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9 Winter Travel Essentials for Your Next Trip

Cold weather trips equal snowy winter wonderlands, holiday markets, and gorgeous lights—but the downsides of being freezing and it getting dark early mean you need to be prepared.

Winter Travel Essentials Perfect for the Season’s Travel

Here are nine winter travel essentials that you need for your next trip.

Reflective Gear

(Photo: Oiselle)

Your list of winter travel essentials should definitely include some reflective gear. Thr days are shorter in the winter, meaning you’re more likely to be out exploring in the dark (especially if you’re heading to a place like Tromso, Norway, where the sun doesn’t rise from November to January).

When I travel, I always try to go for a run in the morning before I start my touring—both to see a new place from a different perspective as well as to offset all that vacation eating. So I always pack my Lesley Tights and Wazzie Wool Half Zip from Oiselle for winter jogs. The tights have a brilliant reflective trim along the sides to keep me visible to cars and cyclists—and the inside has a light fleece for added warmth that doesn’t make me overheat. The tights even have a zippered storage pocket, unlike most workout tights. The half-zip also has a pocket in the rear, which is big enough to hold your phone and hotel key, plus the merino wool is odor-resistant.


(Photo: Amazon)

Mittens are proven to be warmer than gloves, so if you find that your freezing fingers are driving you inside prematurely, pack a pair of Outdoor Research Stormbound Mitts. These mittens surround a layer of 800+ fill down with two layers of Primaloft synthetic insulation, resulting in a not-too-bulky pair of mittens that will keep your hands warm and dry. I love the rib-knit cuff and secure wrist closure, which keeps cold air or snow from getting in the bottom of these mittens.

A Backup Battery

(Photo: Amazon)

Just like us, Smartphones are also sensitive to cold weather—battery life drains quickly in freezing temperatures. A backup battery like ResQ Battery is one of my winter travel essentials so that I can easily bring my phone back to life in case I need to make an emergency call, navigate back to my hotel, or just snap a photo.

Lip and Body Balm

(Photo: Amazon)

Both flying and cold weather can cause skin dryness, so if you’re flying somewhere in the winter, prepare for a double dose of chapped lips and parched skin. Make room in your 3-1-1 compliant toiletry kit by packing a balm that can work on both lips and skin, like this multitasker by Rosebud.

A Winter Driving Kit

(Photo: Amazon)

You don’t want to be caught out in extreme winter weather if your car breaks down, so put this Winter Safety Kit by AAA in the back of your car (or in your rental if you’re headed somewhere snowy/icy). This 66-piece kit includes a folding shovel, blanket, flares, and more, so that you’ll be safe even if you encounter an unexpected storm on the road.

Foot Warmers

(Photo: Amazon)

My feet are always freezing, so I like to pack these thin foot warmers by HotHands when I travel. Stick them to the bottoms of your socks for heat for up to nine hours. The foot warmers are super slim, so you won’t even feel them when you’re walking—and they’re also great for skiers since they won’t effect the fit of your boots.

Heated Gear

(Photo: Amazon)

If you really hate cold hands, I recommend splurging on a pair of heated mittens, like these ones by Volt. They use lightweight, rechargeable batteries to provide non-stop heat inside your mittens for up to eight hours. It’s like having a tiny oven inside your gloves! These mittens are also waterproof and are super insulated, even without the batteries.

A Scarf with Pockets

(Photo: Nordstrom)

A big cozy scarf can serve so many purposes during winter travels—from a plane blanket to a makeshift head covering to a shawl. This Herringbone Pocket Scarf from Nordstrom not only keeps you warm and covered, but also has pockets, which can either be used to warm your hands or just to keep your stuff within reach.


(Photo: Walgreen)

Give yourself a fighting chance against the dreaded winter cold or flu by packing some Emergen-C for when you need an extra dose of vitamin C. There’s even a nighttime formula now that contains Melatonin, which could be great if you’re looking to get some sleep on an overnight flight.

More from SmarterTravel:

Caroline Morse Teel hates the cold weather unless it involves skiing. Follow Caroline on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline to see her winter travel essentials in action.

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