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How to Pack for a Winter Trip to New York City

If you’re not native to the east coast, then you may be in for a surprise with its frequently fickle and inclement weather changes. However, you can usually count on frigid temperatures and/or snow to become a true reality once December hits. For that reason, it’s important that you have a solid understanding of how and what to pack for your trip to the Big Apple.

While this may seem like a somewhat simple and obvious task, there are a plethora of challenges to consider before you just start filling up that suitcase. What elements should you be aware of before you begin your packing journey?

  • If you’re only traveling with a carry-on, you have to calculate how you’re going to use your limited amount of space and then maximize it. Don’t wait until the last minute - create your packing list well ahead of your trip and allot ample time for packing and repacking, if necessary.
  • Are you traveling only to New York? Or will your trip see you making another stop where, perhaps, warmer weather awaits? If the latter, again, consider the amount of space you have in your suitcase and how you can most efficiently use it.
  • Wear your bulkiest items on the plane so that you can conserve space in your carry-on. After all, you may be pleasantly surprised when you arrive in these garments, all prepared to handle a severe cold front.

And now, what should you actually pack? If cold weather isn’t in your vernacular, then you may want to acquaint yourself with what that actually means. From freezing temperatures to early darkness, harsh winds, snow, hail, blizzard-like conditions and a variety of other descriptors, experiencing weather in the northeast is no joke. We’re here to provide you with a laundry list of must-have items as well as brief explanations of why we’re suggesting these recommendations. Whether you opt to heed our advice or not is up to you, but a word to the wise, we’re well-versed when it comes to identifying winter gear that is suitable for New York City, so act accordingly.

Clothing: From the Bottom to the Top

  • Wool Socks: No matter when you visit NYC, you are more than likely going to be doing a lot of walking, which means you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors. And even if you  have a pair of waterproof / resistant boots, they won’t mean much if you only have a thin pair of socks underneath. So do yourself a favor and spend a few extra dollars to make your feet comfortable. After all, warm feet are happy feet.
  • Water-Resistant Boots: From rain and sleet to snow and hail, you have to prepare your mind and your feet for precipitation-heavy weather. We would recommend purchasing a pair of waterproof leather boots with an insulating wool lining that's as fuzzy as it is warm.
  • Fleece-Lined Leggings: Investing in several pairs of fleece-lined leggings will help your body to trap heat and make your outdoor adventure more comfortable.
  • Jeans / Pants: This should go without saying, but don’t forget to pack several pairs of pants that you can wear over your fleece-lined leggings.
  • Base Layer Thermal Tops: Similarly to fleece-lined leggings, you’re going to want something to hug your upper body before you step outside and embrace the cold.
  • Warm Sweaters: You’d be wise to pack a couple of warm wool sweaters to wear on top of your thermal tops. Wool, or fleece, will prevent you from feeling waterlogged if you get caught in snow or rain.
  • Scarf / Gloves / Hat Combo: Make sure to keep your fingers warm with a pair of gloves or mittens lined with microfiber, fleece or wool for insulation; thermal gloves are also a good option in the northeast. A wool scarf and hat should be at the top of your list as well. In addition to gloves, consider purchasing hand warmers to stay toasty in any type of weather.
  • Winter Jacket: Invest in a parka or winter coat made with down, synthetic materials or wool for insulation, including an insulated hood. You may also want to have a thin, water-resistant jacket on hand to wear underneath your outer layers.

Additional Accessories & Electronics:

  • Portable Charger: We’ve all been victim of it, when your phone suddenly goes from fully charged to barely breathing. Cold weather temperatures do cause your battery to drain faster so you’d be wise to have multiple portable chargers on hand so that you can have your camera at the ready for those Instagrammable moments.
  • Cross Body Bag: If you’re going to be spending a lot of time traversing the city and visiting museums, other notable landmarks, or enjoying holiday events, then you may want to consider bringing a cross body bag versus a backpack. Most museums won’t allow backpacks and you’ll want your belongings within your line of vision on crowded subways; a cross body bag can help to combat these challenges.
  • Stainless Steel Tumbler: Having an environmentally-friendly container for water or coffee may go a long way as you explore the Big Apple.
  • Lip Balm: It may seem obvious, but if you’re unfamiliar with what a true northeast winter feels like, then you may overlook the importance of lip balm with SPF. Keep those lips taken care of as you expose your body to harsh weather.

What are some other types of clothing recommendations or accessory suggestions that you can share with the Go Airlink community? We’d love to hear and have you share your own unique NYC experiences with our community!

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