How to pack for a winter holiday

Packing for a holiday in summer is no real challenge. Usually I end up throwing some extra shoes into my luggage just because I feel like my suitcase should be full, but packing for a winter holiday is another story entirely.

How to Pack for a Winter Holiday

I’ve had quite a lot of practice over the past few years, with trips to Finland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Poland and even Canada in the dead of winter. Some of these holidays were with checked luggage, like when I went skiing in California, but others were embarked upon with hand luggage only in order to keep the cost of my trip down. I can assure you, there were no extra shoes being thrown in on these trips!

If you do find yourself struggling to pack for a winter holiday, here are some tips to help you maximise your space while still staying warm.

Wear your bulk

Don’t try packing your huge, warm jacket or those puffy waterproof boots. Instead, wear them on your flights so you can maximise luggage space. You don’t have to wear your jacket on the plane or in the airport but simply having it over your arm will probably double the room you have to work with in your suitcase. You will have to deal with toasty toes by wearing your bulkiest boots, but it’s a small price to pay for more comfort when you arrive at your destination.Jackets

I like: ASOS quilted jacket, Gap camo jacket, UNIQLO puffer jacket

Quality, not quantity

Packing more clothes won’t necessarily help to keep you warm, but packing good quality winter wear will. When we were searching for the northern lights in Tromso, our local guide swore that he was warmer with one thin pair of real woollen socks than we all were with our multiple layers of thick, cheap pairs. At the end of the night I couldn’t feel my toes. He swore his were warm. Of course, he could just be acclimatized, but I have found that wearing fewer layers of better quality (such as merino wool) keeps me warmer than lots of cheap jumpers.


Rather than packing bulk, pack good quality thermals – and lots of them. Thermal tops, thermal gloves, thermal tights…they’ll all keep the cold out and let you explore a new destination comfortably without taking up much room in your luggage.


I like: UNIQLO Heattech socks, Johnstons cashmere gloves, KJUS merino wool top, UNIQLO polo shirt


Winter holidays are a rarity for a lot of people. Unless you’re a keen snow sports fanatic, it’s unlikely you’ll need that arctic jacket or extreme snow boots. London is cold and we all love to complain about it, but let’s face it: you simply don’t need high-tech gear for a winter in the UK. Instead of splashing hundreds of pounds on stuff that’ll gather dust in the back of your closet, why not ask around and see if you have any friends who could lend you their gear? Usually they’ll be more than happy to, in exchange for a nice duty-free gift. On an unrelated note, I have a great winter jacket and ski pants and I love Baileys.


We all know that I like to look stylish when I travel. In winter, that gets a little bit harder as I have less space and fewer options. Instead of trying to pack a variety of clothes, I try to get creative when it comes to changing up my look. Different lipsticks, lots of hats and scarves, earrings…the little accessories can help keep your wardrobe fresh without over-packing.


I like: Paul Smith scarf, Esprit gloves, ASOS beanie, metallic turban, square check scarf, Azuni drop earrings, MAC lipstick

Get a grip

If you’re going to invest in anything before you go on your winter holiday, make it a pair of winter boots with a very good grip. If you’re in a snowy destination you’ll be at risk of slipping and doing some serious damage, especially if you’re in a hilly city with cobbled stones. Wellies can be a good option, as they’ll keep your feet dry too.


I like: Gap leather moto boots, Kurt Geiger Siberia boots, Timberlands, Dune Random Di boots, Hunter wellies

Bring extra socks

Honestly, it may sound stupid but having a fresh, dry, warm pair of socks at the end of a long day in the snow feels like an unparalleled luxury. Just trust me: warm socks. You can thank me later.Socks

I like: socks, socks, socks, socks.

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  • Penny Ramos says:

    Excellent packing tips! I love preparing for a holiday and arrange my stuff. I always do a checklist in order to know exactly what I should pack and to don’t forget anything I may need!

  • Laura says:

    wearing the bulky items was the best advice i was given when going skiing so that it didnt take up too much space in the suitcase!

  • I can confirm that wearing an actual wool sweater rather than layers of cotton/lycra fabrics will keep you SO much warmer – wool retains heat even when it’s wet so it actually absorbs the moisture from your body and uses it to keep you toasty! I’m actually allergic to wool (it makes me really itchy) but yesterday I wore a sweater which was only 6% wool and I was boiling!

  • Gemma says:

    Great post, some lovely items listed here.
    Thermals are a must, not the most flattering sure, but definately saves you wearing 3-4 layers.. day and evening!

    Gem x

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