8 WINTER TRAVEL HACKS that might not come across your mind …….
You have booked your travels for a get away to a romantic white winter holiday such as the snow capped mountains of Tohoku or the quaint picturesque village of Gassho in Shirakawa-go or perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Alaska Cruise & Canadian Rockies. You have traveled to a mildly colder country before and didn’t give much thought to your next destination – which is immersing yourself into the amazing sights of white snow around you.
Here are some winter travel hacks to ponder and help you prepare in packing for your trip end of this year! And for some mid-of the year perhaps? Either way making it a smooth and fun filled trip.
1. Prevent your spectacles and camera lenses from fogging up!
You can always use anti-fog wipes or spray which are light and easy to carry for those who prefer spectacles to contact lenses. If you don’t have these upon arrival to the destination, using a small dab of shaving foam can help or do what the scuba divers do sometimes – use your saliva to clean the glass, it works most of the time.
As for travelers with cameras, this is certainly a point you must plan before your trip. Imagine heading to the destination and not being able to capture the moments due to condensed lenses. Condensation happens due to temperature changes from warmth of indoors to the cold of outdoors or vice versa. A nightmare for both travelers and professional photographers a like. These condensation on the lenses are a bit more trickier as it can occur on the inside of the lenses where it’s hard to wipe them off and might damage the camera’s functions.
– Keep in padded bag or case.In cold weather the plastic or glass lenses would be more brittle.
– Don’t drop them! In winter your hands tend to be a bit more slippery due to the cold and sweat from body heat. If you are wearing gloves all the more reasons to be careful!
– Keep your camera in airtight plastic bags or zip lock bags. Throw in a packet of silica gel. This will help keep the moisture out of the camera preventing major condensation.
– Allow the camera to regulate a little before removing it from the plastic zip-lock bag in either environment.
2. Smartphone hacks in winter!
Smartphones are just like camera’s with screens made of glass. Hence care for them as you would a camera during winter. The screen might turn brittle and easily breakable for weathers below -1 degree. Place them in ziplock plastic bags and regulate them before taking it out to use.
You can also place them near your body, to help keep them warm. As most smartphones now do not have detachable batteries, hence keeping your device warm is vital. As the cold will drain the battery pretty fast.
Get special winter gloves which will help with your touchscreens. Smartphone devices nowadays functions like a camera in many ways. The fastest way to capture the moment of beautiful scenery.
Invest in a good power bank. It will help with ensuring you have enough power for as long as possible. As winter saps the smartphone power pretty fast.
3. Non-slip shoes in snow and icy conditions …… What type of shoes can keep your feet happy?
Traveling with the right shoes are always important. As a rule of thumb never travel with a new pair of shoes. If you have to get new ones, make sure you break them in at least a month before your travels. The best shoes to get for travel during winter are of course waterproof boots! It really depends on your taste, fashion has made these boots widely available in many shapes and sizes. But our advice is to buy brands which are trusted and worn by people who comes from these parts of the country as they have more experience on which brands works the best. Don’t only buy those for the sake of fashion and find out during the trip that it does not last and extremely uncomfortable. As you will do loads of walking! There are also some running shoes which are developed to suit the snow. You can find these on outdoor brands such as Solomon, New Balance, Adidas and Ice Bug etc.
There are also some ice tracks covers that can be bought and fitted on the shoes you are wearing. The spikes helps to give good grip on the snow. Preventing travelers from falling. Having a worry free time exploring the beautiful winter landscape. You certainly do not want to be slipping and falling in the cold!
4. Winter Jacket or Windbreaker : Down jacket or Wool?
So what type of jacket should you get? The materials that are made from wool and down feather are the best. Wool jacket can keep you warm and even if it is wet, it can easily be dried. But for the down jacket, you would have to be extra careful. As a wet down feather jacket takes much longer time to dry. Hence the reason why downed jacket usually have a pvc exterior. When your body is better insulated from the cold, you can brave the weather to enjoy the vistas and take beautiful picture!
– Always check the weather and temperature of your destination. Coming from a country where one do not experience winter, the first most common mistake that travelers do is they assume a temperature of 15 to 20 degrees might not be really cold and just nice as in an air-conditioned room. But boy you will be in for a big surprise!
– Taking into consideration the time of day, the winds causes the air to be much colder than it seems and the altitude, if you are visiting a historical sights located outdoors. This might cause the temperature to drop even lower.
– Common mistake is to buy winter jackets which are fashionable instead of durable. This might cause you to just stay indoors or on the transport at the end of the day. Not being able to enjoy the sites.
5. Insulated flask for a warm drink.
Choose a brand which can keep hot water or a warm enough drink throughout your journey. Most of the international brands out there can keep hot or warm water in the insulated flask for up to 12 hours. With today’s technologies, these flask are normally lighter to carry about. You will appreciate the warm liquid, as you do still need to stay hydrated even in winter seasons. So instead of a bottle mineral water from the hotel. Go green and invest in a good insulated thermos.
6. Portable hot water bags and self-heating gel packs.
After the whole day out touring in the snow clad vista’s. You are back in your hotel room or ryokan and you can’t stop shivering from cold. It seeps into your bones despite the heater in the room, buried under the blankets. Tomorrow is another full day of exploring …… hence what can you do?
Plan ahead. You can always purchase hot water bags in Malaysia. They do not take up space. But of course do not fill them with water when traveling to the destination. Leave it empty. Amazingly these little preparation can make your travels in winter ever more comfortable. After a long day touring, when you retire for the night to your hotel room the hot water bottle can be used to warm up your muscles, perhaps providing you better sleep and regenerating your body for the next day’s itinerary.
Imagine visiting the famed Nihonzaru or Japanese snow monkeys at Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park in Nagano Prefecture. But you can’t enjoy because your body isn’t built for this weather. Hence you spend most of your time in the warmer cafes available.
One of the things to purchase during your winter travels, especially if you are visiting snow clad vistas are the self-heating gel pads. They are affectionately called as “kairo” heat packs known in Japanese language as “fire inside the pocket”. You do not need a microwave to heat them and can bring them anywhere with you and activate them when needed. They are found in palm size, after activating them you can place them in your winter coat pockets to keep your hands warm while you tour the outdoor scenery and historical sites. They can normally last 8 hours and some even up to 15 hours. Where can you get them? They are very much easily available in the stores around Japanese town e.g. 7-Eleven / Familymart/ 100 yen stores such as Daiso.
It helps travellers during winter regardless of age!!
7. Lips,skin and hair care in extreme winter weather.
Winter weather’s air is colder. Lips are the first to show the signs during winter. A lipstick or lip gloss might moist the lips for just a little while, but a lip balm will ensure your lips does not crack. Use it as a base before you apply the lipstick.
Lather on lots of moisturizer on the skin before heading out for your tour to prevent flaky skin which may turn itchy. Remember, as you are on a sightseeing tour, you will be spending more time outdoors to experience the beautiful vistas. Therefore you should protect your skin from getting dry.
Do not forget your hair! A lot of people tend to forget about the hair during winter travels. Well it is certainly not to be blamed, especially those who are not from a four seasons country. In winter our hair follicles can be more brittle. Hence use hair moisturizer or leave-in conditioner is best. Invest in some hair serums or hair mask where you can let it soak during the night in the hotel.
PS: Remember when traveling during winter, your hairstyles sometimes do not co-operate during the entire trip. If you are a person who is very particular on his/her appearance, you can invest in a travel size hair spray to carry along.
8. Carrying soluble Vitamin C or tablet as a supplement during travels.
Soluble vitamins are packed in aluminium bottles and are light to carry. Many comes in travel sizes where after consuming you can dispose the bottle. Vitamin C with its high antioxidant is the perfect travel partner as a supplement. It helps with fighting common cold, immune function, wound healing, tissue growth and repair just to name a few. Which is a perfect booster for your health in cold weathers. No harm to carry with you, it is to ensure you don’t fall sick during the trip. To note: This is not a medicine.
For travelers who are prescribed with medicine, you should ensure you have adequate amount or no harm in bringing extra for your winter travels.
When you are equipped with the right advice for your winter travels, the beautiful experience will be captured as per the experiences below!