Surviving a winter vacation requires much more than just booking a nice cozy cottage, or having a fireplace in it and a dead bear on the floor. While this does help in a significant way (except for the bear who is not helpful in any way) it will not keep you warm or sheltered when you go out, and I suppose you were planning on going out if you are going on a winter vacation.

Winter vacations are tricky, particularly because they carry a lot of contradiction with them. For example, you will need both winter clothes for the outside and not-so-warm, thinner clothes for when you are inside. Also, you will need a lot protection against the cold, but you will also need sunglasses and sunscreen. Why sunglasses and sunscreen? We’ll talk about it later. Let’s start with more obvious things and carefully make our way through this complex task.

The universal necessities

These things are somewhat implied, but as I said, we are going to start with some, more obvious, essentials. Furthermore, many people forget about the universal necessities because there is just too much stuff to think about when you are going on a holiday. That’s why a lot of money is spent on buying things you already have and could bring with you. Stuff like toothbrushes, underwear, deodorants and many others don’t sound too expensive, right? And they usually aren’t unless you are buying a high-tech toothbrush that, after it makes you lunch and cleans your apartment, starts packing you for the vacation, irons your clothes and buys you a plane ticket online.

That kind of toothbrushes may be expensive, but regular toothbrushes for mortals like you and I aren’t so much. Neither are deodorants and underwear, but there is a catch. If you regularly forget about the universal necessities, the amount of money you spend on them is accumulated. At one point you will realize that it’s much easier, more practical and much more economical to bring them with you, rather than buying them over and over again.

Warm clothes

Well, duh man! Again, it’s implied, but you also need to know what kind of warm clothes you are taking with you. If you apply (and you should) layering when dressing for the winter, then you should pack at least one piece of the first and middle layers for every day of your vacation stay. This means that a 10 days holiday requires, for instance, 10 undershirts and 10 sweaters. You can break it in half and make it look like this: 5 undershirts and t-shirts and 5 sweaters and button-ups. You should ideally take two pieces for each day if conditions, such as means of travel and distance, allow you to.

As for the top layer and shell, one piece of each is enough for approximately 10 days. After that you risk of being left with soaked coats and wet jackets that can’t dry as fast as you need them to. Also, the shell layer is crucial if you are going on an active vacation, i.e. if you plan on skiing, hiking or even having a snowball fight or making snow angels.

Sunglasses and sunscreen

Wait, when did we start talking about summer vacation? Oh that’s right, we didn’t. Sunglasses and sunscreen are very important for winter even though you might not have thought so. Their importance comes from the fact that there is still sun during the winter, isn’t there? When the days are especially sunny, the danger of getting sunburnt or snow-blinded is increased and many people are oblivious to this, especially if it’s their first winter vacation.

Socks…lots of socks

No matter how good your shoes or boots are, chances are that every pair of socks you bring to the vacation is going to get wet sooner or later. It’s something like a winter vacation rule – no matter how many socks you carry and no matter how good your footwear is, you are going to be lacking socks because they are all going to get wet. So pack socks as much and as versatile as you can. Pack thermal socks, pack fuzzy socks, pack wools socks…everything you can think of. Even thinner socks are a good idea, since you will be spending a lot of your time inside, in front of the fire place or radiator, waiting for the thicker ones to dry off.

Hats, gloves and scarves

These pieces can serve you a double purpose – they will keep you warm and protected from the cold, wind and snow, and they can make you look stylish and awesome. There is nothing better than a hat with ear protection, and you can find beanies with folded rim or with ear flaps that will perfectly serve this purpose. If not, you can combine them with earmuffs, which come in various designs for men, women and children.

Scarves are just an addition to the hats. They keep your neck warm, but if the weather really gets nasty, you can just take your scarf and wrap it around your head. This way, additional protection is focused on the head and if you do it right, you might even score some style points from it.

When it comes to gloves, thermal winter gloves are your best option to keep your hands warm while not active. Wool is especially good because it can still keep your hands warm even it gets a bit wet. On the other hand, there are countless of things to do on a winter vacation, so I doubt you will spend much of your time inactive. Stuff like skiing and snowmobile riding are probably the most popular, and there are even special skiing and snowmobile gloves you should buy if you plan on doing this. No matter what you plan on doing during the vacation, gloves are a must.