Packing Tips for Winter Travel

Fresh Snow in Schwangau

Charlotte and I are gearing up for a trip to Germany and Austria to visit a few European Christmas Markets. Traveling in the winter requires a little more thought in terms of packing, layering, and staying protected from the elements. However, with a little planning, one can pack light and efficiently while still being bundled and comfortable.

Before pulling all your winter clothes out of storage, here are some things to consider:

  • Prepare for the “worst” weather.
  • Remember that no matter how bad the weather gets, you’ll probably be out in it “touring.” You don’t want to travel halfway around the world just to stay in your hotel room when the weather turns bad.
  • Daylight hours are much shorter. Darkness brings cooler temperatures, dampness, and a chill in the air.
  • You’ll most likely run into some snow and ice. Depending on how recent the storm… roads, streets, and sideways may not be plowed. Plan to be flexible with your itinerary.
  • A sunny day in the snow is just as bright as being at the beach. Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • Layered clothing makes more “travel” sense. Use the “wrap and peel” method to adapt to changing temperatures.
  • Don’t pack your heavy winter coat in your suitcase.  Instead, wear it onto your flight and stow it in the overhead bin.  This will save loads of space in your suitcase!



Address specific questions to: charlotte@davidmcguffin.com.

• One Heavy Winter Coat – hip length or longer;
• Gloves;
• Earmuffs;
• Several scarves for fashion and warmth;
• At least one hat;
• Small travel umbrella;
• Boots/shoes that are comfortable, well broken-in, and travel tested;
• Thermal socks;
• Five pairs of pants and/or jeans;
• Long-sleeved fashion tee shirts;
• Sweaters and Turtleneck shirts;
• “Cuddle-duds” (long underwear) from JC Penney;
• Underwear and bras for the trip’s duration.

Address specific questions to: david@davidmcguffin.com.

• Hip-length wool pea coat;
• Gloves;
• Earmuffs;
• Several scarves for fashion and warmth;
• At least one hat;
• Small travel umbrella;
• One pair water-proof Gortex boots that are comfortable, well broken-in, and travel tested;
• three pairs of light-weight, moisture-wicking socks;
• two pairs of pants and/or jeans;
• Four moisture-wicking long-sleeved tee shirts;
• Four long-sleeved cotton button-down shirts;
• Two lightweight cashmere sweaters;
• Four pairs of underwear;
• One pair of lightweight silk “long-johns.”

Even with these “massive” packing lists, we still manage to travel with a carry-on sized suitcase and one addition “personal” piece of luggage. I generally bring along my Exploring Europe drawstring backpack. Charlotte, on the other hand, adds a “Vera Bradley” duffle to her collection. Packing in this manner helps us remain “mobile” in the airports, on the planes, on the bus, on public transportation, and all over those cobbled streets and narrow staircases of Europe.

About the Author
David McGuffin established David McGuffin's Exploring Europe, Inc. in 2001 to formally offer European tours. Since then, he has taken several thousand satisfied customers on memorable and educational tours to Europe.
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