Lighten the Luggage: Six Tips for Smooth Airline Travel in the Winter

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Six Tips on How to lighten Your Luggage in Winter

Traveling during the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere means cooler temperatures. Heavier clothing, like boots and sweaters, must be crammed into the suitcase.

With many airlines charging extra fees for each piece of luggage and carefully monitoring the weight of bags, every step you can take to lighten the load will help. Here are six tips to pack sensibly yet travel comfortably for your trip.

Tip 1: Backpacks Are not Just For Kids and Teens.

They come in stylish designs and a variety of sizes. Many will fit under airline seats as a personal item that can be carried on at no charge, so you won’t need to pay for a carry-on bag.

Backpacks hold a lot but they won’t put as much strain on your back as lugging that heavy purse over your shoulder. Tuck your wallet in the backpack and put your empty purse in your checked luggage for when you arrive at your destination.

Do get a backpack with at least one outside pocket for items you will need frequently on the plane so you don’t have to root around like a dog digging up a bone when you need your lip balm.

If you plan to hike outdoors or even walk around a lot on your trip, this backpack will come in handy. Make sure to purchase one suitable for this type of use and not just one to transport your laptop.

Tip 2: A down Coat is an Excellent Lightweight Choice For Outerwear.

They come in a variety of styles for men and women. Hint: Women, sometimes the men’s version fits better, so head over to their department in the store if you’re not having any luck in yours.

Down jackets are rated for different degrees of cold, so be sure to study the description. One of the best features of a down coat is that they fold up very small. Stash it in your backpack and let it double as a pillow on your flight, or a tool to bop your kids if they misbehave.

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Tip 3: Does Your Destination Have a Washer and Dryer?

Many hotels have guest laundry services and while it’s likely a tad bit pricey and you don’t want to spend your precious vacation hours washing clothes, it’s well worth the extra time if you can save luggage space.

If you’re using a house or apartment rental service and debating the prices of the properties, work the cost of being able to take a carry-on versus checked bag, if wearing your clothes several times means packing less. Not comfortable using public washers and dryers? Don’t worry, the high heat setting on the dryer will help kill germs.

Tip 4: Having a Way to Vent is Important

If the varying degrees of temperatures on a plane make you sweat and freeze within the space of five minutes, having a way to vent is important.

One way is to wear shoes you can remove and put back on quickly. These are called clogs, mules or slip-on shoes and another benefit of wearing these on the plane is that they generally take up more room in the suitcase than flexible footwear like tennis shoes. Save that extra luggage space for all your souvenirs.

Tip 5: Dehydration Doesn’t Just Occur During the Summer.

In the winter, you might not feel as thirsty as during warmer weather and forget to drink fluids. Having water on the airplane is a must, but it can’t be carried through security. Rather than pay for overpriced airport water, bring an empty plastic bottle to fill from a drinking fountain or from the bottle-filling station that many airports have right by the fountain. Worried about how clean that water is, or did you just watch the person ahead of you put their mouth way too close to the spout? There are a variety of self-cleaning and filtering water bottles on the market that will purify your water quickly. If you’re very tight for space, consider a collapsible water bottle.

Tip 6: Winter Benefits.

Winter weather means airport delays and the need to stay entertained without going broke shopping at the gift store. Instead of bulky books and a laptop computer, pack a tablet that can be used as an e-reader, or to play games, watch videos and browse the internet. Download as much as possible ahead of time so you don’t have to depend on the airport Wi-Fi.

Final Thoughts

With a little advanced planning, packing for winter airline travel can be streamlined to fit all the necessities, and still keep your luggage lightweight, easy to maneuver, and not add pulled muscles to your trip.

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