Bulky winter wear is a drag on your traveling plans. Stuffed coats, wool sweaters and thick winter boots make your luggage heavy, while your carry-ons barely fit a few pairs of gloves and scarves. Use these tips to minimize your packing list and make just a little more space for everything you need.
Pick your few essentials
One belt, a pair of earrings and a small brush. Many hotels will provide hair dryers, shaving cream and razors and other grooming items. Buy travel sized toiletries at your destination. You’ll be surprised how all the little pieces add up.
Wear your bulkiest footwear on the plane. Bring along versatile (read, fashionable enough for evening wear), warm, boots that double as walking, traveling shoes. These should be water resistant, flexible, and pick an ankle style rather than a tall boot.
Pick two to three colors that are from the same palette and stick to solids. Choose items that can mix and match to make a few outfits. A pair of black pants like the On the Fly Pant by Lululemon is essential for winter travel, because it can easily be dressed up or down.
Instead of wool sweaters or coats, invest in a quality set of thermal underwear. There are many thin, well-insulating fabrics. Layering is a strong strategy for traveling because you’ll need to shed when you end up in a heated indoor cafe.
For your warm jacket, bring along one with a hood. Hoods are your protection in the cold and rain, and if it’s detachable, that offers more options for your look. Puffy, quilted down coats such as this one can compress into very small spaces. Otherwise, wear thick coats on the plane. If you must put it in your luggage, zip it up and lay it flat on top before you close the bag.
Packing cubes can help you maximize your suitcase space. Tightly roll your clothes rather than fold them, secure them with rubber bands, and put small items (gloves, socks, scarves) inside shoes or pockets.
Fit a few more items by closing up the bag, putting the bag upright (maybe even sit on it, if it’s a flexible case and nothing inside is fragile) and letting it settle for several minutes. Then, unzip and see if you’ve discovered any space. Corners are often open for a last few pieces.
Mariko is a high school English teacher who has three children, illegible handwriting and an obsession with mail-order artisan ice cream. She lives in Hawaii, but she makes a point to eat her way through big cities as often as she can.