5 Tips on How to Pack Light for Winter Solo Travel

How to Pack Light for Winter Solo Travel: After 68 countries and all 50 US states, every trip I still have some new lessons learned. Last month I made my 6th trip to one of my favorite top solo travel destinations, Quebec City. It is a great example of the issue of how to pack light to save fees for checked luggage and look chic still. Here are my 5 tips how to travel light in winter for savings and style.  For more information, see our short video on YouTube.

 How to Pack Light for Winter Solo Travel:

Tip One:

Take one to wear and one as a spare!

This raises a sensitive issue. How can you be parted from your favorite Bruno Maglis? Do leave them happily nestled in your closet at home.  For cold climes, there are two key things to think about.

-First and foremost: How to have a great trip when your feet are like ice!  I found this out one Jan. day in Russia.  The best option I found in the US was sold in the West and the Internet as Bear Paws. They are really warm and make everyone think you have just skied the top of the mountain!

-Second: You may dream of gliding by on ice skates but not of doing back flips on snow covered city sidewalks.  The best answer is to go to the Internet or a sports store and buy crampons or cleats that work to attach to the sole of most shoes and boots.  I have found them for about $25.  Two things to watch out for: (i.) Some types don’t stay on well. (ii) Indoors those with metal wires can pull the wool out of rugs or have you careening on tile floors!

-Third: Rules were made to be broken!  Take a third pair of dressier “street” shoes that you can change into for evening or put in your faithful tote for when you leave your hotel for a dress-up restaurant.

Four: Why do you need to take the spare?  I found this out when winter days soared to 30 degrees as I made my way around Quebec City. My chic apres-ski boots were soaked through and through as the snow melted on sidewalks and streets.  Even with cagey use of the hotel hairdryer, I had the prospect of 4 days of going barefoot!  As a result, my first night was spent in shops looking for water proof boots. So lesson learned: What freezes can unexpectedly melt!

(Watch out for this. See if the dye runs when wet. I had this with black boots. Spot check your boots first.)

Mine came from Quebec City. See similar ones at www.LLBean.com.

How to Pack Light for Winter Solo Travel:

Tip Two:

Don’t let your boots kill your look!

I have made two discoveries about boots. First, most of them look very much the same. Secondly, the price of a very stylish pair can equal that of a new car!

The solution I found is to camouflage a plain boot with a designer look. Here are the 3 ways to do that: (i.) I have faux fur cuffs that go over both ankle boots and longer versions for knee-high boots. They look like they are part of a more costly boot and add warmth and style. (ii.) If you prefer not to have the look of fur even synthetic versions, buy a long sock with a leopard print and roll it over the top of the boot. It will look like part of a more expensive boot. 3. Just this week I made a remarkable discovery of all places in my Safeway grocery store!  They had boot cuffs to add to the top of boots.

How to Pack Light for Winter Solo Travel:

Tip Three:

Make your hat a part of your overall look.

From an early age, we hear of the “dreaded hat head”.  There are really just two solutions: First, never wear a hat. Second, never take your hat off.

On cold winter days, it is a real “sartorial struggle” to know what to do. I choose the last option: Once I put a hat on I try to leave it on if I go to a café or for a drink.  That way you can skip having a really bad hair day.

Prowl carefully through shops before you choose a hat. Some of the worse looks: Ski hats that lack a pompom on top or a few inches of added height. Why is that? Men and women of all ages will not look good in tight knit hats.

Some other warm looks:

  1. Jackets with hoods seen on the street and at every ski resort
  2. Wool or faux fur hair bands.
  3. Long scarf without any hat. I saw this in Siberia one January. It was warm and did not wreck hair styles.

How to Pack Light for Winter Solo Travel:

Tip Four:

Be sure to take a belt or scarf.

Many jackets have belts. However, from petite to plus size, most coats without a belt look like a balloon.

I broke my own rule in Quebec. My favorite pink ski outfit was a partial miss when I left the slopes behind.  This also happens with the layered look in cold weather. Now that the style is to wear shirt tails out, be sure you can break up the monotony with color.

How to Pack Light for Winter Solo Travel:

Tip Five:

Don’t leave home without it (pods)!

Year round I pack with “pods” make from cast off plastic bags with zippers.  You can buy these. However, I have many for free that came with pillows or linens I had bought. These are a help in two ways.

First, you can save time and frustration by being able to find things easily in your carry-on.  I split sports clothes from street wear.  This is also ideal for wet or damp bathing suits you brought for the hot tub!

Second, if you wear layers on the plane, these plastic pouches are good for getting outer wear through security in bins.  For light colored jackets and pants, this will keep them clean, too.

One warning, I found very fast that I had on too many layers when the heat came on in my flights back and forth.

One last thought until next week’s TravelStyle blog: Jets are getting smaller and smaller. That means that carry-on’s that are the approved size (and even weight) may end up gate checked. Why is that? The wheels may be too large to go in the overhead bin.  There is no charge for gate checking. It can be very costly though if the time needed to get your bag back means you miss your next flight!

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