If there is one thing I learned about London, is that the cold weather isn’t something to mess with. Unless you’re Elsa, you better gear up properly or the cold will get the best of you. It’s not enough that packing for winter is already a b*tch, but being actually out there in the cold, in another country, wearing big heavy clothes, it can get pretty damn exhausting too. I’m not a pro at winter yet, but I realize that I don’t mind it that much. There are pros and cons, just like any other weather, and as always, there is something to be learned.
So if you’re a noob like me who didn’t even know how to properly wear a scarf for actual weather related reasons, here are a few things I’ve learned while traveling in the cold. Gear up, for winter has come.
1.) Go minimal.
And I don’t mean pack light, because it’s winter, and as a woman of my generation, who am I to tell you how many pieces you need to roll in your suitcase. When I say go minimal, I mean plan your wardrobe wisely and pack items that are efficient. You don’t need twelve different sweaters for two weeks of travel. Most of the time, you won’t be showing it because it’ll be too damn cold and you’ll be layering it anyway. Don’t be fooled with the lighter materials too because they probably won’t do so well keeping you warm. If you must pack the heavy fabrics, pack it knowingly that you’d use it more than once. Less is more nowadays. Go for thermals, odor resistants, and water resistant materials. Splurge on multi-purpose items if you could, even that ridiculously expensive North Face jacket you never knew you’d need. The better material you have, the less items you’d need for layering so don’t hesitate. If the cold isn’t your thing, you’ll thank yourself later.
2.) Stick with the neutrals.
Another form of minimalism, going neutral is an awesome idea. They match and work well practically with everything so it’s an easy palette to work with. Going neutral will allow you to mix and match your pieces efficiently so whether you packed just enough or not, you won’t necessarily have to look the same on your photos. I personally love grays, whites, and black. Black will always be in style and the fact that it helps keep your temperature warm will definitely be an advantage in the winter.
3.) Or stick with a color scheme.
If neutral tones aren’t your thing, you can still hack the system by sticking with a color scheme of your choice instead. Stick to a palette where each color compliments the other. Remember, the key rule is to mix and match, layer, and to keep yourself warm enough. Being stylish about it doesn’t hurt either. So, if you don’t want to miss out on expressing yourself through your outfits, plan out your palette and if you need a pop of color, add a piece to your suitcase. I’m really into a lot of blush pink tones this season so I have a lot of that together with gray and white. Majority of what I packed were also black, so I can go in different directions with my outfits if I want to.
4.) Wear your heaviest pieces on the plane.
If you have problems sticking to the weight limit like I sometimes do, and you can’t seem to figure out which ones to give up, just rearrange a little by layering some of your heaviest stuff during your flight. Yes, you might look a wee bit ridiculous, but it’s a brilliant hack. Depending on how much you’re wearing, it’ll definitely get hot and uncomfortable so do this at your own risk. I’m just hoping your heaviest pair of boots are actually pretty comfy though.
5.) Know your layers.
Layering will basically be your lifesaver when the temperature drops. That is why I mentioned right away that it is essential to pack efficient materials. You can layer all you want but if you’re using all cotton fabrics where the cold can easily get through, you’ll be freezing miserably still. Wool, fleece, and anything snuggly and warm are great to play layers with. They can be quite bulky, but if you consider the first few things I’ve mentioned, you can accomplish this winter packing with flying colors.
6.) Save money on off season traveling.
Unless of course you’re intentionally seeking a winter vacation like a ski trip or just a nice snowy getaway, many people actually dread traveling at this time of the year. Known as off peak season, you must not snub the idea of walking around in the cold because truth is, this can be a good thing. I don’t do so well with crowds to a point that I actually hate them, so anything that will minimize that is great news to me. So not only is winter season perfect for people who doesn’t enjoy being around tourists like themselves, but it’s also a great time to find great travel deals. From flights to accommodations to tours, depending on where you’re going, you’ll be saving some money… that will probably go to your next trip anyway. A win-win situation if you ask me.
7.) Read up on events.
Not only for the deals, but winter is a great time for some pretty cool events. From pop-ups, themed dinners, light shows, concerts, holiday events, Christmas markets… it’s a very festive season! Do a little research on what the city is offering and you never know what kind of once in a lifetime event you’ll come across.
8.) If you hate the cold, you can always opt for indoor activities.
City strolls are great in the winter because it’s somehow warmer in a concrete jungle compared to being in an open field. But if tons of strangers’ body heat doesn’t sound appealing to you, perhaps it’s the best time to indulge in, perhaps, museums. Learning and staying warm at the same time? Double win. There are countless of winter-friendly urban adventures you can do that’s available and that will fit anyone’s interest. Cafe hopping. An expedition to find the best hot chocolate. Aquariums. The list goes on.
Beat The Weather
9.) Stay dynamic, stay warm.
Winter is a beautiful time to be snuggled up and stay cozy indoors. It’s so easy not to be lazy this season and to be tempted back to bed. The thought of an adventure outside is just intimidating when it involves bundling up into layers of blanket-like clothing. But don’t let that become a fear. The hardest part is getting out. Once your body embraces the cold, your body will eventually adapt to it. The more you move, the warmer your body will be. So stay dynamic so you don’t completely freeze. Once you’re walking around, the temperature gets easier, trust me!
10.) Drink lots of water.
You’ll be hearing this quite a lot from me. I like to nag everyone I know to drink more water. Whatever the climate is, truly, water is the answer to everything. Want to rectify your metabolism? Drink water. Want clear skin? More water. Want to be able to keep up in any weather? Drink more water!
11.) A hot drink always does the trick.
I’ve never been a coffee person but I do love my tea. And pretentiously enough, I’ve fallen quite hard for it even more during my time here in London. If I could infuse it intravenously, I probably would for all I know. It’s such a genius way to get ahold of your body temperature all the while indulging in its herby goodness. Coffee lovers would probably describe the feeling more intensely, but you get what I mean. Hot chocolate or mulled wine is another delicious option that I have definitely abused this holiday season. Oh and FYI, while we think alcohol could keep us warm, it actually does quite an alteration to our reflexes that controls our temperature so it could be quite the danger.
Other Winter Wisdom
12.) Load up on moisturizer.
I’ve always had combination oily skin so dryness has never really been a problem. But for many years, my skin has been used to humid climate so abrupt changes will easily cause it to act out. It definitely took a couple of weeks for my skin to adjust to the weather. Consider the worst drastic change and definitely load up on moisturizer. Use something that already works perfectly for your skin. Something that you’re already used to because now isn’t the time to mess with new products.
13.) Get the flu shot prior to your trip.
Weather change is one thing, but the airport itself is a massive place where thousands of people come in on a daily, making it easy to contract a virus. I normally don’t get the flu shot because I like to believe that my immunity is pretty on top of its game. Of course that wasn’t the case on my recent trip to Ireland. I’m still sick while writing this. Get ahead of the game to avoid compromising your trip and get vaccinated at least two weeks before your flight.
14.) Watch the sweat.
As I’ve said, movement is critical to keeping your body warm. Being active in the middle of dropping temperature is a good thing, but mind the sweat. Your wet clothes will conduct heat away from your body, so whatever dynamic movements you’re making, it’s a futile effort if you’re constantly perspiring anyway. Find a pace where you’re warm enough, but not too much exertion that you’re sweating all over.
15.) Mind your cycle.
With so many period tracking apps available, it’s much easier these days to get to know our cycle. It’s a smart habit to do so and it will absolutely benefit you in so many ways. But here’s a random fact that you might wanna know for your winter travels. Your temperature rises just right after ovulation and your body will produce much, much progesterone, which is the hormone responsible for your hot flashes. Proven and tested, it definitely makes walking in the cold so much better. And just another FYI, pregnancy will definitely keep you warm, or hot, as well. Just something to look forward to in the winter time if you’re already there? No? Ok.
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