11 Tips on Packing Light for Winter Travel


A month-long holiday celebration blends Old World German Christmas traditions and Texas hospitality in Southern Living's 2018 pick for the best small town in Texas. Shop along the glowing Main Street Marktplatz, which features a hand-carved 26-foot Christmas pyramid and an outdoor ice skating rink. On Dec. 7, watch the Light the Night Christmas Parade, and on Dec. 8 bring the little ones to Kinderfest, a children’s festival, at the Pioneer Museum. Or visit the drive-through Nativity at Bethany Lutheran Church on Dec. 14 and 15.
Slide 1 of 12: Traveling during the coldest time of year presents a packing problem for people flying to a winter wonderland. If you want to find a way to fit all the extra bulk of wintertime clothing into bags you're able to carry on a plane for free, read on for tips and tricks that'll save you time spent packing, space inside your bags and energy that you can use on your trip—not just prepping for it.
Slide 2 of 12: People tend to stock up on travel-sized toiletries and pack them before they take off from home. The problem with that is the space the miniature bottles and tubes take up, not to mention the hassle of removing them while going through security. You can almost always find these same toiletries as amenities in your hotel or at a drugstore close to where you're lodging. Sometimes you'll even be able to find cheaper items to purchase when you arrive at your destination (depending, of course, on where you're going). Leave room for items that are more exclusive and exciting, not tubes of creams and gels you can get anywhere. Image courtesy of @beachbumledford via Twenty20
Slide 3 of 12: It's understandable to want a fresh daily style, even while you're away from home. In the wintertime, accessories like hats and scarves are the best choices for versatility while traveling. Opt for hats that can easily be folded, and wear multiple scarves in the airport to save room in your luggage for other important items. Load up on smaller accessories, such as necklaces and earrings, to have an abundance of different looks to choose from without crowding your carry-on. Image courtesy of @mylove4art via Twenty20
Slide 4 of 12: If you realize there are pieces that you simply cannot leave behind, compression and vacuum bags are helpful packing tools. Compression bags let you pack more in a smaller space by literally compressing everything into tight, more manageable cubes. Some compression bags allow you to remove excess air by rolling it out. Vacuum bags work similarly, except they usually need a pump (or actual vacuum) to work. Since you'll be traveling, you'll do best to pack less, meaning ditching the pump for a convenient and space-saving compression bag. Image courtesy of @EddyStayReady via Twenty20
Slide 5 of 12: We know you've waited all year to be able to sport your finest winter fashion, but if you planned on taking multiple sweaters out of town, reconsider your options. Instead of bringing bulky sweaters that can take up more space than they're worth in your bag, replace them with thinner, long-sleeved tops instead. Long-sleeved blouses and tops can be accessorized and layered, making them easy to style. If you can't go without a sweater or two, wear them (or wrap them around your shoulders or waist) on the plane. Don't pack them. Image courtesy of @anniejanssen via Twenty20
Slide 6 of 12: To roll or to fold? That is the question. The answer, surprisingly, is both. It's usually true that rolling clothes can save you space inside your bags, but with heftier tops and longer bottoms, rolling instead of folding will actually take up more room. As a rule of thumb, roll thin materials, such as long-sleeved T-shirts or underwear, and fold thick fabrics so they're flat, like sweaters. Use lengthy items, including pants and dresses, to bundle everything else by wrapping it around the other clothes (as seen here). Image courtesy of @Chalabala via Twenty20
Slide 7 of 12: Don't even think about stepping into the airport without wearing as much as you can. Before you go through the TSA security checkpoint, you should be fitted in your chunkiest clothes—think sweaters, denim and outerwear. If you feel cozy enough, keep the layers on after you've cleared security. If you'd like to shed some layers but don't want to exceed your carry-on allowance, simply ask a gift store cashier for a shopping bag, which won't count as a carry-on since you received it after you passed security. Image courtesy of @moniquewray via Twenty20
Slide 8 of 12: Since you have to forgo bringing so many winter-friendly fabrics that help keep you nice and toasty, you'll probably need a jacket or coat to finish off most of your packed outfits. Since you'll be doing plenty of layering at the airport, adding a coat overtop could be a bit much. But you certainly don't have space to pack it, so what to do? Carry it! When passing through the TSA line, simply throw it in a bin. Carrying your coat onboard isn't a problem, either, since it doesn't count against your carry-on allowance. Image courtesy of @Chalabala via Twenty20
Slide 9 of 12: At this time of year, the right socks and underwear can warm up the body in some of the coldest climates. However, there's a tendency to overpack them, assuming because undies are small in size, there's plenty of room for them. Rolled-up winter socks and underwear can actually become thick mounds of fabric in your luggage, with a week's worth taking up a significant amount of space. Avoid this by taking just a couple of days' worth of socks and underwear, and washing them (by hand or at an onsite laundry). You could also buy cheap undies when you arrive.
Slide 10 of 12: One of the most obvious ways to cut back on overcrowded winter luggage is to pack thin, lightweight materials, such as long-sleeved T-shirts. Adding long underwear to your packing list will ensure that these thinner fabrics keep you well insulated, no matter what. This is another item you might want to wear on the chilly plane ride, especially if it means you can pack more of what you want to wear, like extra accessories.
Slide 11 of 12: Ditch the shoe selection and keep it simple when packing for a winter trip. Bringing too much footwear can leave you with few places to put anything else. Choose a neutral-toned pair of boots that match with all the other clothes you pack, and wear the boots to the airport. Think about the possible weather conditions of your destination, as well, such as snow and rain, that could make stylish, waterproof boots your most practical choice. Image courtesy of @trendsandtolstoy via Twenty20
Slide 12 of 12: Whether you have more winter luggage than you want to lug onto the plane, or you're planning to go on a shopping expedition during your trip, shipping using postal services is a great option. The shipped items might be too large, too heavy or too clunky to fit in your bags. Consider sending items to your hotel in advance, giving them time to arrive before you do. This works the other way around, too. When you have more than you came with but want to take only your complimentary carry-on back on the plane, ship your excess items back home and go to the airport with minimal baggage. Image courtesy of @RLTheis via Twenty20

Reduce, Rewear, Relax

Traveling during the coldest time of year presents a packing problem for people flying to a winter wonderland. If you want to find a way to fit all the extra bulk of wintertime clothing into bags you’re able to carry on a plane for free, read on for tips and tricks that’ll save you time spent packing, space inside your bags and energy that you can use on your trip—not just prepping for it.

No Toiletries

People tend to stock up on travel-sized toiletries and pack them before they take off from home. The problem with that is the space the miniature bottles and tubes take up, not to mention the hassle of removing them while going through security. You can almost always find these same toiletries as amenities in your hotel or at a drugstore close to where you’re lodging. Sometimes you’ll even be able to find cheaper items to purchase when you arrive at your destination (depending, of course, on where you’re going). Leave room for items that are more exclusive and exciting, not tubes of creams and gels you can get anywhere.

Image courtesy of @beachbumledford via Twenty20

More Accessories

It’s understandable to want a fresh daily style, even while you’re away from home. In the wintertime, accessories like hats and scarves are the best choices for versatility while traveling. Opt for hats that can easily be folded, and wear multiple scarves in the airport to save room in your luggage for other important items. Load up on smaller accessories, such as necklaces and earrings, to have an abundance of different looks to choose from without crowding your carry-on.

Image courtesy of @mylove4art via Twenty20

Compression Bags

If you realize there are pieces that you simply cannot leave behind, compression and vacuum bags are helpful packing tools. Compression bags let you pack more in a smaller space by literally compressing everything into tight, more manageable cubes. Some compression bags allow you to remove excess air by rolling it out. Vacuum bags work similarly, except they usually need a pump (or actual vacuum) to work. Since you’ll be traveling, you’ll do best to pack less, meaning ditching the pump for a convenient and space-saving compression bag.

Image courtesy of @EddyStayReady via Twenty20

Replace Sweaters

We know you’ve waited all year to be able to sport your finest winter fashion, but if you planned on taking multiple sweaters out of town, reconsider your options. Instead of bringing bulky sweaters that can take up more space than they’re worth in your bag, replace them with thinner, long-sleeved tops instead. Long-sleeved blouses and tops can be accessorized and layered, making them easy to style. If you can’t go without a sweater or two, wear them (or wrap them around your shoulders or waist) on the plane. Don’t pack them.

Image courtesy of @anniejanssen via Twenty20

Roll or Fold?

To roll or to fold? That is the question. The answer, surprisingly, is both. It’s usually true that rolling clothes can save you space inside your bags, but with heftier tops and longer bottoms, rolling instead of folding will actually take up more room. As a rule of thumb, roll thin materials, such as long-sleeved T-shirts or underwear, and fold thick fabrics so they’re flat, like sweaters. Use lengthy items, including pants and dresses, to bundle everything else by wrapping it around the other clothes (as seen here).

Image courtesy of @Chalabala via Twenty20

Layer Before Security

Don’t even think about stepping into the airport without wearing as much as you can. Before you go through the TSA security checkpoint, you should be fitted in your chunkiest clothes—think sweaters, denim and outerwear. If you feel cozy enough, keep the layers on after you’ve cleared security. If you’d like to shed some layers but don’t want to exceed your carry-on allowance, simply ask a gift store cashier for a shopping bag, which won’t count as a carry-on since you received it after you passed security.

Image courtesy of @moniquewray via Twenty20

Carry Your Coat

Since you have to forgo bringing so many winter-friendly fabrics that help keep you nice and toasty, you’ll probably need a jacket or coat to finish off most of your packed outfits. Since you’ll be doing plenty of layering at the airport, adding a coat overtop could be a bit much. But you certainly don’t have space to pack it, so what to do? Carry it! When passing through the TSA line, simply throw it in a bin. Carrying your coat onboard isn’t a problem, either, since it doesn’t count against your carry-on allowance.

Image courtesy of @Chalabala via Twenty20

Limit Socks and Undies

At this time of year, the right socks and underwear can warm up the body in some of the coldest climates. However, there’s a tendency to overpack them, assuming because undies are small in size, there’s plenty of room for them. Rolled-up winter socks and underwear can actually become thick mounds of fabric in your luggage, with a week’s worth taking up a significant amount of space. Avoid this by taking just a couple of days’ worth of socks and underwear, and washing them (by hand or at an onsite laundry). You could also buy cheap undies when you arrive.

Long Underwear

One of the most obvious ways to cut back on overcrowded winter luggage is to pack thin, lightweight materials, such as long-sleeved T-shirts. Adding long underwear to your packing list will ensure that these thinner fabrics keep you well insulated, no matter what. This is another item you might want to wear on the chilly plane ride, especially if it means you can pack more of what you want to wear, like extra accessories.

One Pair of Boots

Ditch the shoe selection and keep it simple when packing for a winter trip. Bringing too much footwear can leave you with few places to put anything else. Choose a neutral-toned pair of boots that match with all the other clothes you pack, and wear the boots to the airport. Think about the possible weather conditions of your destination, as well, such as snow and rain, that could make stylish, waterproof boots your most practical choice.

Image courtesy of @trendsandtolstoy via Twenty20

Ship It

Whether you have more winter luggage than you want to lug onto the plane, or you’re planning to go on a shopping expedition during your trip, shipping using postal services is a great option. The shipped items might be too large, too heavy or too clunky to fit in your bags. Consider sending items to your hotel in advance, giving them time to arrive before you do. This works the other way around, too. When you have more than you came with but want to take only your complimentary carry-on back on the plane, ship your excess items back home and go to the airport with minimal baggage.

Image courtesy of @RLTheis via Twenty20

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