Travelling to a cold-weather country for the first time? Here are some packing hacks … from a fellow first-timer!
In exactly three weeks from now, I’ll be en route to London. And. I. Can’t. Wait. Not only is it going to be my first time travelling out of Asia, it’s also going to be my very first winter holiday!
I’m so incredibly psyched about my trip, I’ve already packed my luggages – one for checking in, the other, a carry-on. Thanks to the many useful tips I gleaned from the Internet and my well-travelled friends, I managed to pack two weeks’ worth of winter essentials, and still have a fair amount of free space in my luggage! Here’s how I did it – and hopefully, what you’re about to read will be helpful to you in your next winter holiday packing, too.
• You may have heard about the clothes-rolling technique, which helps save luggage space. This applies to clothing items made of relatively thin material – thermal wear, light sweaters, long-sleeved shirts – but certainly not to your heavy-duty winter wear! For thick clothing items like padded jackets, rolling them up would, on the contrary, minimise your luggage space. Instead, fold them in a manner that would optimally fit within the four corners of your luggage so they are spread as thinly as possible. This can be the base layer in your luggage. Alternatively, hand-carry your winter coat with you up the plane. This will free up even more luggage space, as well as keep you from freezing your butt off after your plane touches down.
• Layer up! The good thing about cold-weather travelling is that, with smart layering, you probably wouldn’t sweat that much. This means, you can mix and match your clothes and wear each item at least three times – no need for a washing machine! Especially if you’re going to be indoors (like museums or shopping malls) every so often, you wouldn’t want to walk around in a warm wool sweater without having the option of removing it when you’re starting to perspire. Start with a base layer made of materials that wick moisture away from your body. The next layer can be any regular top – light sweater, blouse, T-shirt, etc. Finally, the outer layer would be your winter jacket – down, fleece, wool, etc. Of course, how you layer your clothes depends on how cold your destination is going to be. If you know you’ll experience sub-zero temperatures, pile on more insulating layers if you wish to stay alive.
• As for your bottoms – let’s be honest – one pair is enough to last you for two weeks. Stick to versatile options like dark denim jeans or black pants. For the latter, find one made out of corduroy, a durable fabric that help keeps you warm. If you’re going to spend a lot of time outdoors, you may want to consider wearing a pair of long johns underneath your pants.
• If you haven’t purchased your winter wear, check out Decathlon for crazy-affordable stuff. I was lucky because I happened to browse the site when a major sale was going on, and I managed to buy a down jacket, beanie, running gloves, thermal running top and thermal running pants … at a grand total of just $88!
• Uniqlo’s Heattech range is another personal favourite; its wide collection of thermal inner wear has moisture-wicking and antimicrobial properties, plus it’s affordable.
• Don’t forget to bring along a few compression bags for your dirty laundry! These bags are FANTASTIC in helping you save luggage space – more room for souvenirs! Daiso sells compression bags of different sizes, and they work brilliantly.
• Unless you’re planning to hike or going to a snow-clad region, a pair of thick-soled sneakers and perhaps a pair of boots (for dressier occasions) would suffice – wear whichever is heavier, and pack the lighter pair into your check-in luggage.
• Don’t forget long socks! If you tend to get cold feet (literally), consider getting thermal socks. Not sure if that really works, but I guess I shall soon find out.
• Pack your gloves and beanie into your carry-on so you don’t risk freezing when you step out of the airport.
• I’m assuming your scarf is already around your neck before you board the plane.
• Long-haul flights mean your skin will tend to get extremely dry. In your carry-on luggage, pack in travel-sized hydrating facial mist, hand cream, and a lip balm. If you already have dry skin, consider packing in a facial sheet mask as well!
• In your check-in luggage, toss in a few extra sachets of facial sheet masks. And of course, an ultra-rich facial cream and body moisturiser. Your skin will thank you for it.
• Don’t forget to bring sunscreen. Just because the temperature is low or that the skies are perpetually cloudy doesn’t mean the sun’s harmful rays aren’t present. Protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays as you normally (should) do.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, this is my very first time packing for a winter holiday. If I missed out anything, please let me know in Comments below!