Winter is a beautiful time of year – picture snow-tipped trees, cosy sweaters, and the joy of sipping on hot cocoa while gazing at frosty landscapes. 

If you’re planning to travel overseas to a magical winter country, your packing list is essential for keeping that magic alive. Let's get real, nobody wants to be freezing on a vacation, right?

Find yourself asking “What should I prepare for overseas?” or “What’s the packing list for a winter vacation?”, here are the top do’s and don’ts to ensure you travel smart, stay cosy, and make the most of your winter escape.

The do’s for your holiday packing list

1. Remember essential toiletries

Winter vacationing comes with unique challenges, such as chapped lips and dry skin from the harshness of the cold air. To combat these issues, a well-curated toiletries bag should be at the top of your travel packing list for the best skin care.

Look for a quality lip balm with natural moisturisers like shea butter and SPF to provide a protective barrier against the cold and UV rays.

As for your skin, consider creamy moisturisers with ingredients like hyaluronic acid for deep hydration and ceramides to strengthen its natural barrier, ensuring your skin remains soft, supple, and radiant amidst the harsh winter.

Last but not least, sunscreen. A common misconception is that it’s only for sunny, warm days. In reality, the winter sun combined with snow glare can damage your skin. A broad-spectrum sunscreen is an essential that defends your skin against UVA and UVB rays, preventing sunburn and long-term damage even on the cloudiest days.

When every moment of your winter escapade is precious, the last thing you want is to spend an eternity in front of the mirror. Consider multi-functional products like BB creams, which combine hydration, coverage, and sun protection, simplifying your routine as well as saving your precious time and luggage space.

We recommend having a set of pre-packed, travel-sized toiletries to ensure no essentials are left behind, and unnecessary weight added to your baggage. They’re not only convenient to pack into your luggage but are also in compliance with airline regulations if one is bringing onboard the plane via a carry-on.

2. Layer up

Layering is your best answer to the fluctuating temperatures of winter and varying indoor and outdoor climates. It allows you the flexibility to add or shed layers, ensuring optimal comfort as you move between the crisp outdoor air and the cosy warmth of indoor spaces.

A winter travel essential is your base layer made of moisture-wicking fabrics like merino wool or synthetic fibres. They draw sweat away from the skin, keeping you dry and reducing the chill that comes with wet skin.

Next, insulation is vital for your middle layer. Fleece, down, or synthetic fill materials trap heat, forming a thermal barrier against the cold. They should be breathable, allowing excess heat and moisture to escape to prevent overheating.

As for your outer layer, this is your shield against the elements like wind, snow, and rain. Opt for water-resistant yet breathable materials, ensuring protection against precipitation while preventing internal condensation.

3. Bring important winter accessories

Besides layering up, ensure the non-negotiable accessories like gloves, scarves, and hats are at the top of your winter packing list. Being in a foreign country without these accessories can mean spending unnecessary money or shivering your way through the sights.

A bonus? The variety of materials and styles offers ample opportunities for fashionable expressions. You can instantly elevate your outfits, making yourself look chic even if you're wrapped up like a burrito.

4. Pack versatile items

When packing your clothing and accessories for your winter vacation, be sure to choose items that can serve multiple purposes. 

For instance, multi-functional clothing items, such as convertible pants that can be zipped off into shorts or a scarf that can also serve as a wrap, blanket, or head cover can be your best friends. 

These items can transition from day to night, walking tours to fancy dinners, all while keeping you warm. Even better, they give you the flexibility and adaptability to changing conditions without requiring additional space in your luggage.

Remove one-off items and stick to neutrals and classic colours. That neon green sweater might be fun, but it’s taking up precious space if it doesn’t match anything else.

5. Get a good pair of footwear

Whether you’re meandering through the snowy streets of Harbin or hiking up the Italian Dolomites, a good pair of winter footwear is essential for comfort and safety during cold weather travels. 

It ensures adequate insulation to keep feet warm and provide the necessary traction to reduce the risk of slips and falls.

The don’ts for your holiday packing list

1. Don’t overpack - less could be more

The exhilaration of a holiday, especially to the frost-kissed landscapes of colder countries, often triggers an innate response to pack everything but the kitchen sink. It's a common problem – the inclination to overpack, driven by the urge to wrap oneself in a cocoon of warmth. 

Here’s the truth: You don’t need a suitcase bursting at the seams with five sweaters for a week-long trip. When properly layered, two or three quality, versatile sweaters are sufficient for a week-long trip.

To avoid packing too much, create a list of essential items to ensure you’re only bringing what’s necessary. Vacuum bags or ziploc bags may also help make packing bulky winter wear easier. Save space, save weight, and save yourself the headache of lugging around a heavy travel bag

2. Don’t forget to account for your winter activities

Always plan for the specific activities you intend to do so you're not caught off-guard.

Heading to ski at one of the resorts in Japan? Ensure you have the right outfits like water-resistant jackets and pants as well as gear like ski poles and skis if you don’t wish to rent equipment. 

We recommend comprehensive travel insurance if you’re transporting expensive equipment to your overseas destination. This helps safeguard against unforeseen issues like theft, damage, or loss.

3. Don’t assume all cold places are the same

Another crucial aspect of packing for overseas holidays is understanding that not all cold environments are equal. 

Take the time to research the specific winter climate and weather forecast of your travel destination. The type of cold you'll encounter can vary dramatically, influenced by factors like geography, altitude, and proximity to bodies of water.

Cities like London, Wellington, and Oslo are quintessential examples of destinations characterised by a wet, cold climate. High humidity, rain, or snow accentuates the cold in these regions, making the air damp and the cold penetrating. 

In such environments, staying dry is as imperative as staying warm. You'll want to ensure water-resistant or waterproof boots, rain jackets, and gloves are at the top of your holiday packing list. 

Conversely, places like Denver, Almaty, and Calgary experience a dry cold, often due to their landlocked locations or high altitudes. Here, the cold is sharp, but the absence of dampness can make it more tolerable. 

The packing focus for dry cold shifts to insulation. Thick, heavy jackets, layered clothing, scarves, and mittens become essential. These items are geared to trap body heat, creating a barrier against the piercing cold during your winter vacation.

4. Don’t forget the tech

In the wintry embrace of cold destinations, your tech gadgets become just as susceptible to the chilly elements as you are. 

The plummeting temperatures have a knack for sapping the life out of batteries at an accelerated pace, rendering your electronic lifelines—think mobile phones, cameras, and other smart gadgets—vulnerable.

In this case, a well-charged power bank and battery can be the difference between capturing that perfect snowy landscape shot and ruefully watching your device power down.

But what’s capturing your frosty adventures without being able to share them in real time? In this digital age, connectivity is as essential as your winter jacket. Changi Recommends offers a range of SIM cards, eSIM and WiFi routers to ensure you stay connected, even in chilly terrains.

Bookmark these winter trip essentials

Winter travel can either be a dream or a nightmare, depending on your packing. By sticking to these real, relatable packing tips, not only will you stay warm, but you’ll travel lighter and smarter too. 

Changi Airport’s luggage services can also be a lifesaver, especially when you are thinking of embarking on a pre-flight shopping spree at Jewel or exploring the best activities at the refreshed Terminal 2. Simply make use of baggage locker storage to store your bags before you explore around.

And if the thought of lugging around your luggage during your transit at the airport makes you wince, you’ll be glad to know that porter services are also available at all terminals to help you move your bags when you depart from Changi Airport.

Trust us, your back will thank you.

So, gear up, layer well, and make the most of your winter wonderland!


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