It can be a daunting thing, packing for a season you are unfamiliar with. Pinoys, for example, only really know two seasons—summer and rainy. And both are quite really easy to dress for. But what about when you’re traveling to another country and they’re in the middle of, say, winter? Yikes! That’s something you really have to prepare for!
Just recently I was in South Korea. It was mid-November and so the country was in the fall. So beautiful. Seoul was awash in the lovely colors of autumn—red, yellow, orange, a deep violet. However warm were these autumn colors that welcomed me though, the weather was quite the opposite. It was really, really cold. Temperatures would range from 9 degrees the highest and -3 at the lowest, usually in the evenings to past midnight. Good thing I did my pre-travel research and brought fall-appropriate clothing or I would be freezing!
It took a lot of research and asking around though, for me to be able to properly pack for my travel, and I know I’m not the only one. And so, to help you prepare for your upcoming (or dream) travel, here is a quick packing guide for every season!
Average temperature: 17 to -7 degrees celsius
Gapyeong, South Korea
Fall temperatures in cold countries can range from this-is-nice-like-Baguio cold to I-think-my-fingers-are-dying kind of cold. Mid-day temperatures are usually warmer than evenings and early mornings, so the answer to dressing for this kind of season is to layer. For even colder countries, it is important to wear heat tech garments that retain your body temperature to keep you warm. These are light garments that can be worn as undershirts and leggings beneath your sweatshirts and pants. I wore heat tech in Korea and they were a lifesaver. Layering is great too so when it gets warmer or when you’re indoors, you can just take off your jacket or coat but still be ready when the temperature starts to drop.
Lastly, do not underestimate the power of a good scarf. Not only does it actually help keep you warm, you can also use it as a face mask. My nose and cheeks hurt from the cold in Korea and my thick, knitted scarf helped protect my face from the harsh weather. Wear gloves for your hands, too.
What to pack: Heat tech top, heat tech leggings, tights or pants, sweatshirts, jacket or coat, scarf, gloves, toque (beanie, bonnet, or cap) to cover the head and ears, closed shoes.
Additional items you shouldn’t forget: Skin moisturizer—for the face, hands, body, and lips. Your skin WILL get dry or worse, crack. This happened to me. Don’t let it happen to you.
Average temperature: 0 to -30 degrees celsius
With temperatures dropping to negative (sometimes till -40 like in Canada), marching into a country in winter is no joke. Like in fall, layering and investing in good heat tech wear is a must.
For jackets, invest in a good down jacket, aka an insulated jacket. Although depending on your activities and if there is a possibility of heavy snow, you might want to get a hard shell jacket instead, which are more durable and are waterproof. For footwear, winter boots are necessary. Keep in mind that snow is ice and is therefore wet—protect your feet with the right shoes!
A pro tip? Winter gear is expensive if you get it here in the Philippines, so the strategy is to just buy one of each essential here, and just shop the rest or for more in your destination. If you’re going to a winter country, the prices will be a lot cheaper there as those stuff you need won’t be special items—they’d be available everywhere. In Japan, heat tech garments are almost half the price cheaper than here in the Philippines. In Korea, I was able to buy coats for as cheap as 500PHP each at a night market.
What to pack: Heat tech garments, leg warmers, winter boots, sweatshirts, down jacket, scarf, touchscreen-capable gloves (so you don’t have to take them off), toque (beanie or bonnet) to cover the head and ears, ear muffs, and face mask.
Additional items you shouldn’t forget: Moisturizer for the face, hands, body, and lips. Powerbanks and extra batteries for your gadgets, too, because did you know that batteries die faster in cold temperature?