Beat the bag limits: packing hacks for a cold-weather getaway

Get a Quote

Beat the bag limits: packing hacks for a cold-weather getaway

A white Christmas in New York or a skiing holiday in the French Alps means being prepared for the cold. Packing for a Northern Hemisphere winter can be tricky, but with the right packing hacks, you'll be on your way in no time.

With hefty excess-luggage fees and varying baggage restrictions, the pressure is on to find the best ways to pack to minimise weight and luggage size.

Winter clothes are often big and bulky and it takes careful planning to fit everything in and still have room for a few souvenirs to bring home.

Packing hacks will show you how to fit in all the essentials.

So how do you cram it all in?

The Epic Adventurer, Julie Hudson, renowned for fitting 80 holiday essentials for a week's trip into carry-on luggagei, says it's best to leave your case lying out in a spot where you can see it for a couple of days, with a pile of your items next to itii. Then you can gradually weed out anything you don't truly like. If you're travelling to a colder climate, wear your bulkiest items - like coats, boots and hatsii - on the plane as well as any valuable jewelleryiii.

Real Simple advises travellers to vacuum-pack voluminous items in plastic or compression bags which will help to save space but remember the items will still weigh the sameiv,v. Fabrics such as "wool, Lyocell or modal" and polyester cotton or spandex blends can help limit wrinklingvi. When trying to reduce weight, investing in a down jacket and other lightweight, warm clothing is also a good idea. They offer additional tips like putting a plastic bag inside your suitcase on the top and bottom of your belongings for extra protection against damage or wrinkles. See their video guide, How to pack a suitcase for step-by-step instructions.

For helpful suggestions of what to take, there is an interactive packing list at, where you tick the boxes of what you'll need, then type in any custom items, and hit the Print My List buttonvii.

Watch and learn

How to pack like a pro, presented by Heathrow Airportviii is one of several online tutorials that show you what to do. It advises laying out everything you want to pack, then discarding one-third of it. Next, create several layers, starting with shoes, and stuff socks inside of these as a foundation layer. Then place bulkier items, such as skirts, jeans, jackets and dresses on top. Double-bag all toiletries in resealable bags so they don't leak everywhere, and slip belts along the inside of a case. They advise against putting a lot of last-minute forgotten items in the inside luggage pockets as these could increase the chance of creasing your clothes when you close your case.

Pants and skirts take up more room than shirts, and these should be folded together to minimise the chances of creasing.

As a general rule to save space, advises clothing can be rolled-up instead of folded and you should pack three tops for every bottom. Pants and skirts take up more room than shirts, and these should be rolled or folded together to minimise the chances of creasing.

A mixture of rolling things up and vertical packingix,i also seems to be preferred by packing hackers, such as flight attendants and army personnel, and you can see demonstrations by searching for "packing hacks" on YouTubex.

Flight attendant Lisa Single, advises using resealable bags to hold a medical kit, which includes a thermometer, Band-Aids and paracetamol. She says you should pack a bowl, spoon and porridge, as you never know if you'll be delayed in a spot where the room service has closed. Take a hot water bottle for chilly hotel rooms, and, even in winter, a pair of swimmers, as many hotels have saunasxi.

What not to pack

The exciting thought of travel, and the possibilities that anything could happen, can mean you're tempted to take along everything you've ever owned. Independent Traveler says you should pare down beauty products, only take one guide book, and don't overload with every type of gadgetxii. Epic Adventurer, Julia Hudson, advises never taking more than three pairs of shoesii.

With these tips, you'll be on your way to a warm and cozy holiday, with room for several layers so you can beat the chill and bring home a few souvenirs.

i Rainey, S. 2015, 'How to cram 80 holiday essentials into your hand luggage', Daily Mail Australia, 15 July, viewed 10 August 2015,

ii Hudson, J. 2013, 'More thoughts on the stuff we lug', The Epic Adventurer, viewed 10 August 2015,

iii 'How to pack a suitcase', viewed 11 August 2015,

iv RealSimple, 2015, 'Fill 'Er Up', Time Inc., viewed August 10 2015,

v Costello, C. 2011, 'One easy way to fit more stuff in your suitcase',, 22 September, viewed 11 August 2015,

vi RealSimple, 2015, 'Packing tips from the pros', Time Inc., viewed August 10 2015,

vii The Independent Traveler 2015, 'Interactive packing list', viewed 10 August 2015,

viii Heathrow Airport 2012, 'How to pack like a pro', 6 March, viewed 10 August 2015,

ix Frankel, B. 2014, 'How to beat airline baggage fees, 14 January, viewed 10 August 2015,

x BuzzFeedBlue 2014, 'You're packing wrong', 6 November, viewed 10 August 2015,

xi Single, L. 2014, 'What's in my suitcase? A flight attendant's guide to packing', 1 May, viewed 11 August 2015,

xii Costello, C. 'What not to pack', Independent, viewed 11 August 2015,