveler who has been all over Europe, seeking the most unforgettable experiences at every turn. His favourite season to travel is winter and he's an expert when it comes to pre-travel prep and packing. 

Packing light and cold weather are often two things that do not go together as winter clothing can be heavy and very bulky which makes packing light only more difficult. If you are heading to Europe once the latest lockdown restrictions have been lifted then you will definitely need winter clothes to keep you warm and dry whilst taking in the sights, the culture, and the seasonal surroundings in the form of the Christmas markets and festivities.

In order to achieve maximum enjoyment on your travels you will need to make sure you pack the right clothes and essentials. If you want to see what essentials you need, and how to maintain lightweight luggage carry on reading!

Start With The Luggage

Starting your packing with great luggage will be a huge help when it comes to neatly packing away your belongings and travelling with the luggage. Many suitcases appear to be suitable, but you may find the packing space inside is limited once you have opened it up, or the weight of the luggage is excessive and begins to eat into your luggage allowance.

Read here about What to do in Budapest in Winter.

Plan Your Outfits

Having countless outfit choice is great, but when you are travelling it can be a negative as the amount you have to pack in multiple suitcases, and the time waste deciding on an outfit can be huge, which doesn’t help when it comes to packing light. A great way to pack light is to select your outfits before you pack and choose interchangeable and coordinated outfits meaning you can have multiple outfits from minimal garments.

Pack Your Essentials

When I’m packing, I like to put my essentials to one side, so once I have the outfits, I need I can split the essentials between my items of luggage. When it comes putting your essentials together there is no right or wrong, these are the items that are essential for you. For me, I like to pack a well-stocked first aid kit, a filtering water bottle, my personalised hoodie from Banana Moon Clothing for relaxing and downtime, and my diary to keep a log of what I have been up to, my thoughts and future ideas.

Wear Your Heaviest Items

As winter clothing is heavy and bulky you can quickly run out of space and incur excessive baggage costs, which is not a great way to start your trip. If you have run out of space, or you are nearing the weight restriction you could consider wearing the heaviest and bulkiest items to travel in, as the garments you are wearing are not subject to weight restrictions meaning you can pack your thick winter coat and you heavy boots, just bear in mind that this may be a little uncomfortable for an extended journey.

Utilise You Carry-on

If you are struggling to squeeze additional items into your suitcase and losing hope that you will be able to pack your belongings, then fear not as we have a few handy tips. Firstly, if you are unsure about an item of clothing, then leave it. Secondly, utilise your carry-on bag, oyu can easily fit a few items of clothing in there, or even a pair of shoes or a change of clothes depending on the space you have available. It is worth mentioning that certain items are best kept in your main suitcase, such as any liquids as airlines have varying rules on what you can take in to the cabin of an aircraft.

Spending Christmas in Europe? Here's a guide to Austria's Best Christmas Markets.

8 thoughts on “How To Pack Light For Winter Travel & Cold Weather”

  1. Packing light during the colder months is seriously such a struggle, but you have some awesome tips here! I always plan my outfits although sometimes I end up bringing too many thinking I need to change for different events and look good as if I’m some major fashion blogger hahahhaaa. And yes to wearing your heaviest items! This reminds me an episode of Friends where Joey wears all his clothes to avoid baggage fees.

  2. Im glad I came across this article because packing for winter travel is always an issue. It is so much easier to pack summer clothes because they are lighter and take up less space. When we packed for a winter Eurotrip I looked absolutely ridiculous because I didn’t plan my outfits in advance. I walked around Europe looking like a bulky mismatched marshmallow trying to pile on the few oversized items I could fit in a suitcase.

  3. Packing is one of the things that I don’t like for winter travel. Good thing we can always wear the jacket, boots, and other heavy items. Although it’s not always working like that when you come from warmer destinations or when you go to warmer destinations. One good thing about it, since you will always be covered by a thick jacket, then you don’t really have to bring a lot of sweaters.

  4. Agree with all these points, I usually plan outfits and take photos of each of them before I head out. Some additional tips are bring a backpack as your second item instead of a purse (you can tuck a purse inside). Limit your number of shoes. Use a soft carry-on, easier to adjust any items that way. Also use a soft toiletries case, or even a ziplock bag, this also makes it easier to fit into small spaces. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I must admit that most times we avoid travelling to destinations with cold weather. We do after all live in Canada. But this year we may do local travel in Canada. So these packing tips may come in handy. When we have had luggage weight concerns we always try to put heavy items on (e.g. hiking boots) and fill our pockets too!

  6. Great hints on how to pack for a winter trip. I really like this time of the year, so I’d love to use your tips. I like the tip to select your outfits before you pack and choose interchangeable and coordinated outfits, and having multiple outfits from minimal garments.

  7. Thank you for sharing these tips. I’m from Southeast Asia and had NO IDEA what or how to pack for winter. So, this really helps. I will take your advice and start looking for the right luggage. Thanks again!

  8. I find myself using your last tip constantly as an avid over-packer – always stuffing extra things that don’t fit into my carry-on! I definitely agree to wear your heaviest items too. For me, that is always a pair of boots, jeans, and my thickest jacket, even if I have to tie it around my waist for the duration of the airport. Thanks for sharing!

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