Staying warm on a winter wonderland vacation

Jökulsarlon Island, Iceland
Jökulsarlon Island, Iceland

Happy Halloween! Don’t let the cold stop you from going somewhere. It’s already starting to snow in some areas so I thought it was a good time to write this post. I don’t like the cold. Usually, I’d rather stay inside than go anywhere when it’s freezing. I used to stay away from vacationing in cold climates or during the winter months unless it meant going to a tropical paradise. It limited where I could go so I had to get over it. I would have missed out on how incredible places like Iceland, Alaska, and British Columbia are during winter. Also, I wanted to try skiing and snowboarding.

Staying warm while vacationing, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or hiking in winter is a challenge. But there are tricks to make you feel comfortable as you adventure in the snow.

Quick tip: Carry a backpack with you to bring the items listed in the tips below.


Hiking in Wedgemount Lake, British Columbia

Get moving

Anytime you get cold, the best way to warm up is to start moving or if you’re already moving, go faster. As you move, your body will start warming up, and your clothing helps trap the warmth. But pace yourself. Wet clothing will make you feel colder so minimizing how much you sweat when it’s cold is critical to keeping warm. Move at a speed that keeps you warm but doesn’t make you sweat too much.


When you need a break, make it short one to avoid cooling down. Sit on your backpack when you need to get off your feet. The ground and rocks will be frozen.

Find warmth


The famous blue lagoon near Reykjavik, Iceland
Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Just as you look for shade when taking a break on a hot day, in cold temperatures, try to face the sun. You want to find a place that’s sheltered from the wind. If you can’t find one, put your back to the wind.


Snowboarding in British Columbia, Canada

Wear weather appropriate clothes

Wear layers. You can remove some if you’re in the sun and start getting too hot. If you’re going somewhere or doing something that is high-speed, wear windproof clothing. If the wind isn’t a factor, fleece is a good option because it’s breathable. You can wear it on top of a fast-drying base like cotton, nylon or polyester.

If you find you’re getting cold or if you’re stopping for more than a few minutes, put on an insulated jacket immediately to prevent from cooling down. Cooling down can happen rather quickly. Take the jacket off right before you start moving again, so you don’t overheat.

Bring two hats

As I mentioned, you don’t want to get too hot. So bring two hats depending on the temperature and what you’re doing. Thankfully hats are small and easy to pack! You want a really warm one for when you’re resting, skiing or snowboarding, or are in extremely cold temperatures. You need a lighter one for when it’s less cold.

Gloves and socks

Fingers and toes get cold the fastest because they’re the farthest away from your heart. You can layer your gloves and socks too and add or remove layers easily depending on the temperature.

You can also keep them warm with hand and foot warmers that you can put inside your gloves and boots. Check for brands and pricing.

Mittens are warmer than gloves because fingers get cold more easily when isolated. If you don’t need to use your fingers often or if you’re in extreme weather, wear mittens instead of gloves or wear them over light gloves.


Avocado slices

Eat and drink more

In freezing temperatures, your body needs more energy to keep you warm, and you can become dehydrated fast.

Eat high-fat snacks like nuts or avocado, because fat is slow-burning. It can keep your body going for longer periods, which becomes even more important in the cold.

Carry liquids with you so that you can drink frequently. Bring a thermos with a hot drink and hydration bladders without the mouthpiece (that part can freeze) filled with water. Store them upside-down, so that when you want to drink from them, any ice that has formed will not be at the top.

Mont Tremblant Mountains
Mont Tremblant, Quebec

Hopefully, you’ll find some of these tips helpful on your next vacation to a cold destination.



  1. Being from Vancouver, I found it funny that you mentioned British Columbia but I have to remember that up north from where I am it’s much colder. Of course our Californian co-worker is always complaining of the weather of the weather. Great pics and post. And I’m happy I can eat more avocados! 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment! There is such a temperature difference north than in Vancouver. Ahaha, I guess it’s true, the weather in Vancouver would seem cool for someone from California! Avocados seem to be good for everything 🙂

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