What to Pack for a Cold Destination

If you’re used to taking tropical vacations, you might be completely clueless about what you’ll need to stay comfortable in the cold. (And when kids are uncomfortable, we all know the whole trip can be ruined!) After spending time skiing in Colorado and wandering through Toronto during a record-breaking winter, I’ve compiled a list of must-have items to pack for a cold destination.

what to pack
Photo: Joe Hatasaki
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Just a note: Nothing I’m sharing here is sponsored; these truly are just a few of my favorite things. Also, this is not an exhaustive packing list because you’ll still need hats and gloves, for example. But here are a few items you may not think of right off the bat, but will be so glad to have:

1. Moisturizer and an Occlusive

Typically, cold weather goes hand-in-hand with dryness. So avoid flaky, irritated and cracked skin with a great moisturizer like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. My whole family uses it for both our face and body. It’s typically sold in stores in a big tub, but I’ve found travel-size tubes of the cream on Amazon if you’d like to be able to fly carry-on only. Occlusives are thicker skin products that form a barrier on your skin to prevent moisture from escaping. Vaseline is a classic example, but we really like CeraVe Healing Ointment, which can double as a lip balm.

2. Smartwool Socks

Skiers and snowboarders love Smartwool socks! They’re made of wool that is extremely warm, but still manages to be thin. They’re not at all bulky, so you can wear them with different types of shoes and still be comfortable. My toes never felt cold, whether I was skiing in the mountains or gallivanting around the city.

3. Buff

There are different names for these lightweight and versatile accessories, but imagine a super thin and practical infinity scarf. A Buff can be worn as a scarf, a headband, a hoodie, or over your face to keep your nose and mouth warm. It can easily be thrown in your handbag without taking up room. This is an easy addition when packing for a cold destination.

4. Base Layers

This is a modern way of saying long underwear, and trust me, you’ll be glad to have them! These thermal tops and leggings go under your clothes, and keep you warm without having to add bulk. They’re especially necessary if you plan to be outside for any length of time. Merino wool is the best, but it costs more. If you’re buying base layers for someone who is full grown, merino wool is worth the investment because they last forever. The fabric actually wicks away moisture and keeps odor away.

5. Long Parka

I have an older North Face version that has been with me all over the world! A long parka in particular is important because having your butt and thighs covered makes a world of difference in a cold destination. It may not seem like those extra inches matter, but when you’re in single-digit temps, you’ll be grateful for a longer coat.

What are you sure to pack when traveling to a cold destination?

About Carmen Sognonvi

Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

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If you’re used to taking tropical vacations, you might be completely clueless about what you’ll need to stay comfortable in the cold. To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of must-have items to pack for a cold destination.

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