Jul 27, 2017

Travel Light: Warm to Cold Climate Packing

Of all of the places we could go in the summer, you would think that somewhere warm and tropical would come to mind, right? That’s not usually the case here. Our summer travels have included places like Denmark, Iceland, and Alaska just to name a few. We usually travel from a place that is warm to somewhere that is at least 30 degrees cooler and sometimes that makes it hard to pack. Today I’m sharing some of my best travel light tips for warm to cold climate packing, starting first with what to wear for travel…

Warm to Cold Travel Outfit

Classic Alpaca Cape
I stand by this cape proud. It was the best double-duty item I had in Iceland with me and I take it anywhere else semi-cold. You can wear it as a cape, a wrap, a scarf. A nursing cover? You can even roll it up as a pillow if you need to!
Pleat-Back Tee Dress
I recently just added this dress to my wardrobe and not only is it super comfy, it’s breathable for hot days and covers enough to make it through airport security without flashing anyone.
Knockout Sport Pocket Tight
These tights are perfect to wear with a dress (that has no pockets!) because you can easily access the pocket if you need to. Keep them in your personal item until boarding is about to start, or put them on once you get cold on the flight.
Classic Leather Zipper Tote
I have carried this tote for years and on my travels and it never lets me down. The zipper ensures that your items don’t fall out if the tote gets knocked over or shoved under an airplane seat in transit.
Free Rn
Your shoes will vary based on your activities. For example I wore my hiking boots to Iceland but these sneakers home. To Denmark I wore flats for the flight, and to Paris I wore white sneakers. I usually try to wear my larger shoes so I have more room in my suitcase. As an added bonus, these sneakers can me mashed pretty flat in a suitcase.

Travel Light Warm to Cold Packing Tips

  1. Dress in layers! The more combinations you can make from your clothing, the better.
  2. Choose your shoes wisely. What activities are you doing? You shouldn’t need more than 2 pairs. Wear one, pack one.
  3. Pack double-duty items. This means picking a clothing item with more than one function, like the cape above!
  4. Wear colors that don’t get dirty, my favorite is all black. I am not the cleanest person in the world and it always looks great.
  5. Pack your jacket last. This is going to sound counterintuitive for space, but packing it on top means it can be easily compressed when zipping your suitcase.
  6. Plan your travel outfit ahead! Wear a t-shirt dress or slip dress to begin travel, and bring a couple of extra layers like leggings and a sweater for once you cool off.
  7. Do not save packing for last minute. Every year we run around like madmen trying to get everything done last minute and we end up hotter before we leave.
  8. Wear your biggest pair of shoes. On the way to Iceland I wore my hiking boots because they took up too much room in my suitcase otherwise.
  9. Layer multiple items. You can layer a crewneck sweater, button down, or even a t-shirt over most casual dresses to make them look more like a skirt.
  10. Leggings work wonders. Mixing leggings with items like a dress for quickly changing temperatures is an easy way to make an outfit warmer. Later on you can layer with jeans if the temperature is even cooler.
  11. Roll your clothing. I’m not big on rolling clothing because I don’t like wrinkles, but if I need extra room in my suitcase I don’t hesitate.
  12. Pack laundry detergent. I like to bring a small amount of liquid laundry detergent to wash clothing in a sink if I need to. Remember in cooler temperatures you probably won’t sweat as much unless you’re very active.

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Have you been to somewhere cold from a hot climate? Have any tips to share?

Expand Comments

Thank you for the helpful post!
I love the bikini from the first picture!
Could you maybe link it, or tell me where you have it from/what brand it is? That would be super nice!
Best wishes!

It’s from Victoria’s Secret and I’m not sure they sell it anymore, I’m sorry!

This reminds me of an old colleague of mine and his law of travel. (Nothing fancy, just in case anyone is curious: https://meiert.com/en/blog/meierts-law-of-travel/ )

Doing some early research for Helsinki in December so this is helpful.

Excellent tips! Packing at any time can be tough but your tips are very practical which will take some of the sting away!

Seems as though you have become a master at packing light, those options look perfect for traveling from warm to cold climates. Simple and easy enough. I love the shoes and I be that Alpaca top is super warm!

These are great tips! We flew from Orlando to Montreal back in March and encountered a 60 degree temperature difference. We felt a little silly getting on the airplane with our heavy coats, but were grateful for their accessibility when we landed. I kept my snow boots available and changed out of my Chelseas and into them when we landed. I stuffed my coat pockets with all of my cold-weather accessories (hat, gloves, scarves, etc.) to avoid packing them, as your coat doesn’t usually count as a “personal item” on your flight. I found I really only needed to wash my base layers since that is what I sweated in most (less laundry!).

Putting items in the pockets is GENIUS! I could have so done that on our trip to Iceland as I had to fish them all out on the floor at the airport, lol.

I wear my coat on the plane and then use it for a pillow. ) Love traveling, but we haven’t done too much of it lately. Soon.

Honestly, I wish I traveled more! These are really great tips. Love the “layer as much as you can” one. That is so so true and makes changing a breeze!

You offer some great tips for packing in a warm climate for visiting a cold climate. Travelers can use the same tips for the reverse as well.

Packing can be a bit of a headache. Thanks for the helpful tips!!!

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