It’s that time of year when, whether you travel near or far, pretty much everywhere is cold.
But as the old saying goes, there really is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices. And to be honest, we don’t think a bit of chilly weather is an excuse to miss out on a winter holiday. Right?
That said, if you’re a fan of long days of exploring and sightseeing, you’ll need to be especially careful to dress appropriately for the weather. After all, being outside in the cold for prolonged periods can cause you to get ill — and come on, who wants to be unwell while on holiday?
With that in mind, here’s a definitive list of what to pack for a winter holiday that’s as practical as it is fashionable.
What to Pack for a Winter Holiday: 10 Staples You Need
Here’s the deal: the following key pieces should form the basis of your winter holiday wardrobe. Then you can simply add to them to create winter looks that would make even the fashion elite envious.
Keep in mind that the exact amount of clothing that you take will depend on how long you’re going away for.
1. Thermal Clothing
Firstly, base layers are a must in terms of what to pack for a winter holiday.
Luckily there are lots of widely available options to fulfil your every thermal need, from cosy socks and tops to warm, insulating leggings, and even pants!
For the perfect base layer, pair these Sumptuously Soft Thermal Socks (*) and this handy two-pack of Heatgen Thermal Leggings (*) from Marks and Spencer with this Crew Neck Long Sleeve Baselayer from Decathlon.
2. Walking Boots
What to pack for a winter holiday 101: a good pair of trusty walking boots fit for all kinds of adventures on foot.
Contrary to popular belief, your designated walking shoes don’t necessarily have to be hiking boots — just comfy shoes that you can walk in, whether that’s trainers or your favourite pair of combats.
For a great all-around hiking shoe that’s both lightweight and durable, we love Keen’s Targhee III Low Rise Hiking Shoes (*). However, any pair of chunky-soled boots like these from H&M (*) would do the trick.
3. A Winter Coat or Jacket
Base layer, check. Walking shoes, check. The next logical step is to pick out a nice big winter coat to keep yourself nice and warm all day long.
Thick and padded is the way forward, while bonus points go to anything midi length that can keep your cheeks feeling toasty!
Oh, and it helps if said coat is waterproof too. At the end of the day, we all know that the weather can be famously unreliable even at the best of times.
Believe it or not, it is possible to achieve the holy trinity of warmth, comfort and style. For example, why not try this Recycled Thermowarmth Padded Puffer Coat (*) from M&S or this New Look Black Midi Puffer Jacket (*)?
4. Winter Woolies
Next up, when it comes to accessorising your winter holiday outfits, it’s always better to wrap up so you’re comfortably warm. Remember, you can always de-layer later if necessary.
Hat, scarf, gloves — you name it, you need it. But if it ever comes down to choosing just one, wearing a hat is especially important because you actually lose heat from the top of your head (who knew?).
We’re fans of this Grey Cable Knit Faux Fur Bobble Hat (*). If you’re not a hat person, don’t shy away from ear muffs or a chunky knitted headband like this H&M one (*) to stop your ears from falling off in the cold.
5. Neutral Jumper(s)
A few chunky knits won’t go amiss for your winter holiday. If you opt for neutral colours, like black, white, beige or grey, they will go with practically everything and you can mix and match your outfits.
While any jumper will do, we recommend opting for knits like this ASOS Crew Neck Jumper in Rib With Fluffy Yarn (*) or this H&M Ribbed Polo Neck Jumper (*) for a chic yet cosy look. We call that a win-win.
When packing for a winter getaway, don’t underestimate the functionality of a good pair of jeggings.
Not only are they ideal for fitting some cheeky thermal leggings underneath, but high-waisted jeggings like these from M&S will also optimise your comfort level and allow plenty of flexibility.
Thick leggings do essentially the same job. In fact, you can even buy some that have a fleecy interior that feels all kinds of good on your bare legs. Don’t believe us? These Fleece Lined High Waist Leggings (*) from Baleaf may just change your life.
Even so, whatever you choose, the golden rule is to stay away from jeans as your daytime go-to bottoms. They aren’t very insulating and don’t allow nearly as much movement as jeggings or leggings.
Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be sunny. Protect those peepers by including some sturdy gigs in your suitcase.
These simple Black Polarised Sunglasses (*) from H&M are perfect for those unexpectedly sunny winter days. Alternatively, these rounded Brown Marl Polarised Sunglasses (*) are perfect for adding a pop of colour to your outfit.
8. The Hands-Free Bag
Trust us, you’re going to want your hands in your pockets when you’re freezing your wotsits off outside. And how can you keep your hands in your pockets? By rocking a hands-free bag, of course.
Whether it’s a trusty backpack or a humble crossbody, these low-maintenance bags are perfect for keeping your valuables secure and your hands nice and warm.
For those who travel light, this Small Nude Nylon Cross-Body Bag from Accessorize is the ideal solution. On the other hand, serial over-packers would be better suited to something like this Faux Leather Zip Around Backpack (*).
9. The Nicer Top or Dress
When gathering items for a winter holiday, it’s very easy to get caught up in thinking everything you need to pack needs to be super warm. But don’t forget about those pieces you’re going to need for evening or fancier occasions.
If you want to be savvy and save suitcase space, you can wear the same pair of jeggings/leggings you’ve been rocking during the day and then just swap your top to something dressier. Another option is to take another pair of bottoms (like jeans) for dressing up at night.
Any top you feel comfortable in will fit the bill, but we love this Sweetheart Ruched Cut Out Bustier Bodysuit (*) from New Look for a dressier (but still suitably warm) vibe. (Just don’t forget your jacket when heading OUT out!)
A knitted jumper dress like this stunner from H&M (*) or this equally-as-cute Fitted Grey Rib-Knit Dress (*) would work just as well. Team your favourite with tights, some chunky boots and a leather jacket for a snugly yet stylish look for all your cold-weather adventures.
10. The Nicer Shoe
Lastly, whether this is a heeled Chelsea boot or chic leather high-top trainers, be sure to take another pair of shoes on your winter holiday that you can wear for meals and drinks out.
You could just stick to your chosen walking shoe. However, you may find you want to mix it up after wearing these constantly.
In our opinion, you simply can’t go wrong with a good pair of Converse trainers, and these Platform Leather High Tops (*) are no exception. Likewise, these Heeled Chelsea Ankle Boots (*) will help you add a glamorous touch to virtually any winter outfit.
Figuring Out What to Pack for a Winter Holiday
When it comes to deciding what to pack for a winter holiday, it’s important to be practical but it’s just as important that what you choose aligns with your personal style.
After all, you want to be able to look and feel your best while you’re on holiday so you can have the best time.
So what are you waiting for? Pick a destination, cram all of the above into your suitcase and get ready to travel in style!