Packing for a long trip in the middle of Autumn or Winter

Most people go on vacation in the summer so this may not be relevant to many, but if you do a lot of business traveling year round or you are going somewhere cold it may be difficult to figure out how to change your mindset to pack for such weather.


I am heading to Europe for a month in the middle of autumn, near to the beginning of winter, which gave me a bit of a puzzle on how to pack lightly when I’d need a coat and so on.

Something everyone tells me is that Europe’s winter is quite mild compared to Canada’s. I am used to 0 degrees C to -30 degrees C (32 F to -22 F), with high windchill, lots of snow and ice.

I am told that our autumn is their winter, which is around 0 degrees C to 25 degrees C (32 F to 77 F).

Therefore, a light jacket and a warm sweater or two to layer underneath ought to do the trick. Something light but still very warm.

If you are going somewhere like Canada in the winter, then you need to swap the lighter coat for a heavy winter one, with thick gloves and boots.


  • Passport
  • House keys
  • Foreign money
  • Domestic money
  • Metro tokens to get to and from the airport*

*We don’t take cabs because it’s too expensive considering that we don’t travel with much anyway.


Simple, warm and able to be layered.

I thought about bringing a skirt but in that kind of weather I am pretty sure it’d be a useless item to carry along, so I am bringing an extra shirt instead.

Don’t forget that you are wearing some of these pieces as well, as part of the travel outfit, highlighted in green

  • Light jacket — windproof, waterproof with a hood (this is the one I bought: Mackage Gaia)
  • 1 2-ply cashmere sweater (thrifted, cost me only $30**) to layer over top my tops
  • 3 long-sleeve shirts to wear regularly, or to layer underneath the cashmere for more warmth
  • 1 t-shirt for sleeping
  • 1 tank top
  • Pair of denim trousers
  • 1 pair of leggings — wear to sleep and/or to layer underneath pants if it gets cold
  • 2 pairs of gloves — one thin and one with thinsulate; both can be used to hold a camera
  • 2 scarves — one very thin to block out the wind and stay a bit warm, the other to really bundle up
  • Earmuffs — you can also bring a hat instead; I find earmuffs to be perfect
  • Hiking boots — Worn as winter boots, quite sturdy, rubber bottom & great for hills
  • 2 pairs of thick wool socks — To wear with hiking boots
  • Ballet flats — Packed in the suitcase in case it’s warm enough to not wear boots
  • Accessories — One necklace and one watch 🙂

**Toronto Kensington Market’s Courage my love (14 Kensington) sells secondhand cashmere sweaters for men and women, for $30 – $40.

You won’t have a wide selection in the sense of picking the colour, size and style, but you may find a gem somewhere

My travel outfit is as follows from the above highlighted in green:


This is what I always bring — the basics for traveling.

  • Laptop — super thin Macbook Air 11″
  • Personal Organizer — iPod Touch which also holds books to read & organizes my life
  • In-Flight Entertainment — iPod for the highest quality music and videos
  • Plug Adapters — I bought the cheapest, most compact ones I could find
  • 2 hard drives– To back up my photos/videos taken; I always have three copies
  • Canon G12 camera — Takes pretty decent photos/videos in a very compact device
  • Bose 3 headphones — A must-have for the plane’s noise and hum
  • Earbud headphones — For waiting in the airport rather than using the Bose
  • All the chargers required


  • Eyemask — I can block out the light and sleep
  • Candied ginger/sweets — For nausea and plugged ears
  • Earplugs — For loud events and anything I need to block out noise


These are also my basic toiletries.

  • Makeup — Concealer, Foundation, Eyeliner & that’s it
  • Electric Toothbrush — Manual ones just don’t do the job on my teeth, I need an electric one
  • Shampoo — Some of it is far too drying in the hotels for my hair :\
  • Facial cleanser — Korres white tea fluid cleansing gel also used for makeup removal
  • Facial moisturizer — Argan oil
  • Body moisturizer — Caudalie body cream
  • Exfoliator — Pure & Simple’s Lactic Acid (a must!)
  • Contacts, spare lenses, contact lens solution and contact lens case
  • Glasses
  • Razor
  • Nailclippers


  • Huge Ziploc freezer bag for dirty clothes that haven’t been washed in the sink yet
  • Moleskine 5-Pocket Album to hold receipts and so on
  • Hairbands
  • Umbrella — I am told it rains occasionally and it wouldn’t be so bad to use it against snow either

That’s it.

It all fits into half a wheelie carry-on and a small camera backpack.



The section where the pouches are, you can see the bottom of the brown suitcase. Plenty of space left!

I am bringing a carry-on on wheels rather than packing it into a smaller bag because…:

  1. Probably going to buy a few souvenirs
  2. I want something to wheel rather than carry on my shoulder and hurt it
  3. I don’t need to fill it to the brim; if I come back with it still half filled, I’m happy



About the Author

I'm a 20-something year old girl who lived out of a single suitcase in 2007, and now I'm living with less, but only with the best. You don't have to get rid of everything to become a minimalist! Minimalism can help simplify and organize your life, career, & physical surroundings. You can read more about me as a minimalist. Or come and visit my other blog Fabulously Broke in the City where I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months, earning $65,000 gross/year.