Winter Travel Must Haves

Share with your friends!

Packing for a winter trip can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re trying to fly with a carry-on bag! Traveling can be so fun in the winter, but only if you’re prepared for the weather! We’ve been on winter trips where we were totally prepared and some trips where we were totally not prepared. But, don’t let the cold weather deter you from going on an awesome winter vacation.
Here is our list of our top Winter Travel Must Haves.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! See our full disclosure policy here.*

Heated Clothing

If you are headed to the Arctic…that’s anywhere that is colder than 50 degrees F to us, (Hello, California Girl here!)…then we think heated clothing is a must have. (ok, B doesn’t agree, but he’s from Chicago…plus, he wears it sometimes!) There are all sorts of different heated clothing items available.  From Heated Jackets (my Fav!) to heated scarves, vests, gloves, etc.  The list is unending! Check out our heated gear here.


I just learned what base layering even is…I didn’t use to get out much in the winter. But Base layering is amazing!! A good base layer top and bottom, will keep you nice and cozy! You wear a base layer or long pj’s under your clothes and it can help keep your core warm all day. I won’t ever go out in the cold without some sort of base layer anymore.


Trapper hats or beanies, just something to keep that noggin’ warm.  The coldest parts of our bodies tend to be our head and feet. That’s where all the heat comes out of your body. Keep that heat inside your body, and don’t let it escape your head with a nice warm hat. Our Trapper Hats kept us super warm throughout our Iceland adventures.  From Glacier Hiking to Ice Caving, and all those cold moments in between.


Wool Socks

Keep those tootsies warm with wool socks.  You don’t want to know how many pairs of socks I wanted to wear on our winter vacation, before I learned about wool socks. I was still layering with lots of cotton socks, and wondering why it wasn’t helping. Wool socks are sure to keep your toes nice and warm, and keep you from freezing.

Lotion, Moisturizer, Chapstick

Cold equals dry…dry skin, dry lips, dry face.  Keep your skin hydrated and refreshed, so there’s no skin cracking on your knuckles or lips, or skin getting rough and dry. You’ll want to keep your body nice and moisturized throughout your trip.


I actually have an awesome pair of heated gloves that I am obsessed with. They’re perfect for when I go snowboarding when its really cold. During the winters, even in California, I always have a pair of mittens in my jacket pocket as well.

A Good Travel Bag

Traveling during the winter, you are going to want a nice and easy bag to carry with you. If you’re taking a trip to the snow, it’s likely a rolling bag will give you some hassle, so we prefer duffel bags in the winter.

Waterproof Clothing

There’s nothing worse than being freezing cold, and wet on top of it. If the forecast is calling for snow, rain, fog, or any kind of precipitation, you’re going to want to bring clothing that can whisk away moisture fast. A rain jacket, wind breaker, snow pants, etc. are all good ideas to have with you. You can always put it on top of your clothes and not have to worry about walking around like a wet mess. I wore snow pants almost every day in Iceland and Finland, and kept nice and dry.

Here’s our recommended packing list for your winter vacation:


  1. A Heavy Jacket- This will be the cherry on top to your warm winter outfit. Grab a heavy jacket that can keep you snug as a bug, and all your heat inside.

  2. Rain Jacket or Wind Breaker- Stay dry and cold, not wet and cold!

  3. Snow Pants or waterproof pants- Again, its not fun to be cold AND wet.


  1. Leggings or thermal wear- Remember base layers? This will be the first layer you put on, that will help keep all your heat on the inside.

  2. Warm pants- think sweatpants or wool lined leggings.

  3. Jeans- We would wear jeans under our snow pants, and take our snow pants off when we got to the destination. That way you don’t have to stay bundled up like you don’t belong.


  1. Thermal Shirts- Base Layer!!!

  2. Long Sleeve shirts- You probably won’t be wearing any short sleeve shirts on your winter vacations, so save some space and just pack your long sleeves…or just one short sleeve if you wish.

  3. Sweater/sweatshirt- I almost always wear a sweatshirt under all my outer layer gear. Just keeps you a little extra warm and toasty.


  1. Waterproof Boots- If you’re walking through the snow, or out in the elements, you’re going to want to keep your feet dry at all times!

  2. Sneakers- (Tennis Shoes to us Californians)- Make sure to pack a pair so you can enjoy some activities and hiking if you wish.

  3. Wool socks-These will help keep your feet nice and warm. Much better than cotton socks.

  4. Cotton Socks- I personally always have a pair of cotton socks on under my wool socks as well. Actually not sure if it really helps at all, but it makes me feel better.


  1. Warm beanie or trapper hat- I was never one for a trapper hat, until I tried it. The trapper hats are the ones with the ear flaps that hang down and help keep your ears warm. Definite must for me!

  2. Scarf- You’ll want a nice scarf to keep your neck warm, and you can always wrap it up on your head as well. It’s nice to cover any exposed skin.

  3. Day bag- You probably want to take a day bag with you when you go out. That way, you can keep any extra clothing or layers in your pack when you’re not using them.

Despite being from California, I have really learned to love Winter Travel. Some of my favorite trips have been in destinations filled with snow, and we’ve enjoyed the most fun winter activities as well. As long as you know what to pack and how to dress, you can stay nice and warm while out in the freezing cold.

Share with your friends!