Winter brings chilly weather and its own set of packing challenges. Carry-ons that seemed roomy in summer are suddenly bursting at the seams. The bulkiness of winter clothes means you need to pack strategically, but you also don’t want to miss the essentials.
The Winter Travel Accessory You Should Always Pack
We asked some of the best-dressed travel experts we know to give us the scoop on the one winter travel accessory they won’t leave home without.
SmarterTravel Editor Jamie Ditaranto insists that old school is the best school when it comes to winter travel accessories. “In winter, I always travel with ear muffs. On the plane, they keep me warm and cancel out the ambient noise while I sleep, and once I arrive in a cold destination, I’m always glad to have them.”
The ever-fashionable Kai Lawson, aka Pasadena Travel Girl, swears by a chunky scarf on her winter trips to colder climes: “A thick and chunky texture gives you a cozy feeling. It also has many uses such as keeping you warm on a flight while looking effortlessly stylish.”
SmarterTravel editor Shannon McMahon seconds the scarf as an essential winter travel accessory: “It’s a blanket. It’s a cool accessory. It can wipe up hot tea if someone spills on you mid-flight.” That last part? True story.
Kit Bernardi of KitTravels.com is a freelance travel journalist and photographer who always packs her fingerless gloves with mitten flaps for added warmth: “I don’t need to remove them to take photographs, write or work on my phone. Practical and stylish, the gloves add a fun pattern and punch of color to winter outerwear.”
No one says a winter travel accessory has to be fashion-related. SmarterTravel Senior Editor Patricia Magaña always packs travel-sized tissues/wipes in winter: “I always travel with wet tissues like this all-natural option. A wet tissue goes the distance by wiping everything from noses to tray tables to spills.” And you have a tissue on hand, you’re never going to have to resort to your sleeve, so it’s really a fashion win after all.
A Solar Charger
Intrepid Group’s Michael Sadowski insists that the best travel accessory is a power accessory, and never leaves home without his GoalZero solar charger. “My winter travel is usually about embracing the cold head-on. Intrepid Travel’s Expedition series recently brought me to the Russian Arctic, where my phone battery would be unpredictable at best. Solar power is not only better for the environment but a necessary accessory for staying connected in the most extreme climates.”
SmarterTravel Sarah Schlichter knows that a winter trip is only fun if you’re not cold the whole time. “I get cold easily, so I never leave home in the winter months without a few pairs of cozy socks. I like practical wool socks for hiking (such as these antimicrobial ones), but in the evening at the hotel I might go with more fun, colorful options.”