Packing for The Colder Weather Trip

As the holidays approach, many of us will be traveling.  Whether it be by land, sea or air, the seasons influence the way we pack for travel. Northlight 32" Waving Santa Delivering Presents on a Plane  Christmas Decoration : Home & Kitchen

Even Santa will most likely trade the sleigh for the plane. It’s faster!

For us, it’ll be by air and by car.  There are pros and cons to both.  Via air, you must deal with checking baggage, the long lines at customs or TSA, someone inching in on your overhead space, delays, and a plethora of other annoyances.  However, flying across the pond to get to Europe or any other long distance is a lot quicker and a lot less expensive than sailing across or trying to swim and feed the baby sharks.

What Is Baby Shark? - Origins of Pinkfong's Viral Video

Honestly, many of us would rather feed Baby Shark to the baby sharks!

Traveling by car?  We’ll be doing that for the Christmas holiday.  As of today, my husband, my son Roman and I will be driving from Philly to Cincy.  The plan is for Roman to rail it from NYC after work to here, we’ll all sleep for a while then get up to face the 9-ish hour drive.

Christmas Vacation GIF by filmeditor


This will be my husband in the car giving his opinions to my playing Christmas music the entire way to Cincy!

The cons to this are that my husband truly believes he is a LeMans speed racer.  He believes our vehicles, a Toyota Rav 4 and a Toyota Venza are a Ferrari, Porche or Beemer fitted with motors that can go up to 200 MPH.  The anti-acid tablets are in the glove compartment.

christmas vacation GIF

The name is changed to “Vincent” but the rest remains the same. My husband really tries to get away with sonic boom speed!

The other con is that my Frenchman thinks I am the bad driver. I have no other comment to make on this accusation except he is not correct.

The pros to traveling via automobile?  I can bring baked goods.  The baked goods that I have made.  I can freeze them, place them in a cooler and transport them with ease to Oona and Sam’s.  It is also possible to bring more gifts than anticipated. As of today, I have had one gift for my grandson, Owen, sent to the house.  When we head to Paris, we’ll be picking up some cute outfits.  Luckily, I also have the Amazon toy catalog to peruse.

Okay, so these aren’t exactly baked goods but I froze these wontons that I made. I will be making more to transport to Cincy.

Let us not forget Gougeres..and cookies…and other edible items!

But let us get down to the packing. Because, for me, that’s a critical component of travel.  Summer travel is a different ballgame than winter travel.  In summer, you pack lighter clothing.  Bathing suits. Shorts. Sundresses. Sandals.  Let’s face it. It’s easy.  If you are a pragmatic packer, you can fit two weeks into a carryon (I believe I can but my husband thinks otherwise and I usually end up overpacking).

UP Express up vacation messy packing GIF

Two months-worth of packing clothing into a carry on. Then you’re going to attempt to use MY overhead space. I don’t think so! Get a bigger suitcase and check the luggage!

Winter?  Late Autumn? Packing can be daunting.  I’m not referring to going away to a tropical island or a very warm climate—that’s summer packing.  I’m talking about traveling to points North—from the USA to Europe or wherever cold or damp or rainy conditions might apply.

You must be prepared for all sorts of precipitation. This means you need to pack appropriately.

Friends gif. Matthew Perry as Chandler staring pensively out the window at the rain.

It is so upsetting to me that rain would stop someone from traveling. I’m not talking monsoon. I’m talking about rain.  You would not believe the amount of people on travel forums who allow rain to ruin their trips!

That means packing a coat, lighter outerwear such as a blazer or denim jacket or puffy vest.  Some may opt to bring a trench coat that can be layered from underneath with sweaters.  Heavy sweater or light sweater?  Boots?  Shoes v. sneakers?  Gloves? Umbrellas? Purses?  Yada Yada Blah Blah Blah.

Paris 2021.  I wore this coat that I purchased a year prior at Galeries Lafayette.  The little Coach bag is coming with me this time around because I don’t want to lug a bigger one around!

With an upcoming trip back to Paris during Thanksgiving week, I’ve started to, in my Ambitiously Lazy (you know I’m going to overuse that phrase –don’t you?) way, plan and try to figure out which clothing to bring.

And I will bring this carryon. However, I’ll have a much larger suitcase to fit my coat, blazer, boots….

For me, the best tip—and this is good because it’s a visual, is to try different outfits on and take pics with your iPhone.  Or, if you are not up to changing clothing, lay each “outfit” out on the floor and take a pic.  I find this to be a tremendous help because you can see how you can mix and match!

This Jude Connally frock was purchased on Poshmark for $12.  It’s coming with me because we like to dress for dinner.

Jeans, loafers and a blazer. All getting packed.  This could be for a warmer day.

I’m EXTREMELY comfortable in a skirt, sweater, tights and loafers. This gets packed. 

Another way to wear jeans on a dressier level.  Worn with ballet flats.

Jogging pants, ballet flats a tee shirt and cropped puffy vest will be my air ensemble. Exception. I’ll wear long sleeves.

Another possibility is this. Blazer and skirt purchased separately from J. Crew factory. The boots are over ten years old but I love them. And they fold!

Another possible ensemble is this very comfy skirt. The boots are like sock boots and fold into the shape of regular shoes. These are coming!

The Paris weather (as I’m sure all through Europe and the UK) can be unpredictable during the late Autumn.  It rains.  It can be freezing one day and incredibly mild the next.  This means you gotta be prepared for anything.

Place Dauphine. Autumn. 2021. It was warm enough to walk around. But cold enough that we needed winter attire.

For me, it’s bringing an umbrella, boots, hat, gloves, scarves and, in the mild weather case—a blazer.

I headed into the garage early this morning to decide which Hunter boots to take. I’m going with the blue because it’ll lend itself more to my clothing choices.

A few years back I learned my lesson in connection with shoes. I wore my favorite suede flats and they got soaked to the point I had to bring them to a shoe repair. Never again. This time around, and I don’t care how cumbersome they are to pack—I’m bringing my Hunter rain boots.

These shoes by J. Crew were thrifted for seven bucks. It cost me a lot more to have them repaired after walking around Paris in torrential rain. I learned my lesson!

The point is, pack for the weather.

As a follower of many “travel” forums on social media, I’m always flummoxed by those who boast about packing for four weeks in cold climates with a carry on.  I honestly don’t know how these travelers do it.  Perhaps it is my love for clothing blended with the fact that I adore any chance to dress.  And I’m talking about “dressing up.”  I mean to dress. You know. Put nice clothing on your body.  Looking a tad fashionable.

An example of how you can dress casually nice and not look like a slob. 

It behooves me.  People—and these are people who travel.  Will say in one sentence that they do not want to look like a “tourist” then in the next sentence will state.  “If I want to wear leggings and a sweatshirt, I will” in a rather aggressive tone. You cannot have it all.

True. People don’t want to look like a tourist but they will defend leggings and a sweatshirt. No thanks. I’ll dress.

November slightly over a week away.  And that is the month when Autumn hits like a punch in the face.  It gets colder. The sky is gray. We run the chance of snow at any given time from then until March.  If you are traveling—for crying out loud, pack for it!  I just don’t understand that mindset.

Freezing Winter Solstice GIF

Yup! Holiday Season can be cold. It can also be mild. Bring clothing for both!

Yes. I realize that waiting for luggage is a pain-in-the-ass.  You just got off of a possible 7 to longer flight. What is an hour of waiting on customs and up to an hour for luggage going to do to take time from your trip? Honestly, I would rather be warm if I’m walking around a big city or countryside than be cold and uncomfortable.

And I cannot omit this. Please don’t dress in pajamas. It’s fine for young children. But adults? No. These pj’s are for home use and hotel use only.

Regardless, we all have our way of traveling. Whether bringing a large wardrobe or the bare necessities—the Holiday Season is just around the corner so plan and enjoy to the fullest!


About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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21 Responses to Packing for The Colder Weather Trip

  1. Janet says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I will be on a river cruise in France for 1.5 weeks and then a 4 day stay in Paris. Very helpful suggestions indeed!

  2. Susan says:

    Oh I am glad to hear you’re going to Paris, of course! But I am up to ’here’ with traveling in the late fall, which we have always done. My next trip there is in June and so excited to pack lighter clothes. The last October/November we were in Paris, I had on almost every layer I took. Cashmere sweater, down vest, rain trench, scarf, hat, and wished I had gloves. We spend a LOT of time outdoors, and this was the bare minimum. I took Aquatalia booties, I’d never take tall boots on a trip. Weatherproof and still stylish. Tights, sweater dress for dressing up, blazer, jeans, long sleeve t’s. It was way too wet and sloppy for ballet flats except for a very short distance; I took loafers instead. I wear the heaviest clothes on the plane, and yes, I do it all in a carryon. But I was only spending 10 days and had access to laundry facilities. I never felt I looked touristy, and would never wear leggings and long sweatshirts or pajama stuff like that in Paris. Wouldn’t do it here! Have fun with your Le Mans driving hubby😂

    • Catherine says:

      Susan, my hat..or should I say my wig is off to you in respect for being able to put all that in a carryon. I love the cold weather as long as I’m dressed for it. My husband, on the other hand, prefers the Cote d’Azur when we are there and Paris when we are there. This will be the only holiday season that I’ve never cooked a meal. I take that back. I’ll be helping my daughter!!!

  3. Elizabeth L says:

    Catherine, I can’t imagine taking as many boots and clothes as you’re planning! We travel for 6 weeks at a time with only carryon and I plan, plan, and plan again what to bring. Two pair of shoes max, lots of scarves and really basic separates, mostly black, white, olive and denim. I’ve concluded at age 71 that absolutely no one is looking at me except for my husband of 47 years! I’ve been mistaken multiple times for being French so I have to assume I’m generally conforming to local style.
    That said I completely agree with you about leaving pjs to the bedroom and workout clothes to the gym. And I firmly believe that you should do you! Good luck squeezing in all those boots!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Elizabeth. I can’t do a carryon in the cold weather. I need to be prepared for dampness and cold. I’m not a big accessory person. I’ll bring a couple of scarves but I really need my feet to be warm–especially walking around the city and the fact is, I love to dress for dinner so I’ll bring heels. It doesn’t come down to who is looking at me because I’m extremely self-centered, I care only about how I dress for me–LOL. It’s all good. But yeah. The pj look is, in my opinion, vulgar when worn out of the house. It’s as though lately people seem to think they are justified by turning a flight into an extension of their bedroom!!

  4. Sandra Sallin says:

    You dress with so much style. Love it. Always great looking. I think part of that is that you work everyday and need to look presentable. I’d hire you just to sit there and look pretty. Do you work colleagues also know what a cook you are? I live in Los Angeles. It’s usually 70 degrees every day? Rain? I wish. So it’s hard for me to get it together going to other climates. I’ll be going to Portland to visit my son. It will be interesting to see if what I take works.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Sandy. It’s so funny because I am currently not working but have a ton of work clothing. I’m holding on to them because I have a few job interviews to go on. Past work colleagues know about my cooking and baking and it’s always been a good thing!

  5. juliet brown says:

    I love your packing ideas – what I think your style basically boils down to for your trip is covering the bases and the simplicity of the shapes. Clean and classic and with an eye to the weather, I don’t think you can get better than that, I think that is how you always look so polished. Can I just say how excited I am about your Paris trip and your despatches 🙂 I can hardly wait to see what you do and where you go

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet. Thanks!!!!!!! Yeah. I thank my mother for passing on her classic style to me and my sisters. It is easier and non-fussy. I’m really excited to get back to Paris. Next to NYC it’s my favorite place!

  6. Barb E says:

    Like you, I prefer to check my bag. It’s never full but still too much for a carry on, and there’s room if I shop. I take a carry on for a flight to visit my sister who has everything I need.
    Your gougères look beautiful and delicious! Enjoy both of your trips!

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Barb. Yeah. During the colder months it’s impossible to fly overseas with just a carryon. Others can do it but I cant. Same here when visiting my daughter or family. She has everything so a carry on is the only way to go!

  7. Miss Bougie says:

    Your choice of wardrobe is very apt for Paris. Autumn weather can be rainy, dreary and cold. When traveling long distance I always check a suitcase, even if it’s only half full. Leaves space for any shopping I might do. For shorter trips or city breaks I only take a carryon.
    I’m an “autumn” so all my outfits mix and match as they’re all in the autumn colour palette. Easy packing! Your suggestion of taking pics of outfits is a great one. Very helpful.
    We’re currently in NYC for a week and I had a hard time packing. In Paris it was still balmy, bordering on warm last week. I know from experience that in NYC temperatures can plummet from one day to the next. I took a very light down jacket and two jumpers; one light and one warmer. Several tops and blouses to wear underneath, and two scarves. Shoes are always a problem especially when encountering rain. I took two pairs, one of them water resistant sneakers. I don’t pack dresses or skirts unless we’re on an island / beach vacation. In NYC dress code is laid back and we won’t be having dinner at a posh restaurant anyway.
    Enjoy your time with your daughter and grand babies.

  8. Vava says:

    I mostly travel with a carry on, even for a two week trip. No tall boots for me, just two pairs of shoes. I wear the heaviest things on the plane. (coat, sweater, t-shirt, jeans, and flats). A skirt is packed for dressing up and it has to go with most everything I’m either wearing or packing. My toiletries used to take more space than I thought they would but now that I no longer wear contact lenses or makeup, that frees up a notable amount of space.

    I hope you don’t run into any bed bugs!!!! The news out of Paris lately has been troubling!! Take care and have a blast!

  9. anniebridgie says:

    When I travel to Europe in the fall, I wear my puffy jacket on the plane with black cozy pants and top, plus scarf.. I am lucky in that we have a house in London, so a lot of my heavy stuff I leave there, (we live in Florida, and don’t need it here) So, in the summer in Europe as I will be more visible, without a coat, scarf etc.. I need more stuff. So consequently, I have to pack more for warmer weather ironically. I believe too to dress for myself, always have…whatever my age..and I have to admit woman do eyeball other women, as to their style, or lack thereof, and to me, ridiculously, it matters. No idea why? I’d need 40 more yrs of therapy to work that one out! lol
    Have a safe and wonderful trip.

    (I become myself, Bridget here on my laptop when I post on your blog, but anniebridgie, if I post on my tablet, no idea why, that’s way above my cyber skills to decipher, not that it matters, just a curiosity.. 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      You are soooooooooo lucky to have a home in London. I’ve never been but my sons were there in April and loved it. Felt so comfortable there. I’ve been to Ireland (family) but not London and it is on my list! LOL. Anyone can eyeball me because I’m too self-centered to see them!!!

  10. anniebridgie says:

    I stand corrected. I am anniebridgie now on my laptop, but Bridget on my tablet. I know it concerns only me, but it’s curious. I think I once posted somewhere yrs ago as a username anniebridgie, and it my name in full is Bridget Anne..the mysteries of these things 😉

  11. Looks like you’re all set! 😀

  12. Flora says:

    You should come to the Côte d’Azur in Winter instead of Summer today it’s raining everywhere in France but here. Have a good trip anyway, you can’t not in Paris.

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