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Hand warmers

Even if you’re not heading off on a ski trip, odds are you’ll be spending more time outdoors than usual on your vacation. All those hours spent wandering the streets sightseeing can add up to frozen fingers and toes – especially if you’re visiting a northern waterfront destination. Equip yourself with a few hand warmers and slip them into pockets and boots as needed. Good news: You can pack most in checked or carry-on baggage.


The combination of flying, indoor heating, windburn and cold air wreaks havoc on skin. Bring your best face cream (and ideally a moisturizing mask) along with a good body lotion and hand cream. If you’re the type who goes heavy with the hand sanitizer when travelling (and when it’s cold and flu season that’s not a terrible idea), opt for one with skin-softening properties.


With heat constantly being pumped into hallways and common areas, the air in hotels can be extremely dry in winter. It’s worth calling ahead to see if housekeeping can supply your room with a humidifier free of charge (this is common in high-altitude properties). If that’s not an option, a travel humidifier that works with a water bottle or glass of water can be surprisingly effective.

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‘Survival’ kit

Winter weather means flight delays and cancellations. You can’t control the snow, but you can prep for worst-case scenarios. If it looks as if there might be a chance of extra hours at the airport – or, worse, sitting on the tarmac – have charged power banks, cables, books, downloaded movies and snacks at the ready. Okay, it’s not a life-or-death situation. Although depending on your travel companion it can sometimes feel like it.

Thin layer

You can always check weather forecasts for your destination ahead of time, but if you trust what you see then I also have a bridge to sell you. It never hurts to be ready with a thin but warm layer that can go under your jacket. A midweight merino sweater is a good option, as is an extra thin down jacket or vest that can squish down into a carrying pouch.

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