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Packing for cold weather travel can be quite daunting especially if you want to pack light. To help you make the most of your winter gear and limited luggage space, I’ve put together this easy three part guide on:


How to Pack for Cold Weather…Like A Boss


Start by reading these general tips on packing for winter travel:


Scroll down and when you’re done you’ll find a link to download this easy breezy packing guide FOR FREE and take it on the go!



1. What to Pack


Refer to one of our international packing lists to determine what type of clothing you’ll need for your destination. Make sure all pieces work well for the weather and the activities you plan to be doing.

Plan the items in your travel wardrobe using our Signature Capsule Wardrobes as your guide. Aim for ten pieces as shown in the Travel Essentials packing list.


Below you’ll find a sample packing list featuring clothes, shoes, and accessories.


Please note that the items shown in all of our visuals are meant to act as inspiration. We know now at women share the same body type, style preferences, or fall into the same age group so it’s up to you to tailor each guide to your specific needs. Learn more.


How to Pack for Cold Weather in a Carry-on Only


2. Mix and Match


As with any travel wardrobe, it’s important that all items can mix and match to make the most of your clothing. Dresses are surprisingly versatile in the winter for moderate temperatures and can be worn over tights or leggings.


Read these posts for the best clothing for winter:


Below you’ll see how we mixed and matched the pieces from the above 10-piece packing list:


Please note: our packing lists don’t count outerwear (jackets/coats), thermal underwear, or pajamas so these would be additional items in your total. However, even with these pieces you should still be able to pack carry-on only. Watch this video to learn how to pack.


How to Pack for Cold Weather Part 2: Travel Outfits


3. How to Pack for Cold Weather Travel


Here’s a step by step breakdown of how to choose each item of clothing. Remember, this capsule wardrobe can be used for a one week vacation or more! Don’t believe me? Learn how to pack carry-on only for every single trip!



7 Tops + 3 Bottoms

Tops that fall below your hips are best paired with leggings and can also be tucked into jeans. Choose tops you can layer if needed. Pack a dressier top to pair with a skirt for formal events.

For a one-week trips, pack different tops for each day of the week. Mix and match with three bottoms to create seven unique looks or a total of twenty-on different outfits!


 Alternate Option: Replace skirt with trousers or faux leather pants with thick leggings.



2 Shoes

Avoid items that look overly casual. Choose a basic pair that can be dressed up or down. Choose neutral colors such as tan, brown, or black because they need to mix and match with everything and comfort is key. Three pairs is also okay if you need a little more versatility.

A sample set of travel shoes for winter would include one pair of waterproof mid-calf or tall boots (wear on plane and on travel days), one pair of ankle boots, and one pair of ballet flats.


Struggling to choose shoes? Read our guide on how to choose the best travel shoes!



2 Outer Layers (Warm Cardigan + Coat)

Choose items that you can layer or wear separately, and are not too bulky. Remember thicker fabric doesn’t mean it’s warmer fabric. Find out why here. Choose a statement jacket or classic coat you love- it will be in all your trip photos!


Here’s a guide on how to choose the best travel coat.



One Set of Thermals

Invest in one (or two) sets of thermals to wear underneath all your clothing. Here’s a list of our favorite thermal underwear for women. One set should do but if you’re going to an extreme cold weather destination then you can wear two sets if you plan to spend a large amount of time outside.

Wear your thermals underneath everything!


Merino wool or silk thermal underwear is the best. Find out why here!



Warm Accessories

Last but certainly not least are your stylish winter accessories. These are essential and can save you even if your clothes don’t keep you warm! Bring a warm hat, gloves, and blanket scarf to avoid the harsh cold winter weather


SHOP THIS POST: all clothing by H&Mblack boots, tan boots (similar), scarf, gloves (similar), thermal bottoms, thermal top.




 Liked this Cold Weather Packing Guide?



What are your tips to pack light for cold weather travel?


For more packing strategies, please read the following:

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