Nomad by Trade

A travel blog for the kid at heart.

Winter travel tips

Winter Travel Tips from Expert Bloggers

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Traveling in the winter isn’t the easiest thing to do – you have to pack way more clothing than you do in the summer and are often at the mercy of the weather – but it’s also incredibly  rewarding and if you plan on visiting German Christmas markets, viewing the Northern Lights, or planning a ski vacation, you’ll have to venture out into the cold. These winter travel tips from experienced bloggers should prepare you to face winter weather.

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Pick the right clothes to keep you warm

By Cat from The Compass is Calling

Kemi, Finland - Travel tips for winter

Photo courtesy of Cat from The Compass is Calling

Having lived in Finland, we know cold weather firsthand. Layers are KEY to staying warm in cold climates. Choose a base layer and wear the top and bottom under your sweater and jeans or waterproof pants. Wool socks are best, they wick away moisture and also have antibacterial properties! Bonus, wool socks can be worn a few times without washing because of their antibacterial properties (I know, it sounds gross, but trust me…they don’t even smell).

Top off your outfit with a down jacket, a scarf, hat that covers your ears and gloves and you’ll be set! Scarves are a critical component – don’t leave this out.

Depending upon what you plan to do in the wintery climate, your shoe choice will vary, but if you have wool socks, your feet will stay warm.

See more from Cat on Facebook and Instagram.

Invest in good snow boots for winter travel

By Kaitlin from Around the World in Katy Days

Warm winter boots - winter travel tips

Photo courtesy of Kaitlin from Around the World in Katy Days

A good pair of boots will make your winter experience exponentially better. When you think about it, your feet are the part of your body that are most commonly in contact with the snow, so why wouldn’t you want to make sure they’re warm enough to brave the winter? Feet have a large surface area and a lot of blood cells. Because the feet are at the end of our limbs, they’re prone to cooling faster than other parts of our body. By warming up our feet, we can quickly warm up the rest of the body, helping to keep us comfortable when we’re out in the cold.

I live in south Texas, where it rarely drops below 65 degrees. So when I was planning for my Christmas trip to Canada, I knew I had to invest in good gear. Along with a good jacket, the boots were at the top of my list. After lots of research, I bought myself a pair of Columbia Minx boots. They’re lightweight, but still sturdy, have a lot of traction, are completely waterproof, and so warm! I’m still in disbelief of how amazingly these boots stood up to the Canadian winter! Definitely research before you buy, since different activities will require different styles.

See more from Kaitlin on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out the boots that Kaitlin recommends on Amazon:

Wear layers and warm accessories in cold weather

By Tihana from Wandering Polka Dot

Tips for winter travel

Photo courtesy of Tihana from Wandering Polka Dot

I once lived in Finland during the winter. That alone might be one of the craziest things I did in my life and travels! But I also traveled to far north of Europe twice in that period: to northern Finland and northern Norway. To do that in December and January, you really need to be careful, especially if you want to spend a lot of time outdoors. The secret is in layers. If in doubt, take another layer. Seriously! I remember how I hated tights and undershirts when I was little, but when I had to walk to the university every day in -26 degrees Celsius, I understood it all. Severe winter is the time when fashion becomes less important than function of the clothes: to keep you warm. So make sure you pack enough layers that will keep you warm but let your skin breathe, and opt for natural materials.

Other things you want to include in your bag: a good lip balm, and a hand cream. Lips are especially sensitive during winter, and applying a lip balm whenever you remember can prevent dry lips and ugly (and painful!) cracks. I suggest keeping a hand cream in your purse, because even if you are wearing gloves (which you should!), you’ll probably take them off all the time to use your phone or take a photo with your camera.

My last piece of advice that I would have probably scoffed at prior to my northern experience: get yourself a winter hat! I couldn’t wait to ditch it at the age of 12—that’s when I considered myself grownup enough to do it, haha—but my ears would probably have frozen and fell off had I not bought a very warm faux fur hat. But honestly, even after that there were times, in places much less cold than the north of Europe, when I would wish for that hat. Reason I never wore it in the south anyway? I look awful with it. (Or so I think.) I’m so glad I got to experience the absolute necessity of looking bad

See more from Tihana on Instagram and Facebook.

Check out Kris’ favorite winter coat here:

Keep your feet warm in the winter

By Stephanie from Road Unraveled

Winter travel tips - how to stay warm in winter

Photo courtesy of Stephanie from Road Unraveled

I took a trip to Iceland to experience New Year’s Eve, a time of year that is steeped in local tradition– and very, very cold. With just five hours of sunlight each day, I spent most of my time outside facing freezing wind and plenty of snow squalls, and yet I loved every second. What was my secret to a successful winter trip? I kept my feet warm.

Hypothermia most often starts in the hands and feet, so keeping your extremities warm is crucial to keeping the rest of your body warm—in fact, feet play an important role in how our bodies regulate temperature. Before leaving home I invested in a pair of waterproof snow boots and some thick socks made from merino wool. Merino wool is perfect for cold temperatures; it wicks away moisture like water or sweat from your skin, which keeps your feet drier and warmer.

The boots are made from leather and rubber, which are a dynamic duo when it comes to keeping snow, ice, and rain away from your feet. Whether I was standing in the snow or in an ankle-deep puddle, my feet never once felt cold or wet. When it comes to preparing and packing, don’t neglect your feet—your whole body will thank you!

See more from Stephanie on Twitter and Facebook.

Check out Kris’ favorite winter socks here:

Drive safely in winter conditions

By Maria from Both-Paths

Tips for winter travel driving

Photo courtesy of Maria from Both-Paths

If you are planning on going on a road trip during winter in a cold place, you need to be prepared to drive in snow and on icy roads. A road trip through a snow filled landscape is amazing. You get to see scenery up close and you can stop whenever and wherever you want to take beautiful pictures. However it can be a challenge, especially if you are not used to driving in these conditions.

The most important precaution to take is winter tires. Whether you are renting a car or driving your own, you must have winter tires for driving in sub-freezing temperatures. If you do not have prior knowledge about winter tires, talk to a local mechanic or your car rental agency to make sure you are taking the right precautionary steps.

Make sure your travel insurance is valid. Always travel with insurance, and make sure they cover you when driving. If you are renting a car you will also make sure with the rental agency or your travel insurance what will happen and who is liable in case of damage to the car.

When driving on ice/snow you will want to drive slowly. The biggest danger is driving/sliding off the road. You want to drive at a speed where you feel in control, and you are able to brake if you need to. Always test the brakes to see how slippery the road is. Do not feel pressured by other drivers at your back. Never drive in a speed you feel uncomfortable driving.

Most importantly enjoy your ride and just drive sensibly.

See more from Maria on Facebook and Instagram.

Get a flu shot before your trip

By Erica from Girl Unspotted

Winter travel tips

Getting a flu shot prior to your trip can be very beneficial not only to your health, but to the outcome of your holiday as well. Weather changes can be accountable to compromising our immune system, just like the stress of moving around too much. It’s better to be safe than sorry because personally, although very common, winter is the worst season to be sick. Especially if you’re on a holiday– you wouldn’t want to miss out on the snow, the Christmas markets, or the skiing! So it’s best to protect yourself and get vaccinated at least two weeks before your trip just to relieve that concern. Plus, do you know how easy it is to contract a virus at the airport itself, with thousands of people coming in and out? You’re not even at your destination yet and you’re already at risk.

See more from Erica on Instagram and Facebook.

Choose local ski areas over fancy resorts

By Jen and Ryan of Passions and Places

Ski tips - Winter travel tips

Photo courtesy of Jen from Passions and Places

It’s true that the famous ski resorts like Vail and Park City have some of the best terrain, but unless you’re a connoisseur of ski hills, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference. What you will notice, though, is how much more fun skiing is when you haven’t spent a whole day’s pay (or more) on just the lift ticket.

Fortunately, the smaller local ski areas in many places are much cheaper and often offer a more interesting experience. They don’t need to appeal to (or be able to accommodate) the masses, which gives them more character.

And if it’s your first time, lessons will also be cheaper at local ski hills and definitely worth the cost. It’s possible to learn to ski on your own, but a vacation is no time to do it. You’ll have a much better trip (and your travel companions will like you more) if you don’t spend the day frustrated.

See more from Jen and Ryan on Instagram and Facebook.

Use food (and chocolate!) to stay warm in the winter

By Eva from Electric Blue Food

Tips for staying warm during winter travel

Photo courtesy of Eva from Electric Blue Food

When packing for a winter destination the focus is probably mostly on the right clothes, but don’t forget about food! There is one food in particular that should never go amiss in your bag and that is… chocolate! Well, if not chocolate, let it be a little snack, possibly sweet.

When staying out in the cold for many hours, your body is burning a lot of energy in order to keep warm. Having a treat is not only a reward, but a necessity. Plus, in such climatic conditions you’ll be burning it off fast! This is a tip I learned when spending a winter in Norway: when you go out on a cross country skiing adventure, always have some chocolate with you. I’ve been following this rule ever since.

Another precious item is a thermos of hot chocolate, tea or coffee. It’s easier to imagine dehydration happening in hot locations where you get to sweat it all out. But you can get easily dehydrated also in the cold, especially because the temperature might not make you feel like drinking that often. So trade your regular water bottle for a thermos instead, and enjoy a hot drink whenever you feel like having something to drink. It will keep you hydrated and warm you up from the inside.

See more from Eva on Facebook and Instagram.

Drink the mulled wine at Christmas markets

By Maria from 203 Challenges

Staying warm at German Christmas Markets

Photo courtesy of Maria from 203 Challenges

Cozy German-style Christmas markets pop up everywhere in the world in December and they make the life of the freezing traveler so much easier. I just head to the nearest mulled wine seller and keep on bringing tingly warmth inside my blood circulation until it becomes wine circulation. What helped even more during my last trip in Munich (snowing all the time but thankfully, right before Christmas) was a butcher’s where some of the salami was Christmas tree-shaped and that attracted me inside the warm store for an hour of tasting local culinary delights.

See more from Maria on Facebook and Pinterest.

Save luggage space by packing smart

By Ha from Expatolife

Top tips for winter travel

Photo courtesy of Ha from Expatolife

Traveling in the winter is not a piece of cake, so I always prepare well in advance to avoid bad circumstances. I always bring extra-warm inner T-shirts and extra-warm tights to wear inside my clothes. They are super lightweight and do not take much space in luggage, so it’s a good idea to have them. You won’t need to wear many layers if you have these items, so you can help reduce your luggage weight. Also, you should wear hoodies and jackets outside your normal clothes when you get to the airport, because they will take a lot of space in your luggage. You also need to know well in advance where you are going to, because it’s not a good idea to get lost in the winter.

See more from Ha on Facebook and Instagram.

Come prepared for the cold

By Petro from World Mission196

Top winter travel tips

What not do for winter in Europe… I had just spent a glorious two weeks on the beach in Seychelles and Mauritius when I arrived for my first Euro-trip. I had no jacket. Couple of long sleeve shirts, a set of boots that only lasted 3 weeks since they were not built for snow. The first day I wandered the streets of London spending about 600 Euros on equipping myself for the 3 weeks I had ahead in Europe. I ended up buying boots too small that I gave away. A jacket with no inner protection. A week later when I showed up in Frankfurt my mum-in-law came to the rescue with proper winter gear. This was already after I braved the snow in Amsterdam. Slight chance I may repeat these mistakes again this year when I show up for Christmas since I have zero winter gear on me.

See more from Petro on Instagram.

Have these winter travel tips convinced you to book a cold weather trip? Check out these posts for more wintery content:

Don’t forget to save this post for later!

Winter travel tips to help you stay warm and safe on your trip. #WinterTravel | #TravelTips | #WinterTravelTips | #Winter

Winter travel tips to help you stay warm and safe on your trip. #WinterTravel | #TravelTips | #WinterTravelTips | #Winter Winter travel tips to help you stay warm and safe on your trip. #WinterTravel | #TravelTips | #WinterTravelTips | #Winter Winter travel tips to help you stay warm and safe on your trip. #WinterTravel | #TravelTips | #WinterTravelTips | #Winter Winter travel tips to help you stay warm and safe on your trip. #WinterTravel | #TravelTips | #WinterTravelTips | #Winter

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18 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for including our contribution! We’ve traveled a lot in winter conditions, and totally agree with these other tips!

  2. Amazing post and beautiful pictures! Pinned these tips for later 🙂

  3. I love to travel in winters, my only problem is packing smart. I`m so afraid of freezing that I want to pack everything I could potentially want to use/wear hahaha

  4. Always up for mulled wine and chocolates! Totally agree on keeping your feet warm. I always get cold feet (literally) and so wear thermals below my pants to keep me warm.

  5. These are all great tips! I tend to shy away from traveling to cold places in the winter, but I feel ready to take a cold weather trip after reading these tips. My favorite is the mulled wine – love that stuff!

  6. As a huge chocolate lover, my favorite tip was to eat more chocolate! Followed closely by drinking mulled wine!

  7. Kristen

    These tips are so crucial! Winter travel used to frighten me, but once you know how to do it it’s not bad at all!

  8. Haley Plotkin

    Good tips! Since I live in Texas I barely own any winter clothes, so this would come in handy for a cold weather trip 🙂

  9. I’m not a huge fan of winter travel, but your photos are making me think twice about that! These are all awesome tips though, I especially love the idea to seek out Mulled Wine!

  10. These tip are spot on. The boots I cannot stress enough and making sure your feet are warm. Nothing worse than cold feet. Making sure your boots are waterproof is key as well. Worst experience I had was Uggs in the snow…brutal!

  11. I like the tips about using food, chocolate and mulled wine to keep warm during winter the best! Honestly, living in the Alps I can use them all.

  12. Great tips! Very practical and useful. Winter is so tricky when it comes to staying warm. Love your photographs, the one of the cabin by the lake is just stunning.

  13. I’m intending to do a fair bit of travel this winter – I love snow, but hardly ever get any in my corner of the UK!) – so this is really useful to read! Thank you for collating and sharing!

  14. Sarah

    These are great tips! I totally agree that scarves are a critical component! And the bigger the better for me – they can wrap around shoulders and heads just as well as necks 🙂 But the best tip of all is about Glühwein. It will keep you warm and happy no matter how cold it is.

  15. Great post with solid advice. Having lived in Colorado for 15 years and spending time in the outdoors in the winter (and in the mountains), the tips are fab. Layers are key to staying warm and dry! And I’m sure you can rock a good cold weather hat. The trick is finding the right one!!

  16. Suz

    A really useful list. I am too chicken to drive in bad conditions, but maybe this year I will be brave when we are on our travels!

  17. Hello, the photos and scenery are just beautiful. Thank you for sharing all your traveling tips. I could use a pair of those boot for where I live now, we can get a lot of snow in the winter. I like my feet to stay warm and dry. Thanks for sharing, have a happy day!

  18. These travel tips are so helpful and practical. I will definitely try to bear all of them in mind and put them into practice on my next winter travel.

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