How to Pack a Suitcase for Winter Travel


By Linnea Covington

Winter travel can prove daunting, especially if you are someone who prefers carry-on luggage to a lumbering suitcase. You might not even be able to imagine how to pack a suitcase with all your cold weather goods and still have it be compact enough to fight through crowds of holiday travelers. After all, there’s the thick socks, heavy sweaters, jackets, boots, gloves, and hats to contend with.

Never fear, once you know how to travel light (while keeping all your goods with you), you won’t have to worry again. In the event you have to run to a connecting flight, get waylaid by a blizzard, or just want to avoid the hassle of baggage claim, you’ll remain confidently in control. With these tips and tricks, packing a small suitcase for you winter getaway just got easier:

Forget Big Sweaters and Coats

If you have no idea how to travel light, your clothes would be a good place to start. As cute as that furry hat and puffy coat are, there are more efficient materials that take up far less space in the suitcase.

For starters, the warmth of the non-bulky Heated Jacket by Craftsman comes from battery-charged units that are located all over the coat. As a bonus, it can juice up your phone. Another option, the Packable Ultra-Light Down Jacket by United Face, can easily be scrunched into your bag. If you can, go for cashmere over regular wool; it’s just as warm but takes up less room. In this vein, go for something versatile—like the Cashmere Wrap from J.Crew—that can pull double duty as a scarf and an extra layer.

If you want to know how to pack a suitcase efficiently, focus on the space that something takes up in relation to its potential use.

Avoid Bulky Accessories

Yes, it’s really cold where you’re going, and yes, you will need the full gamut of hats, scarves, gloves, and boots. To start with, it’s a good idea to just wear your winter boots to the airport (since they can fill a small suitcase by themselves) as well as sweat-absorbing socks, which can counteract hot feet while you’re waiting in that security line.

The Wind Bloc Beanie by Columbia effectively warms the noggin, and it won’t take up as much space in your bag as a hunter’s cap or fur-lined hat. Another good thing to keep in mind if you want to know how to travel light: you don’t need multiples of your gear—one of each will suffice. This is why it’s a good idea to buy everything in winter neutrals like oatmeal, navy, and silver.

Focus on Efficient Luggage

When strategizing how to pack a suitcase, you need consider the bag itself. A lot of carry-on bags exist in the market, but not all are made equal.

A good lightweight option is the Spinner Suitcase by Traveler’s Choice. At under eight pounds and with 22 inches of depth, there’s plenty of room for your winter gear. Also consider using vacuum packs to make your bundle even smaller—options such as the Space Bags by Ziploc can help you keep your suitcase orderly.

Take a travel tip from the pros: Get a lightweight suitcase to carry-on during your next winter flight. Click here to scope out the 22" Spinner Suitcase by Traveler's Choice at Walmart!


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