The winter months offer the perfect time to explore the world, and the snow covered destinations found in mainland Europe and beyond provide ideal opportunities to enjoy magical adventures with those closest to you at a truly special time of year. Just like keeping in great health at home, there are a number of steps that should be taken when holidaying abroad during winter to beat the cold and enjoy your winter holiday in all its glory.

In this article, we take a closer look at the top tips you can utilise to stay warm and look good without taking your entire winter wardrobe along for the ride.


Uncover the secrets of good layering

While layering your clothes can be seen as a form of fashion rather than function here in the UK, in places where temperatures drop well below freezing layering is essential. Whether you are hitting the slopes or taking in some sightseeing in a chilly city, risking hypothermia isn’t a recipe for a fun-filled holiday.

Start your layering mission with your base layer, this will consist of clothes that sit closest to your skin. The key to layering is to invest in good quality clothes, particularly when it comes to your base layer. The cold, wet weather can compromise the hardiest of fabrics. Merino wool and technical garments are excellent choices for base layering and provide durability and longevity even after two to three days of hard skiing, while compression tops and trousers improve muscle recovery. Cotton is one fabric choice that should be avoided, however, as its moisture absorbing quality will leave you feeling cold and damp.

Now for your mid layer: this should focus on creating breathable insulation for your body. Most opt for multiple thin layers rather than a thick mid layer, as it is less bulky, topped with a gilet which warms the body without restricting movement. The outer layer of your outfit should be a snow and wind proof jacket and trousers. Garments with zippered ventilation are ideal for managing excess heat generated by the body during exercise.


Don’t forget the basics

As well as packing your layered system, thermals are a must for those tackling freezing temperatures and most thermal garments are easy to apply and remove, offering an invisible layer as you get dressed or strip down at the end of your day on the slopes. A pair of thermal leggings and a long sleeved thermal top are recommended and better yet they don’t take up much room in the suitcase!

Keeping clothes basic and black is also a great way to pack light and look chic from day to night during your stay at a ski resort. In terms of accessories, you should stick with lightweight, warm socks which are effective in low temperatures and take up less room in your case. Alongside these you will need some well insulated gloves to keep your delicate extremities comfortable in inclement conditions. And don’t forget a scarf, which can help to act like a cork at your kneck-line and prevent draughts from creeping into your clothes.


Your skin needs some love too

With all this talk of clothing and footwear it is easy to forget the other essentials that make winter travel comfortable. For those new to winter travel, the cold weather can have an unexpected effect on the skin and extra hydration may be needed during your break. Pack a good quality moisturiser and chapstick to keep your skin dewy and well looked after.


While you may not have to worry about malaria or diphtheria, but illnesses such as norovirus and influenza peak in the winter months. There is also still a low risk of diseases such as tick-borne encephalitis during the colder months in Europe. For more advice on staying safe wherever you travel this winter, why not consult one of Express Travel Clinic’s experienced clinicians?