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Solo Travel - Packing for Cold

As we head into the cooler seasons for the northern hemisphere, I'm seeing the anomaly in airports that always surfaces this time of year - the unprepared-for-winter traveler.

All things told, my travels generally take me in a southerly direction, and in leaving my hometown in Idaho, I rarely see someone dressed incorrectly for the weather we'll be arriving in. In coming home, however, I generally always see people getting on planes in their shorts, sandals, half-shirts, and other warm weather attire, knowing that we are headed into a bitingly cold wind when we step off the plane at 9 PM or later. It's not unilateral. There are definitely overachievers who seem to pack their full length down coats and fur-lined hats for weather that breaches 55 degrees. Strike a balance when you're traveling to cool climates.

Rule Number One: Weather.com is your friend
Check Weather.com the day that you're packing, and look at the 7-day forecast for the locale you are traveling to. Look at the LOW temperature, and pack accordingly, unless you have no plans to be out of your hotel room after sunset.

Rule Number Two: Layer, layer, layer
Take clothing that you can layer, like t-shirts - both long and short sleeved. If you have a jacket that converts to a vest, it can be a very smart investment for traveling to cooler climates. Remember, it's much easier to cool off than it is to warm up.

Rule Number Three: Unless you know the climate, don't presume you know its cold
And by "its cold," I mean what the cold there feels like. There are many different types of cold. Freezing in Chicago is much different than freezing in western Idaho. In humid climates, the humidity doesn't generally magically disappear when the temperature falls. It stays in the air. And given the right circumstances your nostrils can freeze together when inhaling. So check the humidity, and ask anyone you know who lives there what would be appropriate attire.

Rule Number Four: Never underestimate the value of good shoes and socks
When you're traveling to a cooler place, take good shoes and socks with you. If you end up hiking in the outdoors or cruising the downtown area's shopping districts, treating your feet well can help you stay warm. They are the furthest thing from your core body heat, and once they get cold, you can end up feeling cold all over. Also, be mindful that your shoes could be meeting snowfall. Pack at least one pair of shoes that can handle it. Treat your feet with care. Covering your pedicure is worth the sacrifice.

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