Cold Weather Travel Guide: Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
Do you dream of dashing through the snow on a daring ski slope? Warming your toes in front of a crackling fire in a remote log cabin while sipping cocoa? Or watching the flurries fall from a glassed-in heated jacuzzi in a wintery resort?
If glittery snowfall fills your dreams, but you worry about the more difficult logistics of taking a trip to a winter wonderland, now is the time to consider making this winter the time for you to finally strap on some snowshoes and take the first steps toward making your snow flurry fantasies come true.
Tactics and Tricks for Cold Weather Trips
The goal of any wintery vacation is to get as much enjoyment out of the fun and beauty of falling snow, while simultaneously minimizing the inconveniences, and even dangers, of that same falling snow. This means that your best chance of enjoying that perfect snowy vacation begins at home with careful pre-planning before your trip even begins.
Fly Non-Stop to Avoid Getting Stuck
Most travel trip-ups during winter weather occur at airports. For this reason, when planning your winter vacation, your best bet is to book a non-stop flight to limit the possibility of getting stuck in a snowed-in city that’s far from your dreamed-of destination. For most of us, this is our worst-case scenario. Having flights canceled from your home city airport simply means you go back home and wait. A canceled return flight from your destination means you can tell your boss that your vacation has been unavoidably extended. But being trapped in a random midway city, hoping to find a vacant hotel room, is the worst waste of a hard-earned vacation day.
When searching for flights, be sure to search for non-stop flights only. You may want to do this before putting in your exact vacation days request at your job so you can be flexible with your travel dates in order to ensure a non-stop flight is available to your dream destination.
If you absolutely must take a connecting flight, be sure to check the weather forecast for the date that you will be there. If it looks risky, you can ask for a reroute.
Driving to Your Dream Destination?
If you plan to drive into those snow-capped mountains, or to that frozen lake for ice fishing,
it’s essential that your car is checked for winter readiness. Your tires will need inspection or to be swapped out for snow tires.
You will need to drive much slower in snowy weather than how you’d normally drive, even by as much as 50 percent. Bridges and overpasses should be navigated carefully because they can be frozen when other parts of the road are not.
Make sure you have some emergency items in your vehicle. These include a first aid kit, an extra coat, and boots for each passenger, blankets, jumper cables, flashlight, and extra batteries, windshield scraper, bottled water, and some energy bars or granola bars and other non-perishable snacks. Some tried-and-true winter travel experts recommend bringing along a bag of kitty litter. This can be used under the tires to add traction if you get stuck.
Finally, be sensible enough to not take on something you aren’t prepared for. If you are completely unfamiliar with driving in snow and ice, your dream trip to a winter wonderland is not the time to try it.
Packing Pointers and Frosty Fashion Tips
Packing for snowy landscapes is very different than throwing some bikinis and sunscreen into a bag for a beach trip. Warm winter clothes are bulky and heavy, and there are some tricks for managing to pack for the snow without overdoing your luggage limit.
First, avoid packing too many bulky pullover sweaters, and instead focus on layering for warmth. Layers not only provide better barriers for trapping heat, but they are also versatile for mixing and matching and getting more outfits out of less clothing. Be sure to pack only colors in the same shade palette so you have more mix-and-match options. This also helps to limit laundry loads during travel because you don’t have to separate lights and darks.
Bring along long-sleeved base shirts, and then flannels, fleeces, and wool button-downs for outer layers. Bring a selection of complementing scarves for indoors and outdoors to mix it up a little.
Jeans and lined-leggings are ideal for winter wear. Also, pack one or two warm sweater dresses or wrap dresses if you plan to have evenings out. Wear slip-on boots on the plane and then pack some nice ballet flats for indoors to wear with leggings or a dress.
You should pack a nice overcoat for dressier occasions and wear your down jacket onto the plane. Remember—rolling your clothes instead of folding them will allow you to pack many more items into your luggage.
Underthings, Accessories, and Toiletries for Snowy Winter Vacations
Be sure to pack long thermal underwear for days outdoors skiing or making snow angels. These can double as pajamas to save packing room. (Plus they are cute and figure-flattering!) Don’t forget warm socks and accessories such as gloves, mittens, and hats. Sunglasses are also a must-have accessory for those days when the sun is casting sparkling diamonds on the brilliant snowy landscape just as you’d dreamed.
You will also need to add a good broad-spectrum sunscreen to your toiletry bag to keep any exposed skin protected from the winter sun, which is just as damaging to your skin cells as the summer sun.
Winter weather is also very drying to your skin, especially if you are from a warmer, more humid climate. You should be sure to pack one of the best face moisturizers for dry skin to soothe and repair your face after a day of blustery wind and blowing snowflakes.
A great lotion for dry skin is also essential for dealing with dry hands and chapped skin in a cold climate. You don’t want chapped, itchy skin from your frosty sleigh ride to detract from the joy. Throw a great chapstick or lip balm in your toiletry bag to soothe and protect your lips from winter winds.
Whether you are planning a romantic winter getaway for two, or a fun family vacation building snowmen outside a mountain lodge, careful planning and packing is the key to making your frosty fantasies become a winter reality with the trip of your dreams.