What to pack for a 5-day business trip: Winter

Brrrrr! It is cooooold. We are in the midst of winter weather here in Texas, and I know much of the country is the same. Here it is around 30 degrees, but a friend of mine in Colorado just posted that the high is -5 (the high!! Wow.). Any business travel from now until at least February will involve a lot of sweaters and coats. Packing in the winter can be tricky because you still want to carry on your suitcase, but sweaters, coats, and boots are heavy and bulky! Here are my strategies.

  • Layers are key! As any packing 101 list will tell you, two thinner layers take up less room than one thick layer.
  • Pack silk underwear. For really cold days, or if you commute outside, silk underwear (like this) is a must. It will keep you warm without bulk.
  • Wear your bulkiest items. As long as your boots are easy to get on and off, wear them to the airport. If you have room in your suitcase for your coat, great! If not, wear it and then place it on top of your carry-on in the overhead bin.
  • Wear all your items more than once. If I follow my normal “a top for each day” rule in the winter my bag wouldn’t zip! In the spring, a top takes up almost no room, but in the winter a long sleeved underlayer plus a cardigan for each day takes up a ton of room! Mix things up and change out your accessories to make new outfits.
  • Change out the coat if it’s super cold. I love my colorful wool coat, but for trips up north in the dead of winter I will exchange it for my black puffy coat (similar to this one). In that instance I will also change out my scarf, hat, and gloves for something more colorful.
  • Take commuting shoes. If there is snow on the ground, cute flats don’t cut it. Bring snow-friendly shoes or boots for commuting, then change into your cute flats once you get to the office.

As always, there are several more outfits that could be made with the pieces I’ve picked out. For this particular trip I could easily do without the sweater dress, but nothing makes me feel cozier than a sweater dress, tights, and boots (as long as the dress isn’t too clingy!). Speaking of tights—they take up minimal amounts of room and it doesn’t always make sense to rewear them, so I suggest several pairs. Another option: also switch out the skirt for another pair of slacks. I recommend wearing your most comfortable outfits on travel days, so for me that is the sweater dress and slacks.

5 day packing list winter

Here is my packing list:

  • Colorful coat
  • Warm scarf, hat, and gloves
  • Tweed Skirt
  • Pants
  • Sweater Dress
  • 3 shirts
  • 2 Cardigans
  • Jewelry and belts
  • Tights
  • Boots
  • Flats

Readers, what’s on your winter packing list?

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  1. I would add cuddle duds which are similar to the silk underwear you recommended. I would also bring a tank made from the same material. This would be able to be worn under your work clothes. Wool sock’s to match your slacks and comfortable low heeled snow boots. I would have pair of dansko boots. Pricey but oh so comfy. But I’m an Ohioan who lives in boots for much of the winter.

  2. Hands down, I would choose an ultralight down coat from uniqlo.com. I have never gotten a down coat before because they were too bulky and had no shape. My new uniqlo coat rolls up into a pouch that fits into my medium sized bag and weighs practically nothing. Yet it is unbelievably warm. And it has a very flattering silhouette. I am sooo in love with my new uniqlo coat. I thought when I bought it that it would be perfect for traveling from one climate to another, because it can just be rolled up and put away.

    The only thing I’m unhappy about is I paid $129 for it last week and *now* it’s on sale for $99. 🙁


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