I am sitting at the airport waiting for our flight to board for a ski trip at Smugglers Notch in Vermont. As a Florida family, we love leaving the sunshine to visit winter destinations. We like to see snow, snow, and even more snow. On this trip, we are putting all of our winter travel tips to use.
There was a huge snow storm that is coming through that could affect our trip. However, we are prepared, even if Mother Nature decides to make it an adventure. Here are some of my favorite winter travel tips for you to try on your next winter trip.
Start with the Right Suitcase
I normally pride myself in being an expert, minimalist luggage packer. We travel more than 200 days of the year, so I have had a bit of practice. However, for winter trips, I throw out the need to have minimal luggage and pull out the big suitcases. Just those ski pants alone can fill half the suitcase!
With luggage, I love the IT luggage. These suitcases are super light. Even packed to the gills, this suitcase is still around 35 pounds. I never have to worry about not making the airline weight requirements with this luggage. This type suitcase is perfect for a winter vacation.
Check the Weather
This probably seems like a no-brainer. However, I hear travelers all of the time arrive to a destination unprepared. They always end up buying shoes or a jacket or gloves. You are spending 10 times more buying these items at a destination versus bringing or even buying from home.
One of my favorite apps is Weather Bug. I use it all of the time. That is how I found out we are heading into 20-degree-below-zero temperatures in Vermont. Yep, it is going to be cold for this Florida family.
Pack in Layers
With winter travel, I pack in layers (just like you should dress in the winter, too). Be sure you have the long underwear. Then start adding outfits around that. With winter travel, I do not have an “outfit” each day. I mix and match sweaters with pants with jackets. You do not need to pack a new outfit each day. Just pack a few basics and layers.
Keep in Touch with Your Destination
I do love apps for tracking weather, but the destination knows best. Contact your destination (hotel, car rental company on site, CVB, vacation home owner, etc) a few days before your trip to double check the current weather. If it sounds like there may be bad weather, talk scenarios with them. What happens if the snow storm is too bad and you cannot pick us up? Then what?
With travels, you always want to be prepared. Taking this extra step will help you have a wonderful winter vacation, even if there is a crisis.
Book Your Flights Around Bad Airports
When flying in the winter months, I always plan my flights around the airports. If you have to have a connecting flight, check the location. With our flight to Vermont, we had lots of connection flight options including Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. We knew the first three airports would have some big challenges with weather. We ended up going with a connection in Atlanta. This airport had a less likely opportunity for bad weather.
Pack Ziploc Bags
Just like going to a tropical destination, winter travel usually means a lot of wet or damp clothes, gloves, hats, and jackets. I like to pack a lot of Ziploc bags. I can pack all of those wet things, so they do not get the other things in my luggage wet or stinky.
You should always be prepared, especially during winter travel. If you are renting a car and driving to a winter destination, be sure you have an emergency kit.
For this trip, we are riding with a shuttle company to our resort. We still have a mini emergency kit, just in case. You always want to be prepared for the worst, but expect the best.
What you pack in an emergency kit varies by how much driving you’ll be doing and your destination(s). Just a few suggested items include emergency space blankets for the whole family, a flashlight, a lighter, and a first aid kit.
Don’t Forget Your Face & Nose
When visiting winter destinations, you do not always think of your face and nose. However, winter destinations are very similar to tropical destinations. Be sure you have your sunblock, moisturizer, and chapstick. The sun reflects off the snow, so your chances of getting sunburn is even stronger than at the beach. Your lips also get super chapped due to the sun, cold weather, and wind.
I also pack petroleum jelly and put a little bit inside our noses. This was a fun tip I got from the locals in Minnesota. It works great! It keeps your nose moist and prevents any cold weather nose bleeds.
With winter travel, it is always about being over prepared. Think about your trip and possible scenarios. Then, plan your packing and traveling around all potential outcomes. Just a little pre-planning will help you have a wonderful visit with Frosty the Snowman.