How to Pack Light for Winter Travels

pack light for winter travels

Hitting the slopes. Experiencing a Hallmark-style “winter wonderland.” Visiting your favorite city without the summer hordes. There’s no denying it: winter travel rocks! What doesn’t rock: lugging heavy suitcases filled with bulky winter clothes through the airport. But while it may not be easy to pack light for winter travels, it can be done.

Here are 5 awesome strategies for keeping your winter suitcase as light as can be!

  • Use compression bags

    We’re huge fans of compression bags when we want to pack light!

    The way compression bags work is simple. They eliminate any excess air in the bag, compressing the bag and shrinking its volume by up to a whopping 80%.

    And good news if you’re trying to pack light for winter travels—compression bags are especially suited for insulated materials, such as ski clothes or winter jackets.

    Some compression bags come with a hand-held pump that can be used to suction out any excess air. Of course, this means that you’ll have to travel with the pump if you want to use them on your way home. But on the plus side, they’re more effective at reducing the volume of your clothing.

    Our favorite compression bags don’t require a vacuum; you roll them to get rid of excess air. They aren’t quite as space-saving, but you don’t have to travel with the pump.

  • Take up all the available space

    In your suitcase, that is!

    Your suitcase has a lot more space than you might think. For example, if you’re bringing extra shoes, you can stuff socks and rolled-up undergarments inside. This will maximize the space available and also keep your shoes from creasing. Win-win!

    Also, once you’ve packed all of your main items, squeeze other items into the corners and crevices. Your beanie can be rolled up and tucked into a corner. Hair tools or other grooming essentials can be slipped in between rows (or rolls) of clothing.

  • Wear your bulkiest clothes on the plane

    Now, we’re not talking about wearing your ski pants during your flight.

    But you can wear your thickest jeans, bulkiest hoodie or sweater, and heaviest boots. This way, you can free up some space in your suitcase, and also reduce the weight so you don’t get dinged by those overweight luggage fees, ouch!

    And don’t forget your bulkiest item: your winter coat or jacket.

    Wearing it on the plane might be too hot, but you can always carry it on and store it in the overhead bin. Some planes even have coat hooks built into the seatbacks!

  • Plan to reuse outfits

    Believe it or not, winter’s frigid temps are a good thing… for packing!

    In the heat and humidity of summer, your outfits get pretty much one use before they need to go into the dirty pile. That means packing 1-2 outfits per day. In the winter, though, clothes can easily be worn more than once.

    This is especially true for sweaters, sweatshirts, and other bulky items. Pick just a few of these, in neutral colors. Then add colorful shirts underneath for extra warmth (and to keep your outfits interesting!).

    Pants are also easy to “recycle” during your trip. You guys really don’t need multiple pairs of jeans, joggers, or dress pants!

    Reusing your favorite clothes is an easy way to help you pack light for winter travels.

  • Edit your packing list

    Be super realistic. How much of what you’re packing do you need versus how much of it is for those “what if” situations? Unless you’re sure you’re going to make fancy dinner reservations, you can probably skip the dressier clothes (and the shoes and other accessories they require).

    You can also edit not just what you pack, but how much of it. For example, you probably don’t need multiple pairs of boots or sneakers. Pick your favorites and stick with those during your trip.

    Same with accessories. One pair of gloves, one scarf, and one hat should be enough for all of your winter packing needs.

    Toiletries? Hotels and even many Airbnbs will provide the basics. If you’re bringing your own, though, leave the jumbo bottles at home and pack only what you think you’ll use

Winter clothes may be bulky, but your suitcase doesn’t have to be. Follow our tips and you’ll find it easy to pack light for winter travels.

And once you’ve finished packing, make the rest of your travels even easier by shipping your winter stuff to your hotel or Airbnb with LugLess. For less than the cost of the average checked bag, we’ll get your stuff to your location. No baggage claim; no waiting at the airport. You can just stroll right onto your plane… in your bulkiest clothes, of course!