How to survive a winter business trip

This past year I have traveled to New York almost every month. During winter trips I typically feel reasonably prepared—I’ve dealt with snow and ice before, and traveled up north during winter a few times a year for the last five years. And for the most part, things went well. I followed the plan I’ve developed over the years, and from the knees up I was covered.

However, during my one of my New York trips it snowed three times. In between each snowstorm, the temperature rose above freezing, which caused the snow to melt, turning it to…..slush. While I have dealt with snow, ice, and rain, I have never before dealt with slush. At one point, I stepped into what I thought was a solid pile of snow, and ended up being a puddle of slush up to my knee. Not only was the unexpected impact jarring, but my entire right leg was soaked. Nice look for work, right?

So the strategy below for surviving a winter business trip to New York is what I’ve used for the past five years, but updated recently in the shoe-wear department. Hopefully I’ve gotten soaked from slush for the last time!

Surviving a winter business trip

  • Coat, scarf, and hat. I have a really fabulous red wool coat that I love, but when it’s really cold only the black puffy coat will do. I got for 50% off in January a few years ago, and it’s been a lifesaver. When I go to Chicago or similar windy cities, I bring fleece scarf, hat, and gloves, but for normal winter I bring a set that I knitted.
  • Boots.  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. Until my last trip, I had a pair of sweater-top Uggs that were warm and cozy. They worked great on snow, but were no match for slush. Moving forward I will be wearing my rain boots over wool socks. I’ll stay plenty warm AND be waterproof. (Tip: Up north, everyone just tucks their pants into their snow boots. It looks like we’re all walking along with pantaloons on, but at least your pants stay dry. Unless you step in slush.)
  • Silk underwear. For really cold days, or if you commute outside, silk underwear is a must. It will keep you warm while commuting but not overheat you once inside. REI has a big assortment, and I like their basic silk undershirt and silk longjohns.
  • Avoid bulk. Bulky items may keep you warm, but they take up so much valuable suitcase real estate. Two thinner layers take up less room than one thick layer, and will keep you just as warm.
  • Wool socks. Nothing will keep your feet warmer than wool socks. Layer two pairs for the really cold days!

For a southerner, going north during winter can seem like a daunting task. With a little planning, you can survive it! I promise. If you need help planning outfits for a winter business trip, read my posts about packing for a five day winter business trip and a ten day winter business trip.

Readers, how do you stay warm on winter business trips?


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  1. […] Wear layers. Two thin layers are just as warm but take up way less space than something thick. That being said, you will still likely need heavier clothing than other seasons so be prepared for a heavier carry-on. For more packing advice, check out my post about surviving a winter business trip. […]


  1. I have a couple of pairs of **waterproof** knee high leather dress boots. One is from Ariat and the other from Merrell. Both look dressy and have a great tread for snow. I’m also eying a lovely waterproof pair from Rockport. These all work well with a dress, especially for casual after hours dinners.
    I live in California which means no one sells good snow boots. I rely heavily on Zappos and their free shipping. I’ll order several pairs that I like. I’ll then pick one I like the best and send the rest back. It’s very easy – you just need to put several hundred dollars on your credit card. Zappos is pretty quick at refunding the money once you ship the undesirable boots back.

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