You most likely landed on this article after you decided where to spend your 3-week winter vacation and have booked your flights and hotel. The trip is probably only a few weeks or days from now, and the excitement cannot be contained anymore!
I have been in your shoes so many times and thoroughly understand what you’re feeling. You might be getting overwhelmed, nervous, or in some state of panic. You might also be very excited, and even though your trip is still weeks away, you want to warm up and start packing now.
Packing for winter is a little trickier than any season of the year. I personally don’t enjoy it that much because I always feel like I wasn’t bringing enough clothes, and at the same time, I’m bringing too much. This article will guide you and give tips on packing for 3 weeks winter holiday. Yes, it includes deciding which items to bring and which ones to leave behind – plus, a printable packing list perfect for any kind of trip.
HOW TO SMARTLY PACK FOR A 3-WEEKS WINTER TRIP
Packing for 3 weeks of a winter vacation is an exciting part of your preparation. I understand that it can be frustrating as well. To avoid stressing too much the night before your trip, try to pack everything you want to bring or on the list a week before you go. This will help you see if they fit well, whether you have extra space or you need to unload some stuff.
Cabin bag vs Checking a luggage
For winter vacation, deciding between a cabin bag and having checked luggage is quite a pickle. You want to bring enough clothes to keep you warm but at the same, winter clothes are very bulky and heavy. This makes cabin bag only very challenging.
My personal opinion is to bring a check-in bag. I know it will cost extra, but you will spend more money if you released that you didn’t bring enough clothes and now have to either spend too much money on laundry or buy a new wardrobe while on vacation.
It’s often cheaper to buy extra luggage at the exact time that you are booking your flight. The price gets slightly higher if you buy a check-in bag after booking the flight. The cost soars if you buy the extra check-in bag at the airport.
Pack layers, not bulky items
I know how comfortable a puffer jacket is, but unless you plan to wear it on a flight, you shouldn’t pack them in your luggage. Instead of packing thick and bulky winter clothes, it makes more sense to pack clothes that you can layer on top of each other.
Not only will you save space, but also, in case it’s warmer than you thought, you only have to remove one smaller piece of clothing off your body, and pack it away in a backpack instead of holding a heavy jacket until you get back to your hotel room.
Apart from that, you will be able to bring more clothes and have plenty of choices while on your winter trip.
Should you bring your own winter gear
Another question related to packing for 3 weeks winter holiday is bringing your winter gear. I mean bringing ski boots, poles, and your own ski if you plan to do that activity. Bringing this means you will need to get another extra particular size suitcase.
You should ask yourself how much skiing you plan to do. If you want to check out one ski resort simply, perhaps do a day skiing or stay for 2-3 nights, it’s best not to bring your own equipment and just rent them at your destination.
But if you plan to spend 15 days out of your 20-day trip on the slopes, it just makes sense to bring your skiing gear than rent.
Wear the big and heavy items
If you want to bring a pair of winter boots or a bulky winter jacket, plan on wearing those during your flight. It might be a little too warm during the flight, but you can easily tow the jacket away in the overhead cabin or remove the boots and change to light shoes once on the plane.
The same goes for the sweater. Whenever I travel, I have some kind of sweater, even though it’s a summer trip. I get cold on planes and trains quite easily. If you plan to bring a thick sweater, wear it on your flight, so it doesn’t take up space in your luggage.
NON-CLOTHING ITEMS TO PACK
Before we get to the clothing items, here are some articles that you must add to your checklist. Packing for 3 weeks winter holiday includes travel documents and gadgets that will be useful. These are important to ensure that your trip will be hassle-free. Others will be helpful while you are exploring around:
Prepare these travel documents
Many people, especially those who don’t travel, often get their trip ruined because they fail to check their travel documents. This is very common when it comes to passports. Many people don’t know or have forgotten that you need to have at least 6-months left on your passport before its expiration for you to be able to fly overseas. You must also have at 1-2 blank pages left in your passport.
To help you check that you have all the travel documents, here is a quick list of what you should keep in mind:
- Passport – no scratches, no broken parts, must be valid for the next 6 months from your departure date, and have 1-2 blank pages left
- Flight reservation – you don’t have to print this, but make sure that you can access it without a data connection (i.e. screenshot)
- Hotel reservation – you only need when some countries or immigrants ask for your “address in their country”
- Travel insurance card – check if it’s still valid, especially valid for your destination and if you plan to do extreme sports
- Onward/return ticket – immigration office at your destination might ask to see your return flight ticket or onward ticket if you plan to visit other countries
- Yellow card fever vaccine certificate – this is important, especially if you are travelling between African countries and Latin American countries,
- Digital copy of your passport – you can also print one, having a copy means you don’t need to walk around with your passport
- Medicine prescription – if you are taking medicines that require a prescription, remember to bring it with you in case you need a refill while abroad
- Prescription medicines – bring enough with you and pack your prescription letter and doctor’s contact details too
Electronic gadgets to bring
Today, travelling with any smart device doesn’t only serve as a camera. It helps keep you connected to your family and friends back home, help you navigate a new city, and is very convenient to look up anything or book anything instantly, such as hotels, buses, flights, and more. Below is a list of gadgets that I usually take and pack for my winter trip:
- phone charger
- power bank
- kindle charger
- laptop and laptop charger – unless I’m taking a proper off from work
- camera charger
- extension cord and travel adapter
- Bluetooth earbuds
- wired headphones
- Hand warmers – this is helpful, especially if you want to hike during winter or do skiing and camping
PACKING FOR 3 WEEKS WINTER HOLIDAY
Now to the fun part! Below you will find three types of packing lists for a winter trip; for women, men, and a list of items that all genders can take a look at. I will also divide the sections into different categories, such as clothing, toiletries, and others.
We have a general packing list for a 3-week trip. We also have a specific packing list for a summer holiday, a spring packing list, and a fall packing list – all for a 3-week trip if you want to check those out.
Winter Packing for Women
Here is a sample of my own packing or when I got on a winter trip that lasted between 15 to 20 days. With this amount of clothes, I plan to do laundry at least 1-2 times during the trip. Remember to do your laundry when you still have at least 2 underwear and a set of clean clothes.
Clothing and Footwear
- 1 pair of thermal gloves
- a world hat
- 2 fitted sweaters – choose lightweight but heat-insulated (i.e. wool, cotton, cashmere)
- 2 fitted long sleeves shirts (base layers made of merinowool, if your neck gets cold easily, choose one with a turtle neck)
- 3 fitter shirts
- 2 merino wool (base layer pants)
- 2 main pants
- 1 down jacket (they are a lot warmer than other coats)
- lightweight scarf
- 1 pair of boots
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 2 bras
- 2 sport bras
- 5 pairs of socks
- 7 pairs of underwear
- 1 semi-formal dress (if you plan to go to a nice restaurant or attend a classical concert, choose one that goes along with your boots)
- microfibre towel – no need if you plan to stay in hotels
- 1 bar of soap – leak-proof than bottled, also best to get one when you arrive
- 1 bar of shampoo and conditioner – eco-friendlier than bottled hair products
- 1 100ml toothpaste – or get one after you arrive
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 100 ml mouthwash – get more or a bigger one at your destination
- 1 deodorant
- 1 small and lightweight organic loofah
- tampons/pads/menstrual cup
Makeup is not my strongest suit, I only use basic stuff. Feel free to add more to your list:
- I buy a small container for makeup or a travel-sized version
- eyebrow liner – I like either Maybelline’s pencil or L.A. Girl brow pomade
- angle brush
- liquid foundation – I love e.l.f’s foundation, especially in winter
- finishing powder
- mascara – always the one from Maybelline
- 1-2 eyeshadow palette – Urban Decay has nice classy and nude colours, perfect for winter
- pocket mirror – get the one with LED lights
I have very sensitive and oily skin, and so far, The Body Shop’s tea tree line has worked great for me:
- facial wash by Vanicream
- tea tree oil – to ease inflammation of pimples
- niacinamide or vitamin c serum – for brightening
- gel moisturizer from Versed – perfect for oily skin and add-on during winter
- edelweiss daily serum
- moisturizer/lotion – choose one that is for the body and face
Winter Packing for Men
For this section, I asked the other traveller, Ryan, to help me make a packing list for men for a winter holiday. Ryan also plans to do laundry at least once or twice during his trip.
Clothing and Footwear
- 3 base layer shirts
- 2 fitted long sleeves
- 1 fitted leggings/compression pants or sweat pants
- 2 button-up shirts (1 light, 1 thick)
- 1 sweatshirt/jumper (I prefer wool)
- 2 long trousers/pants (1 zip-up hiking pants, 1 thick pair of jeans)
- 5 pairs of socks
- 7 pairs of underwear
- 1 pair of winter boots/hiking boots
- 1 pair of sneakers/trail running shoes
- 1 down jacket or a parka jacket
Toiletries and Shaving Kit
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 tube of toothpaste – plan to bring only 100 ml
- 1 bottle of mouthwash – 100 ml limit
- floss – 50 m
- 1 bar of shampoo
- 1 deodorant
- 1 bar of soap
- 1 small and organic loofah
- 1 microfibre towel
- shaving kit – best to find a travel-size electric razor
Winter Item and Unisex items
These other items are recommended if you plan to do many snow-based activities or hike overnight out in the woods.
- thermal underwear
- thermal socks
- reusable/silicone zip lock – place all liquid bottles in this. I love my high-grade zip locks
- 1 20ml perfume
- 1 lip balm – this is very important
- 1 journal
- 1 pair of sunnies
- eye mask
- neck pillow
- First-aid kit – get one that is small enough but has all the essential items you need
- hand cream – beneficial for winter
- 1 reusable water bottle – insulated, double-wall water bottle for winter or a foldable one to save space
FREE PRINTABLE PACKING LIST
We have a packing list that you can reprint as often as possible. These are free and have specific spots for winter and other seasons. Place your email below, and we’ll send it right away.
COVID PACKING TIPS
In mid-2022, the world opened up. COVID-19 restrictions have been dropped in many countries. This means that many places in the world don’t require you to present your COVID-19 vaccination card or do an RT-PCR test before your trip.
Many countries still require you to show these COVID-19 documents, and places that require people to wear masks when in public places and/or medical facilities. Here are some tips to prepare for your winter trip regarding COVID-19 policies:
- check if your destination is open, quickly look up “Is XYZ open for tourists”, and make sure to read 2-3 different websites (if there’s a government site, that’s better)
- see if your destination requires you to present your COVID-19 vaccination
- check if you need an RT-PCR/antigen test or proof of recovery
- lookup if you need to present travel insurance that covers COVID-19 specifically and how much the coverage should be
- bring masks (many airlines still require to wear masks during the flight)
- bring hand sanitizer (regardless of the COVID-19 situation)
- pack a COVID-19 test kit (1-2 sets)
- see if quarantine upon arrival is required
- call your airline and ask if they have specific COVID-19 policies
RECOMMENDED PACKING TOOLS
In my decade of travelling, I’ve used at least 3 main backpacks and 4 types of day backpacks. I recently dipped on wheels suitcase to stop overloading my back. Here is my list of favourite travel tools:
Backpack and Suitcases:
- Haglöfs Tights Pro Medium – I bought this in 2017, and still going strong
- Osprey Farpoint 40L
- Standard Luggage 40-50L spacious, but fits the cabin-sized rule
- Samsonite Wheeled Backpack
- Mountaintop Hiking Backpack 40L – suitable if you’re on a budget
- Osprey Ozone Wheeled/Duffel Carry-on 42L
- Kelty Coyote 50L Backpack
- Briggs and Riley 21-inch Carry-On Wheel Suitcase – I bought this recently to try wheelies and love it so far
- Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage
- American Tourister Belle Voyage Expandable Softside
- Travelpro Maxlite Softside Carry-on
Packing Cubes and Laundry Bag:
Since I started travelling, I’ve been using packing cubes and have not stopped since (I’m only on my second set after my first one finally gave in).
- Amazon Basics 4-set
- Veken 6-pack with a laundry bag
- Eagle Creek 3-set
- Eagle Creek dirty/clean division
- Bagail compression packing cubes
- Well Traveled 8-pc packing cubes
I love how toiletry bags can easily be hung in the bathroom, and I have an instant toiletry cabinet. I don’t even have to unpack it, and it’s washable.
- Bosidu hanging travel toiletries bag
- Men’s toiletries bag – perfect since it has space for the shaving kit
- Bagsmart hanging toiletries bag
OTHER BASIC TRAVEL TIPS
As a final tip, here is a list of travel sites and tools I always use when planning a vacation. Depending on the trip, these sites help me find the cheapest and best options. What I love the most about these services is the flexibility. A lot of these sites allow me to sort the prices, and they offer flexible cancellations:
You have been working hard for the entire year – you deserve this vacation. Packing for winter is tricky due to the number of clothes you might have to bring to stay warm. Understandably, you want to get all your fabulous clothes and travel items so you can take great photos of your amazing adventures. You can all that with enough planning and a good trial run of your packing.
I hope that these tips and a list of packing for 3 weeks winter holiday have been helpful.