AARP Eye Center
If you were one of the hundreds of thousands of passengers whose flights were canceled this past holiday season, leaving you stranded and separated from your luggage, you may have vowed never to check a bag again.
Even if you weren’t caught in the great luggage fiasco of 2022, you simply might not want to check your bag or you may be flying a budget carrier that charges nearly as much for a checked bag as for your ticket.
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
But is it possible to pack everything you need for cold weather in a carry-on bag?
Absolutely, says travel expert Stefanie Michaels, founder of the website Adventure Girl. “I’ve even gone on a two-week ski trip to Switzerland with just a carry-on,” Michaels says. (Her skiing equipment was sent separately, but more on that later.)
Michaels says it all starts with the right bag. She recommends purchasing a lightweight roller bag — about 22 inches long by 14 inches wide by 9 inches deep — with large outside pockets and wheels that turn 360 degrees.
Next, invest in compression travel bags (small or medium bags; about $16 through online retailers), which will reduce the volume of your belongings. This is the trick to fitting bulky items such as sweaters and ski parkas in your carry-on.
Now the hard part: selecting the right cold-weather clothes to pack. Michaels recommends the following for a long weekend:
- Two pairs of pants
- Two button-down shirts
- Two pairs of thermal underwear
- One or two sweaters
- A pair of shoes/boots that can go from day to night
- Five pairs of underwear (wash as you go if you must )