13 Must-Know Tips to Pack Light for Your Next Winter Trip

13 Tips for Packing Light for Winter Trips

All you need to know when packing for winter!

As the year draws to a close, we begin to plan our year-end holiday to some of the world’s best winter destinations. These are the perfect places to celebrate Christmas and the New Year!

The beauty of a snow-covered landscape enchants even the most seasoned traveller. But while snow can transform places into magical wonderlands, travelling during the season can be a hassle. The biggest challenge of all? Packing light for winter. 

Due to the necessity of thick coats and huge boots, winter packing requires much thought. So whether you’re planning a quick White Christmas or an extended winter getaway, here are some tips for packing light for winter trips.

Also read: 6 Travel Tips to Know Before Your Next Getaway

How to pack for winter

1. Choose the right-sized bag

luggage bag

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When packing light for winter, it’s important to choose an appropriate bag to carry your travel essentials. After all, if you’re planning to travel with an oversized luggage bag, no amount of packing will allow you to travel light. We recommend you pick a compact bag that can comfortably fit your travel essentials. A compact bag not only requires you to maximise space but also encourages you to plan what to bring wisely.

2. Lay out your everyday wear

winter clothing

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There is a tendency to stuff your bag with more coats and sweaters than you’ll need for your winter trip. If you’re looking to travel light, it is crucial to pack the bare minimum! One tip is to visualise what you’ll need every day and lay everything out in front of you. This way, it’ll become immediately clear if you’ve overpacked. 

3. Create a packing list

packing list

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After deciding what you’ll wear every day, take it a step further by making a packing list of the things you need for your trip. Don’t just make a long list of items you’d like to bring on your trip! Instead, create two lists: of things you need and of things you want. If you’re unsure if you really need an item, move it to your list of wants. After you’ve created your lists, cut the list of wants in half. Making a packing list is helpful for every trip, especially when packing for cold weather!

Also read: 10 Clothing Essentials to Shop for Your Winter Travels

4. Choose versatile clothes

packing for winter trip

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An important part of packing light is packing smart. Admit it, you’ve been guilty of stuffing your luggage bag with items you don’t use. A good tip when packing for cold weather is to only pack clothes you’ll wear at least two times. Although it might be tempting to bring your favourite shirt or dress, it might take up valuable space. This tip is especially important when packing for longer trips — you won’t want to have a bag full of clothing you only wear once on your extended vacation.

5. Pack in layers

Thick jackets and sweaters are the bane of packing light for winter. Rather than packing in bulk, we suggest packing in layers. In other words: base layers, long-sleeve t-shirts, and thin sweaters. These individual layers will occupy less space in your bag. As an added benefit, you can mix and match these layers to stay fashionable in winter!

6. Go for down coats instead of wool coats

winter down coat

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Keeping warm is an essential part of packing for cold weather. While wool coats are a popular winter clothing option, they take up a lot of space. On the other hand, down coats do the job just as well, yet take up far less precious packing space. Furthermore, many down coats can be folded and rolled into a little pouch. For longer trips, down coats are also easier to wash, making rewearing them far more convenient!

7. Use the “rolling method”

Sometimes, heavy clothing is inevitable when packing for a winter trip. In that case, we suggest you use the “rolling method”. You can roll your clothes and place them directly into your bag, or you can roll them up and place them in packing cubes. This method saves a lot of precious space when you’re packing light for winter!

8. Wear your bulky clothes on the plane

Another great tip for packing light for winter is wearing your bulkiest clothing on the plane. Say you have a favourite heavy sweater that you want to bring on your trip. Instead of cramming it into your luggage bag, wear it! Same goes with your winter coat. Although wearing a winter coat for the entirety of your flight is unadvisable, you can always store it in the overhead compartment if you’re feeling warm. 

9. Use your boots for your flight

In a similar vein, we highly recommend you wear your boots on the plane. The winter season demands a pair of boots to keep your feet warm, especially if your itinerary is filled with outdoor activities. However, they take up a lot of luggage space. Sporting your boots to the airport is not only a space-efficient option but also a fashionable choice!

10. Maximise packing cubes

If you’re a frequent traveller, you may have heard of packing cubes. These compact cubes are perfect for staying organised and saving space. They work by condensing your bulky clothing so your travel bag isn’t full of air and wasted space. We strongly recommend these useful tools for packing light for winter!

11. Use space-saving bags

If you don’t want to use packing cubes, another alternative is space-saving bags. These bags roll up nicely and let excess air out with each rotation. For those looking to completely maximise space, there are even space-saving bags that allow you to suck up the extra air with a vacuum cleaner. These nifty bags are definitely an option to consider when packing for winter trips!

12. Bring sample-sized toiletries

packing for winter trip

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If you’re going for a short winter getaway, giant bottles of toiletries are an overkill. While most hotels provide essential toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, etc.), you may prefer to bring your personal toiletries. To save space, bring sample-sized toiletries! If your favourite soaps only come in large bottles, consider decanting them into travel-sized or sample bottles. These diminutive bottles are a godsend when packing for cold weather.

13. Ditch your laptop

Unless you’re travelling for work, we suggest you leave your laptop at home. Most smartphones these days have the functionality to replace laptops. If you really need a larger screen, bring along a tablet! These alternatives can help to save weight and space when packing for winter trips.

Also read: 10 Best Winter Destinations in Asia for Your Next Holiday

While packing light for winter may be a daunting task, we hope that these packing tips will help overcome this challenge. Taking the effort to meticulously plan what to bring will definitely be worth it when you’re enjoying winter while travelling light!

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About Author

Chow Cheng Yang
Chow Cheng Yang

Cheng Yang can often be found in his natural habitat — in his bed with a cup of coffee and a science-fiction novel. With his undying love for jazz music and old movies, he likes to think of himself as a bit of a hippie. When he's not busy with work or school, he spends his free time playing the guitar or practising calligraphy.