Ultimate Winter Vacation Packing Guide: What to Pack for a Cold Weather Trip

Ultimate Winter Vacation Packing Guide: What to Pack for a Cold Weather Trip

It can be difficult packing for a winter vacation destination, especially if it is your first time! I’ve visited Iceland, Switzerland, and many US cities in the winter and learned which clothing items are essential to bring for a winter vacation. In this post, I will be sharing the ultimate winter vacation packing guide and the items you need to pack for a cold weather trip.

Here are some items to include in your winter trip packing list:

  • Heavy Coat
  • Down Jacket
  • Snow Pants
  • Fleece-Lined Pants
  • Jeans
  • Sweaters
  • Wool Base Layers
  • Beanies + Scarves + Gloves
  • Wool Socks
  • Winter Boots


Winter Vacation Packing Guide

Adequate outerwear is crucial for your winter vacation packing list. The outerwear you pack for a cold weather trip all depends on the weather. If you are visiting a city that will be cold, you can pack a cute and stylish trench, sherpa or puffer coat. These are great coat options to dress up your warm layers!

If you will be visiting a snowy or more extreme weather destination, you will want your outerwear to be insulated, windproof, and waterproof. I recommend bringing a heavy coat like a parka. These will be more of a splurge, but I personally think its worth the investment so you are not cold on your trip.

Trench Coats

Sherpa Coats

Puffer Coats

Down Jackets


Outerwear Bottoms

For outerwear bottoms, this depends on the destination and what activities you will be doing. If you will be in extreme weather conditions or going skiing, snow shoeing, etc – I recommend packing insulated and waterproof snow pants. For more casual activities, I would wear fleece-lined tights or jeans with a base layer underneath.

Snow Pants

Fleece-Lined Bottoms


I love packing oversized sweaters on a winter vacation. They are super comfy, look cute, and perfect for layering. I always like to pack a few neutral colors and a couple fun colors or patterns.

Casual Sweaters

Athleisure Sweaters


Layers are so important to include in your winter vacation packing list. Insulated parkas and snow pants sometimes will not be enough to keep you warm. I love wearing merino wool thermal layers. They are moisture-wicking, insulating, temperature regulating, odor resistant, and breathable! When I went to Switzerland and paired my merino wool leggings with snow pants, I was so warm! They are even perfect to wear under jeans if you are walking around a city. I recommend packing 2-3 pairs of base layers for a one week trip!

Merino wool can be expensive especially if it is 100% merino wool. However, it makes a huge difference! When I went to Iceland, I only packed base layers made of synthetic and cotton. I felt like I was never warm enough no matter how many layers I wore. For my Switzerland trip, I splurged on 100% merino wool base layers and my body always felt super warm with way less layers that I wore in Iceland!

Winter Boots

Winter Vacation Packing Guide - Snow Boots

When you are deciding what type of winter boot to pack for a cold weather trip, it is important to think about the different activities you will be doing on your winter vacation. If you are exploring a city, I recommend packing a casual winter boot that is super comfortable. If you will be doing different types of winter activities, I recommend packing a well-insulated and waterproof boot. For winter vacations, I always recommend bringing at least two different styles of winter boots! One of my favorite winter boot brands are Sorel. They have a great variety of different styles! Also – one helpful tip in ordering winter boots – always order a half size bigger to leave warm for thicker socks!

Casual Winter Boots

Winter Activity + Snow Boots

Winter Accessories

Winter Vacation Packing Guide

I’ve listed a bunch of different winter accessories that are great to pack for a cold weather trip! I’ve included beanies, scarves, gloves for different activities, merino wool socks, and even hand and toe warmers! My go-to items to pack are a few different color beanies, a comfy scarf, one pair of casual gloves, a pair of gloves for winter activities, and wool socks.

Winter Packing Tips

Winter Vacation Packing Guide

Making the most of luggage space is always a challenge when packing for a winter trip. Winter items tend to be bulkier so everything tends to add up quickly. Here are a few winter packing tips to help you pack light and make the most out of your winter vacation!

  • Choose a hard side luggage. It’s much easier to keep dry in the rain and snow and it helps compress everything inside.
  • Wear your heaviest stuff on travel days. I recommend wearing your winter coat and bulkiest boots on the plane. This will save room in your suitcase!
  • Plan your outfits! One thing I always do before a trip is lay out all the outfits I want to bring and decide which outfits to wear for each day or activity on vacation. This prevents me from overpacking. Sweaters are bulky so try to bring less and re-wear. Winter trips are easier to re-wear outfits since you tend to have your coat on most of the time!
  • Use packing cubes. Rolling your clothes in compression packing cubes will help you save space in your suitcase!
  • Quality items are worth the investment. To ensure you stay warm and comfortable on your winter trip, I recommend getting good quality pieces. Focus on insulated and waterproof boots, merino wool base layers, and having a weather-resistant coat.
Winter Vacation Packing Guide

I hope my winter vacation packing guide has been super helpful in helping you decide the items to pack on your future cold weather trip!

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