Winter Travel Tips: What to Bring For Cold Weather Travels

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

I can't believe it has been four years since my winter trip in Hokkaido (2019). It was one of my favorite media trips coz we were able to experience full-on Japan snow! 

Read more about this trip: The Other Side Of Hokkaido That You Should Visit (Note: Not Sapporo or Niseko)

I can still remember walking from our hotel to the winter festival at night. We were not required to go, but we all went out anyway. I was rushing after resting in my room post-food coma dinner, so I left most of my winter gears (gloves, face mask, ear muffs). I didn't realize that our bus already left, so I just walked at -10 temp without much protection from cold! 

Walking the empty, slippery streets of Hokkaido after enjoying my first nighttime winter festival experience

Freezing with Shaira! Any temperature below zero feels the same! ❆ 

A view straight out of Disney

There were winter shows, food stalls, and ice games. Then a fireworks display at the frozen lake, with lights naturally reflecting on ice. It was so beautiful. I held on a cup of hot chocolate in one hand as we walked back to our hotel in empty streets, smoke coming out from our mouths as we talked or just breathe. Winter is indeed so beautiful, but can also be painful. 

If you have a planned winter trip this year, I am resharing some of the tips I posted before on how I survived below zero temperature without spending too much. Buying Php 5000-10,000 coat for me wasn't an option, so I made do with what I can afford and access at that time:

1. BONNET - To cover my ears. Uniqlo carries Heattech ones, but thick knit or fleece bonnets are great too.

2. EAR MUFFS - Not just a cute accessory, ear muffs actually effectively adds warmth. I got mine during off-season sales in H&M.

3. FACE MASK - To cover my nose and mouth. I used this a lot during DIY cold trips since there were lots of commutes, but not much for this trip that we were on a tour bus.

My Winter Formula: Wearing my bonnet, ear muffs, gloves, and layers of thick clothes over my heattech.

Abashiri Station. It looked like the first scene in BTS Spring Day MV!

Over-used bonnet and earmuffs that are very very helpful during winter, cranes on my background

4. GLOVES - Bought a pair of basic black fleece gloves in Decathlon for only Php 200. My hands get cold easily, so wearing gloves was really comfortable.

5. UNIQLO ULTRA WARM HEATTECH SET - Not a sponsored post, but wearing Uniqlo's Ultra Warm Heattech top and leggings underneath all my winter clothes really made a big difference. A bit costly, but I've been using mine since 2018 so na ROI na talaga! Top also comes in turtleneck, and other colors aside from black.

6) HOT PACKS / HEAT PACKS - Best invention EVER! I can't imagine how I survived my first winter (States) without it. My sisters and I just froze during the New York Ball Drop because we don't have the proper gears. The best thing about heat packs is it doesn't cost a fortune, and all convenience stores in Japan and Korea sell them during winter.

You activate the warmth from the pack that looks like a teabag by removing it from its plastic, shaking it, and keeping it on your pocket. Reach for the heat pack every time your hands feel cold! There are sticky ones too, some place them on their backs or feet.

Breakfast with a view--taken to the next level! 

Entered through an ice wall for the ice village

7) SCARF - I have a black fleece infinity scarf with me during winter trips. It is basic, soft, comfortable, and can cover my neck and mouth.

8) COATS - I am 50/50 when it comes to coats coz expensive ones meant better technology. I love Uniqlo's Ultra Light Down Puffer Jackets coz they are warm and very lightweight so easier to pack. I remember though for this trip, I also thrifted coats through my friend's Instagram shop @coatsmnl. I had more options, and in unique styles too (if you are into travel OOTDs lol).

My other option is to buy winter clothes in advance when it's summer here in Manila--bagsak presyo na talaga. H&M and Terranova often sell these pieces in lower price since wala na bibili masyado satin nito. I got a black teddy bear hoodie from H&M men's section for only Php 800.

Super fun experience riding a snow mobile! Wearing a teddy bear jacket from H&M

Everything's white, with the ice covered mountains at a distance, the view is super super magical!

I remember using this waterproof bag a lot during this winter trip

9) WATER RESISTANT BAG - Snow can get your stuff wet. I remember the nightmare of using my first expensive leather bag during a winter trip, super kawawa talaga yung bag. 

10) CLOTHES FOR LAYERING - Ideal materials for your clothes are fleece or fleece lined, turtlenecks if it's comfortable for you, jackets that zip up to cover your neck, hoodies that can lend warmth to your head, corduroy, leather, coats with pockets to slide your cold hands in, and knits. Again, best layered with heatteach pieces underneath.

11) SHOE SPIKE - Shoes are very crucial coz it can get very slippery during winter. If you have no plans to buy high quality yet expensive boots like me, what I did before was I got a shoe spike in Decathlon instead. It only costed me Php 500, and came in different sizes (Small to XL). 

The pair is made of rubber, so I just slide them on the soles of the different shoes that I brought with me during the trip. Very practical, effective, and convenient to pack. The only hassle is when I have to remove them every time I enter the bus or an establishment kung hindi magagasgas ko flooring nila! 😅

Not obvious, but I actually have on shoe spikes to avoid slipping in snow

Fearlessly walked around snow with my shoe spikes

Sliding on ice to reach the ice village!

Core memory 100!

What a dream, best still enjoyed when you are warm and comfortable. Through slippery roads and frozen fingers, the worst thing you will do when you go on a winter vacation is coming unprepared. Will wait for your snow photos! ☃❆

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