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The One Winter Travel Accessory You Should Always Pack

Winter brings chilly weather and its own set of packing challenges. Carry-ons that seemed roomy in summer are suddenly bursting at the seams. The bulkiness of winter clothes means you need to pack strategically, but you also don’t want to miss the essentials.

The Winter Travel Accessory You Should Always Pack

We asked some of the best-dressed travel experts we know to give us the scoop on the one winter travel accessory they won’t leave home without.

Ear Muffs

[st_content_ad]SmarterTravel Editor Jamie Ditaranto insists that old school is the best school when it comes to winter travel accessories. “In winter, I always travel with ear muffs. On the plane, they keep me warm and cancel out the ambient noise while I sleep, and once I arrive in a cold destination, I’m always glad to have them.”

A Scarf

The ever-fashionable Kai Lawson, aka Pasadena Travel Girl, swears by a chunky scarf on her winter trips to colder climes: “A thick and chunky texture gives you a cozy feeling. It also has many uses such as keeping you warm on a flight while looking effortlessly stylish.”

SmarterTravel editor Shannon McMahon seconds the scarf as an essential winter travel accessory: “It’s a blanket. It’s a cool accessory. It can wipe up hot tea if someone spills on you mid-flight.” That last part? True story.

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Fingerless Gloves

Kit Bernardi of is a freelance travel journalist and photographer who always packs her fingerless gloves with mitten flaps for added warmth: “I don’t need to remove them to take photographs, write or work on my phone. Practical and stylish, the gloves add a fun pattern and punch of color to winter outerwear.”


No one says a winter travel accessory has to be fashion-related. SmarterTravel Senior Editor Patricia Magaña always packs travel-sized tissues/wipes in winter: “I always travel with wet tissues like this all-natural option. A wet tissue goes the distance by wiping everything from noses to tray tables to spills.” And you have a tissue on hand, you’re never going to have to resort to your sleeve, so it’s really a fashion win after all.

A Solar Charger

Intrepid Group’s Michael Sadowski insists that the best travel accessory is a power accessory, and never leaves home without his GoalZero solar charger. “My winter travel is usually about embracing the cold head-on. Intrepid Travel’s Expedition series recently brought me to the Russian Arctic, where my phone battery would be unpredictable at best. Solar power is not only better for the environment but a necessary accessory for staying connected in the most extreme climates.”

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Warm Socks

SmarterTravel Sarah Schlichter knows that a winter trip is only fun if you’re not cold the whole time. “I get cold easily, so I never leave home in the winter months without a few pairs of cozy socks. I like practical wool socks for hiking (such as these antimicrobial ones), but in the evening at the hotel I might go with more fun, colorful options.”

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By Christine Sarkis

There's a 95 percent chance Senior Editor Christine Sarkis is thinking about travel right now. Follow her on Instagram @postcartography and Twitter @ChristineSarkis.

Christine Sarkis is an SATW-award-winning journalist and executive editor at SmarterTravel. Her stories have also appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her advice has been featured in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now. Her work has been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008. She is currently working on a travel memoir.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: The Trtl Pillow. It's easy to pack and comfortable, and makes it so I can actually sleep on flights.

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Seeing the Aurora Borealis from the comfort of somewhere warm, like a glass igloo or hot spring.

Travel Motto: Curiosity is an amazing compass.

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: Aisle all the way.

Email Christine Sarkis at

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