Traveling is easy when you’re heading somewhere sunny. Shorts, swimming gear, sunglasses and sunscreen. Done. But what about if you’re heading off for a winter vacation?

Heading for a winter vacation usually means you’re either off to a cold country, or you’re going to be doing something involving mountains, such as hiking or skiing. It can be tricky to know what you’ll need, and how to pack for such a trip. But with a little bit of know how you can save overpacking.

So let us guide you through the essential things you’ll need for that winter holiday.


The good thing about thermal underwear is that it is quite compact, making it one of the most important things to take. You’ll have heard that layering is important when it comes to cold weather and thermals are the foundation to build upon.

A thermal vest and leggings are going to come in very handy especially if you’re heading somewhere where the weather is subzero on a daily basis. You’ll need a few items as they do absorb sweat, so treat them like underwear and wear a set a day.

Layer-able Clothing

Layering up means that you can add or remove layers as required, so bringing a variety of thin clothes is a great way to switch it up. Often when it’s cold we warm up pretty quick and need to get rid of those layers, but it’s better to have them than not.

Winter Hat

You’ve probably heard the fact that most of our body heat escapes through the top of our head. With this in mind, you’ll be aware of the importance of headwear.

So, don’t get caught in a snowstorm without a good hat, ideally, one that covers the ears. A woolen beanie or Russian style fur hat both offer ample coverage and will keep your body heat in when you most need it.


Your Granny probably always told you to wrap up warm or you’ll catch your death, and a scarf is essential. Although a scarf keeps the draught out of your neck and adds an extra layer of insulation, it’s also very handy for shielding your nose and mouth for when it gets extra cold.


Yes, sunglasses are equally as essential on a winter holiday as on a summer one. The reason being the sun is often lower in the sky and those clear cold days are certainly breathtaking if you can see them. If there’s snow on the ground, the sun’s reflection from it can be near-blinding without a proper pair of sunglasses!

If you’re going skiing or trekking, get a set of polarized sunglasses so you don’t suffer from snow glare.

Good Shoes

Wherever you’re going on a winter vacation you’re going to need footwear that is up to the job. Hiking boots are great and tend to be waterproof, but they can be bulky and perhaps a bit of overkill if you’re not climbing a mountain. A good alternative is a pair of woolen shoes.

Wool is a great insulator, naturally waterproof and is durable enough to withstand wandering wintery paths.

Whatever footwear type you choose, it’s important to err on the side of comfort this winter. Warm, dry feet can be a big difference in enjoying your day.

Wooly Jumper

As we’re talking about wool, and it is the best natural insulator, a wooly jumper is one of those winter vacation essentials. For best results get a 100% wool jumper, ideally merino or alpaca.

Both of these types of wool are super fine and are naturally moisture wicking and breathable (meaning you avoid sweat), fantastically comfortable and, of course, warm.

Leather Gloves

A good pair of leather gloves is a lifesaver when the wind gets up. Make sure you get the right size and fit. If you’re a bit of a touchscreen fiend then make sure you get a pair with the screen sensitive pad. Dents do a great range of quality leather touchscreen gloves.

Double Wall Insulated Bottle

When you get to where you’re going there is nothing quite as satisfying as a warming drink. A good thermos will mean you get to keep a hot drink perfectly hot for up to 12 hours. Chilly’s do some of the best bottles with great funky designs.

Don’t forget to bring a reusable eco cup too!

Winter Jacket

Of course a good jacket is going to be essential, ideally one with a hood and a variety of pockets as well as breathable panels. If you don’t want to spend out on the hyper-expensive brands like Canada Goose, go for one of the ski or winter brands like Patagonia, North Face or Columbia.

For cool designs choose a snowboarding brand like Burton, Bonfire or Salomon.

With this selection of gear, you’ll be ready for the harshest winter vacation weather, no matter if you’re hiking the Alps or just touring the streets of Reykjavik.