Planning a winter trip can be taxing for first-timers, especially for those coming from a tropical country like the Philippines. I myself did tons of research about everything I needed to know to prepare for a weather that was unknown to me, for my South Korea winter trip last year.

Now, based on personal experience, I’ve listed ten things that I’ve found to be essential for those going on a winter trip for the first time:

1. Vacuum Bags

Since we booked promo flights and we didn’t want to pay much for additional fees, Ivan and I decided to get only one 15kg baggage allowance for sharing. This meant that we had to utilize our trusty medium-sized Delsey Classic wisely.

To maximize our check-in baggage, we purchased vacuum bags from Xplore and used it for all our thick clothes.

 See how much space we saved? We didn’t even use an actual vacuum cleaner to compress our clothes, we just literally pushed the air out of our bags. We won’t be able to fit so much into our luggage if not for this amazing product.

2. Uniqlo Heattech

A few months before our trip, we made sure to visit Uniqlo on a weekly basis to check out whatever Heattech product they had on sale because we noticed that the brand often rotated their sale tags on different items every weekend. Literally. Every. Weekend. That’s how much we wanted to minimize our expenses.

We spent a few thousands on this with no regrets. Heattech was what saved our ice-cold asses while touring around Seoul at below zero temperatures. It also helped that the material was not overly thick, so we were able to bring a lot.

Quick Tip: Buy neutrals that are easy to mix and match para sure na pasok sa banga ang #ootd!

3. Winter Jackets

I was decided that I wasn’t going to spend a fortune on a winter jacket that I don’t even know when I’m going to need next. So I did what any budgetarian would do and depended on ukay-ukay for this. Luckily, I managed to get two winter jackets for only PhP 500 (PhP 250 each) from Fashion De Lite in Cubao.

Pangmalakasang jacket worth P250!

Ivan also got me a fleece jacket at one of Primer’s sale events in RCBC Plaza.

This is a good inner jacket if you fail to get a thick winter jacket. Just add another  water resistant jacket on top of it, then you’re good to go. But of course don’t forget to pile on Heattech under those jackets!

4. Thick Socks

Thick socks will not only shield your feet from bruises due to long walks while touring, but will also help your feet stay warm against frozen grounds. In my case, it didn’t matter if it was Heattech socks or not. Honestly, I just bought those cheap but thick black socks from Burlington at a local department store. I actually liked them more than my thermal socks from Marks & Spencer.

5. Comfy water-resistant shoes

Water-resistant shoes with good traction will be your savior, especially if you’re planning to go to spots where the ground will be covered in thick snow, or where there’s a high chance of snowfall. Wet feet is the last thing you’d want while touring during winter. Also, expect snow-covered ground to be extra slippery, so choose your footwear wisely!

Excuse the ugly creases on my almost two-year-old boots from H&M. Those are proof that I’ve been able to use them even after my trip — the main reason why I chose this pair. I wanted to buy shoes that were good enough for a snowy destination yet also wearable here in the Philippines.

6. Gloves

If you’re the type of person whose hands are the firsts to get cold, then you better get some heavy leather gloves or Heattech gloves from Uniqlo. But if you just want something to cover your hands for additional protection from the cold, then regular ones from your local departments stores can do that for you.

In Seoul, Ivan and I each got a pair of gloves that are touchscreen friendly. For around PhP 300-PhP 400 each, we considered it a great deal. We didn’t even consider wearing our regular gloves after purchasing these. ?

7. Winter Headwear

Felt like a kid again during my first snowfall experience ♥ / Photo by Ivan Angelo

If beanies and bonnets are staple accessories in Baguio City, then what more in temperate countries? Shielding your head against the cold is a must if you want to stay warm. A quick search on Google will lead you to an old Washington Post article that explains why:

“…you lose heat from any part of your body that comes in contact with a cold environment. And the part of your body that is most often exposed to the elements during the winter is your poor defenseless head!”

8. Moisturizer

Harsh winter winds can dry up your skin, so make sure to dab on moisturizer and lotion before heading out. Apply more on areas that tend to dry faster, such as the hands, feet, elbows and knees.

Now I’m not a beauty junkie but I know that sunscreen is a daily essential no matter what season, so make sure you don’t forget this step.

9. Power Bank

Batteries don’t last as long when it’s cold out. There’s a scientific explanation behind this, pero medyo nosebleed mga teh so let’s skip that part na ha.? Anyway, it’s best to have extra batteries for your cameras on hand, and/or power banks for your mobile phones. Promise, ang bilis maka-lowbatt ng lamig so if you don’t want to miss documenting your #ootd’s and the nice spots you’ve visited, better have a power bank ready!

Power banks available at Lazada

10. Vitamins

Ito talaga, very important. We definitely didn’t want to get sick during our trip so we made sure to stock up on vitamins and religiously take them daily. Ang hirap namang um-aura sa winter backdrop kapag nilalagnat, inuubo at sinisipon!

Standing in the middle of the Metasequoia Lane at Nami Island

Good luck in planning your first winter trip and we hope this list helps you!

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