One of the joys of the holidays is to spend time with the people you love. Unfortunately, in my case at least, the people I love live far away from where I live. This weekend’s trip, in particular, involved taking a full day car trip to visit.
Of course that’s prime time to get some work done. As you may know I am a writer, and typing away along the road is one of the best ways you can take some of the pain out of being stuck in your seat for a whole day. Writing on the road can be a little messy, but it can be done. Provided you aren’t the type of person who gets car sick and can’t handle reading or writing on a road trip, of course. Because if you have that problem, your best bet is probably to take your ginger pill and listen to an audio book as you lean your head out the window.
The key to a good trip is not really whatever you take to occupy yourself during it, though. The most important part of a road trip is making sure you’ve packed your bag sufficiently for the ride there, and back again. It’s especially essential to pack wisely if one end of your trip is much colder than the other and you’ll need to wear different weights of fabrics. I’ve got a quick cheat guide here for you of clothes that will keep you warm when you need it, comfy for long travels and spending time with family, and stylish enough looking that you feel your best the whole way through. Because, let’s face it, the holidays and spending time with family can be fun and relaxing but it can also be super stressful, so at least an on-point outfit can help you pull yourself together during the worst parts.
One of the best ways to make your normal chic wardrobe transition from warmer cities to colder destinations is to make sure your foundation is warm. If you often live in cold you should probably already own thermal shirts and tights that are to be layered under your tees and pants, but if you don’t own those packing long sleeved tees and even a regular pair of tights can help make you warmer if you make a layered outfit. Your base layers should be a pretty slim fit, and can be found in either synthetic materials similar to a warm version of your gym clothes or in natural fibers like wool.
Fingers, Toes, and Keeping Warm
Socks, gloves, scarves, and hats take up very little space in luggage. Plus, a heft set of these outerwear accessories can make the difference between a medium coat leaving you shivering, or being toasty warm. Alpaca wool is particularly good at being extra super warm with a lighter weight fabric compared to a lot of other materials out there- I know acrylic scarves are warm enough for me in DC, but leave me shivering in the Midwest. I like the alpaca items at “Sierra Rose Alpacas” like the gloves pictured above because it’s a small company and the products are totally natural and insanely warm. Additionally, remember you can layer gloves and socks, so if the weather will change and some days will be colder and others warmer, you can always wear thin gloves and put snow gloves on top of them for very cold days, and wear knee high boot socks under thick crew socks for when your toes need a boost of even more warmth.
Shoes for Winter Weather
Shoes really do matter in snow country. It’s fine to wear the tennis shoes if you are born and bred to snow, but if you are out of habit of dealing with ice and snow it might make sense for you to pack either snow boots (which yes, they do admittedly take up a lot of room) or crampons to stick over your normal tennis shoes. If you are visiting a snowy city just crampons over your tennis shoes should help you grip ice and easily navigate sidewalks and roads that are usually well plowed and salted. For that I recommend Yaktraks because they won’t scrape up floors if you walk around a bit inside while normal crampons have blades that will rip up indoor floors if you don’t take them off every single time you go inside a building or your car so that can be annoying. but if you are visiting a more rural destination and will have to wade through heaps of snow it might be best to sacrifice the space and pack the full on snow boots (after all, you can always pack your socks and undies inside the boots so they aren’t a total space hog in your suitcase).
I actually bring several jackets with me when I go somewhere very cold. I bring sweaters to layer over my base layers, and a vest over that, and I wear a midweight parka or commuter jacket on top. Wearing a bunch of layers like this is actually even warmer than just wearing one super heavy weight jacket on top of a short sleeve tee, and it also allows me to add pieces along the trip as it steadily gets colder and colder.
Put The Warm Stuff in a Tote
When you are road tripping to a place colder than your home, you aren’t going to need the warm outer things right away. Be sure to stuff all the warm things into a tote bag or duffel bag that you can put near your seat in the car so you can whip it on for any pit stops you might take, or for when you are at your destination. Or if you don’t have the heater on full blast in the car, this approach lets you slowly build your layers as things get colder and colder instead of putting all the warm stuff on at the beginning of the trip and getting a heatstroke from that.
What do you do to stay warm on a Winter road trip?