Winter Travel Packing Tips


  • Layer up: Bring plenty of layers to wear throughout the day to insulate and keep warm. Something like a vest top or t-shirt under a long sleeved t-shirt underneath a jumper or fleece (bear in mind wool tends to be bulky and therefore harder to pack), fitted under an insulated waterproof jacket. You can always add or remove layers of clothing as you go between in and outdoors.
  • Hat: You lose the majority of your body heat through your head, so covering it up can really help keep you warm. Make sure your hat covers your ears and is made of thin, modern materials which pack lightly, but also provide maximum warmth.
  • Gloves: You no longer have to pack the heaviest, woolliest gloves you can find in order to keep yourself warm. Modern insulating materials mean that you can pack light and still remain cosy. Waterproof ones are the best as they hold up in even the worst weather and the thin, tight material makes them easy to carry.
  • Shoes: Your shoes will be your heaviest item, unless you’re bringing your own equipment, but they’re really important as your feet are buried in the snow the majority of the time and so cope with the majority of the wet and the cold. Good, dark, weatherproof winter boots are ideal for the climate and should last you season after season.
  • Polarised sunglasses: The low winter sun can be really rough on your eyes, as it’s lower and closer to your point of vision and with the reflective snowy surroundings, being able to see can become a problem when out on the slopes or even just driving.
  • Swimwear: Some resorts may have pools, hot tubs or saunas to relax in after a long day on the slopes.
  • Sunscreen: Despite it not being warm, windburn or sunburn off the reflective snow and ice can damage your skin to the same extent laying out by the pool can.

Before You Go

  • Check the travel alerts from the FCDO of the country you intend on visiting. Follow @FCDOtravelGovUK on Twitter to get the latest travel updates and advice.
  • Find out where the nearest embassy will be.
  • Sort out travel insurance – insurancewith provide cover for customers with pre-existing medical conditions, allowing you to go on holiday without having to pay excessive premiums.
  • If you’re travelling within the European Economic Area, from 1st January 2021 rules around travel to Europe have changed, visit the Government website for up to date information on passports, EHIC, healthcare and more. We’ll update this page with more information as and when the Government release it.
  • Check with your doctor whether you’ll need any vaccinations before you travel.
  • Make sure you’ve got the correct visas for the country you intend to visit.
  • Most importantly, check your passport is valid at the time you intend to travel – it takes up to six weeks to apply for or renew a passport, so checking well in advance might save time later on.
  • Tell friends and family where you’re travelling to and leave them your contact details, travel insurance policy details and your itinerary as this will make it easy for them in case of an emergency.
  • Make sure you have enough money to cover emergencies.
  • If you intend on driving abroad, make sure your licence is current and valid. Make sure you’re aware of the driving laws in the country you intend on visiting.
  • Sort out your hand luggage.
  • Check with your airline for flight delays.
  • Keep all tickets, visas, foreign exchange and passports safely in a travel belt or bag and keep these with you at all times.
  • Check your house is safe before you leave – check all switches are off, water is turned off to prevent pipes from freezing and securely lock all windows and doors.

Winter Sports Equipment

Winter sports are some of the most adrenaline-inducing out there and there’s something for everyone. From snowboarding and skiing to ice-skating and snow-shoeing – you can even go down a mountain on a big inflatable ring- any sports enthusiast can get involved. When is there a better time to experience new things than on holiday?

To join in, you don’t even have to necessarily have to buy your own equipment, many resorts and centres can provide you with their own hired stuff – definitely cheaper than buying your own.

Don’t feel limited to one sport
Don’t feel like you can’t branch out and experience something different. If you buy gloves, goggles and a hat, you can pretty much try any sport you want to have a go at. However, for all high-adrenaline sports, it’s a good idea not to skimp on the equipment and the high quality stuff is likely to keep you safer.

Snowboarding has become one of the most popular winter sports as it’s relatively easy to pick up for beginners. To cover the basic essentials you need for snowboarding, you’ll have to invest in a snowboard, snowboard boots, bindings, trousers, a jacket, goggles and other warm winter gear such as hats and gloves.

One of the oldest winter sports, skiing is second in popularity to snowboarding and requires some level of experience before you head to the top to ski back down. When you go skiing, you’ll need a set of skis, ski boots and winter sports gear similar to the snowboarding attire – a warm, waterproof jacket and pair of trousers, goggles, a hat and some gloves.

If you just want to get out and explore the snowy terrain. Snow shoes allow you to walk across feet-deep snow without sinking. If you’re just going on a holiday in snowy climate, these are ideal to take in order to explore and enjoy the outdoors further than you could without them. For snowshoeing, you just need some snowshoes, bindings and your warm, waterproof winter jacket, trousers, hat and gloves as mentioned above. If you want a sporty slant on snowshoeing, opt for some running snowshoes or backcountry snowshoes for a more adrenaline-pumping experience in the wintery climate.

Ice skating
Ice skating is the winter sport which everyone participates in at one point or another. Moving across the ice at a fast but graceful pace becomes really enjoyable after you’ve let go of the side of the rink…or someone’s arm. Make sure when you buy ice skates, that you’ve bought the right type as they vary. Figure skates are designed for manoeuvrability, speed skates are built for exactly that and ice hockey skates have a small pick in their tip to allow players to make quick stops or changes in direction. Make sure your ice skates have been sharpened. A sharp ice skate blade grips the ice better than a dull one. Ideally, you should sharpen your blades when they begin to slip when you land. You could measure the number of hours it takes for your blades to become dull and then you’ll have an idea of how long you can skate for without any surprises.

Sledding is great winter fun for the whole family and there are a whole different number of sled types to choose from. A straight shot down the snowy hill requires a toboggan, but if you want a quick, wild and bouncy ride, you’ll have to opt for the plastic sled. Some resorts have special sled sections and some sledding hills have tugging lifts so you don’t even have to get up, but you can also sled almost anywhere there is a slope. Make sure you pick out a sled or a snow tube (a large inflatable ring) with enough seats for your number of riders and start sledding.

Safety Tips for Travelling

Staying safe on holiday is just as important as staying safe whilst at home, and following these tips can help you have the experience of a lifetime but without any unexpected dramas.

Have a health check-up

  • Before you leave, make sure you’re as healthy as you can be so you can have peace of mind that you’re at your best and won’t experience any previously unknown medical issues whilst you’re away.
  • Check whether you need any vaccinations before you travel.
  • Be realistic in where you travel – being older doesn’t mean you’re limited in what you do, but make sure your destination is suitable for you and your needs.

Plan ahead

  • Planning ahead can save time and unnecessary stress, especially during the busy holiday seasons. Leave enough time for any traffic jams you may encounter on the way to the airport/port, toilet stops and any parking issues. Make sure you make it to the departure point with enough time to spare, running around and panicking just ensures your holiday will be off to a flustered start and could lead to an accident.
  • If you need to arrange transport to or from the airport/port, make sure this is sorted well before you fly/sail.
  • Understand local laws, cultures and etiquettes before you travel, as some cultures are offended by things we would consider normal everyday behaviours.

Accident prevention

  • Accidents can have lasting effects, especially for the more senior traveller.
  • Make sure you’re careful around walkways, promenades, railings, steps or any situation where there’s a chance of uncertain footing in case you fall.
  • Don’t rush for any reason, and if you’re uncertain about getting from one point to another, ask for help.
  • Make sure your travel insurance has adequate emergency medical expenses cover to pay for any medical attention you may need whilst abroad.


  • Do your homework before you leave and find out whether crime is common in the area you’re travelling to. Senior tourists and travellers are vulnerable targets for thieves and muggers, especially in big touristy cities.
  • Make sure you don’t carry large sums of cash on you, and if you have to, divide it between you and another person, or keep it in more than one place on your being. Don’t advertise any jewellery, electronic equipment or cash, as this makes you an easy target for thieves, and try and keep everything in a bag that has a lock or zip close, and strapped across your chest.
  • Never venture down streets alone, especially if they’re small, empty or it’s at night.

Pregnancy Travel Advice

Holidaying whilst pregnant is a great idea, especially if this is your first child. As a growing trend among expectant mums, ‘baby-mooning’ is hugely popular so we’ve written a few tips to help you enjoy your holiday to the full.

No one wants stress whilst they’re on holiday, least of all expectant mums! Try and plan ahead as much as possible, making it much less likely for something unexpected to stress you out.
Allow plenty of time for travel, and even the small things like toilet stops and traffic jams, giving you plenty of time to reach the airport or your destination without worrying about making it.

If you find it hard to concentrate on planning everything, start by writing lists of different things you need to pack or organise instead of one big one – clothes, snacks, electronic equipment, things to keep you entertained (ipods, tablets, books, magazines etc.), health and beauty items, directions, itineraries, travel documents and that sort of thing.

Expect to be held up or delayed. If you bring a pair of headphones or a magazine to flick through, you’ll be more relaxed and the queues and impatient tutting of fellow travellers won’t bother you.

Take it easy
Whilst being pregnant doesn’t mean you are limited in what you can do, if you are thinking about adventure hiking, going on lengthy sightseeing expeditions, non-stop shopping or similar things, it’s a good idea for you to take it easy.

Avoid activities that might put you at risk of falling, or are pressurised, such as scuba-diving. Activities with sudden acceleration or forceful landings, like rollercoaster rides and theme parks should be avoided, as well as staying away from the hot tub and the sauna, as overheating isn’t good for your baby.

There’s plenty you can do whilst pregnant. Yoga classes, painting, swimming and brisk walking is all safe to do when you’re expecting, or why not see the sights of your holiday destination? Cultural trips to the museum or art gallery can be ideal, so long as you take regular breaks.

Avoid dehydration and keep taking regular sips from a water bottle to keep you from feeling sick or faint.

Give yourself several breaks a day to give your feet and body a rest, but as you’re on holiday, it gives you a chance to absorb the scenery and atmosphere around you. If you’re rested, you’ll enjoy the trip a lot more than if you were tired.

Travel vaccinations
To be on the safe side, it’s easier to stay away from countries where you need a certain vaccination. If you’re worried you’re going somewhere that does require a vaccination to cross their borders, consult your doctor, as they will know which vaccinations are required and what’s suitable for your pregnancy.

If you’re trying to get pregnant and plan on travelling abroad, it’s best to have the vaccinations four weeks before you conceive.

Make the most of being pregnant
Take loads of photos whilst you’re on holiday – it’ll be great to look back later on in life and remember the experiences you had whilst pregnant. Plus you’ll be able to show your child in the future how they came on holiday with you before they were even born!

Taking full advantage of people holding doors open for you, queue-jumping and being offered seats whilst on holiday as it can make travelling and sightseeing a lot easier. Enjoy being pregnant!

Your Insurancewith Cover

Pregnancy or medical conditions arising from pregnancy are covered provided you will not be more than 28 weeks pregnant by the time your trip is due to start (or 24 weeks for multiple births) and a medical practitioner or midwife confirms that you are fit to travel. If you are confirmed not fit to travel, or if you will be more than 28 weeks pregnant at the start of your trip, (24 weeks for multiple births), you can make a claim under “Cancelling Your Trip” provided you purchased this policy/booked a trip before you were aware you would not be able to travel.

Travelling With Kids

Kids can be a nightmare to travel longer distances with. With a bit of forward planning, travelling with children shouldn’t have to be a hassle and whilst it might make more work for parents, by taking everything into consideration you can focus on the holiday ahead and family bonding as opposed to trying to separate the fight in the seat behind you.

Below we’ve provided guidelines for each form of transport you could be taking to your chosen destination:

If you’re travelling by car:

  • Do not let your children know if you are lost – it’s incredible how upset and distressed they get if they see you panicking, so pack a satnav, a spare map and study the route before you leave. Write out directions if you’re not fluent in reading maps, they can be easier to glance at rather than following a squiggly line when the car is moving.
  • Start your journey by night or late evening, so that your children will sleep through the majority of the journey (hopefully) and the constant movement of the car will keep them drowsy, especially on motorways – so use these as often as you can. Pack blankets and cushions to help make them comfortable.
  • Mobile technology is a great way of keeping kids entertained whilst you’re driving – the days of I-Spy are long gone and games and films which are readily available capture their attention for much longer. Portable DVD players can hook over the back of your seats, or mp3 players and iPods can be used with headphones freely in the back without you having to hear kid’s audiobooks on a loop.
  • Take snacks, preferably the non-sticky kind. A hungry travelling child is a lot harder to travel with than a content one. Take a change of clothes too, just as a precaution. Spilt food is more likely to happen in a confined space which is more wobbly than your kitchen table.
  • If your journey has a deadline, make sure you leave plenty of time for kids to blow off steam in between long periods of being strapped in and being bored. Take breaks at service stations which have plenty for kids to do and to re-stimulate their brains.
  • Car sickness – If car sickness is severe, ask your GP or pharmacist for any medication that might help prevent or stop the feeling of nausea. As a general aid – keep your children looking in the direction of travel, as it lets the brain know what movement to expect. Play games which involve them looking at passing landscapes and traffic, and pack a few plastic bags, just in case.

If you’re travelling by plane:

  • For a young child, flying experiences, especially for the first time, can be terrifying. Pick flights earlier on in the day as they are less likely to be delayed and you have less chance of distressing your child or having to endure them being bored, fed up, hungry or tired whilst waiting to board a delayed flight.
  • It’s normally the two hour wait before check-in which is draining for both parent and child – so prepare.
  • Get them to suck on a sweet or bottle throughout the ascent and descent of the flight
  • Try and fly as close to their bedtime as possible – if they sleep through the majority of the journey, they’re much less likely to get upset. Also, don’t keep them up for the flight and disrupt their sleeping pattern – you’ll end up with an overtired but awake child who is a nightmare to travel with.
  • Take plenty of toys. You could use all the normal distractions until their patience has almost run out, then bring out a new toy to keep them occupied for a long while after.
  • Make sure your baby or child has had all of their jabs before you travel.

If you’re travelling by boat:

  • Boats hold a fascination with children as they’re the object of many pirate and adventure stories, so letting kids wander round (supervised) without being strapped down like a car or a plane can be great for entertaining them on the journey.
  • The novelty of being on a boat is also accompanied by other people to interact with, and other children to socialise or play with.
  • Check the weather before you leave – sailing through gale force winds won’t make more it a fun journey for anyone, and sea sickness can set in.
  • Sea sickness – Make sure you take any anti-sickness tablets before you leave land, and bear in mind that it’s generally better to be outside on the deck rather than enduring it sat down inside, or at the part of the boat with the least amount of movement. If that doesn’t work, lying down with your eyes closed helps your brain unscramble the mixed messages it’s receiving. Acupressure and salty snacks are also said to help with nausea at sea, but it tends to be dependent on the person.
InsuranceWith Awards