Gone are the days of the nervous "Did we really remember to pack everything?" Thanks to our comprehensive packing list for your winter vacation, you'll now have your bags packed in no time, ready for a worry-free journey to the snowy mountains.
Universal Essentials for Your Winter Vacation
As the saying goes, "Failing to plan is planning to fail." The better prepared you are for packing, the more relaxed your mountain getaway will be. In addition to casual and/or evening wear, personal hygiene products, and a travel first aid kit, consider adding these essentials to your winter vacation packing list:
- Cap, neck gaiter, performance fabrics, thermal underwear. Layering is key when it comes to regulating body temperature during winter outdoor activities. Make sure you pack clothes that can be layered.
- Warm socks, proper gloves, and insulated winter boots are must-haves. When it's cold, your body focuses on keeping your core warm, so extremities get chilly fast. Cold fingers and toes can be incredibly uncomfortable. Hand warmers can be lifesavers in a pinch.
- Backpack, first aid kit, lighter
- Seating pad, sandwich box, and thermos flask for hot beverages
- Ski goggles and sunglasses, cold cream, and lip balm
- Pocket or headlamp: Winter evenings set in early, so a headlamp is perfect for nighttime adventures.
Documents and Car:
- Passport or ID card
- Important documents like international health insurance, booking confirmation for lodging and transportation
- List of emergency numbers and addresses
- Phone, tablet, and charging cables
- Make sure to check local rules regarding toll stickers, winter tires, and possibly snow chains.
Indoor & Wellness: When the weather outside is frightful, the indoors are so delightful. Don't forget your e-reader or that book you've been meaning to read for ages. If your lodging has wellness facilities, a private sauna or even a (whirl-) pool, make sure to add swimwear and flip-flops to your winter vacation packing list!
The rest of the gear and clothing depend on your planned activities. Are you a skier, a winter hiker, or perhaps you're planning a family winter vacation?
Packing List for Ski Vacations – What Do You Need for Your Winter Sports Enjoyment?
For many, those "planks" mean the world: skiing is the number one winter sport in the Alps. Are you among those folks who can hardly wait for the season to start and are one of the first people standing in line at the lifts? Or are you more of the spring snow & lounge chair team? In either case, when packing for your ski vacation, don't forget the following items—in addition to the essentials already mentioned:
- Ski suit, ski pants, and ski jacket
- Ski gloves and ski socks
- Ski goggles and helmet, possibly a back protector
- Skis, ski boots, poles: If you want to save space in your car and check out the latest ski models each and every year, it's best to rent your equipment locally. In most winter sports destinations, you can rent full sets of ski gear from sporting goods stores. Our tip: ALPS RESORTS partners offer exciting discounts on equipment rentals. We advise sending your enquiry before your trip, consulting the reception team, and making your reservation online.
- Snowboard / splitboard and snowboard boots
- Freeride / ski touring equipment: touring skis, telescopic poles, touring boots, skins, and crampons. Avalanche equipment is as essential as planning your route and checking the avalanche forecast, snow, and weather conditions. This includes an avalanche transceiver, probe, avalanche airbag, and shovel.
- Backpack with first aid kit, thermos flask
Winter Nature Experience - Packing List for Winter Hikers and Nature Enthusiasts
Are you one of those winter holidaymakers who craves experiences away from the actual pistes? Before you leave home, make sure these essential items are safely tucked away in your suitcase:
- Performance wear (layering system), hat, neck gaiter
- Winter hiking boots (preferably with Gore-Tex membrane) and warm socks
- To keep your hands warm and protected, invest in a pair of high-quality, insulated gloves. Keep in mind that gloves with separate fingers preserve your dexterity.
- Telescopic poles, possibly snowshoes
- Backpack with a lighter, seating pad, lunchbox, and a thermos for hot beverages, along with a first aid kit that might prove to be a lifesaver. Remember bandages, pain relievers, and blister plasters.
- Binoculars and camera: For observing wildlife and mountain peaks, for capturing unforgettable moments and natural beauty …
- A GPS device or a smartphone app with offline maps will help you navigate through the snowy landscape and choose the right path. If you move off marked trails, checking the avalanche report and having avalanche equipment is vital.
Winter Getaway with the Whole Family: What You Should Definitely Pack!
A well-thought-out packing list for your family winter vacation is the cornerstone for an amazing break with the kids.
- Clothing: Hats, neck gaiters, gloves, performance wear, winter coats, and snow pants. Assume that you (or at least the kiddos 😉) will get wet in the snow at some point, so don't forget some backup clothes.
- Winter Boots: Invest in quality, slip-resistant footwear that's both waterproof and insulated to keep those little toes warm.
- Ski Gear: For kids especially, it's smart to rent ski equipment from a local sports shop. This ensures everything fits just right and helps you to avoid those costly annual updates—not to mention saving valuable space in your car. Pro Tip: Mitch Schweighofer from Adventure Ski School has shared in our article Pizza, Fries, Munchkins some key pointers for finding kid-friendly skiing courses.
- Sled or Snow Saucer: What would a family winter vacation be without a fun sledding expedition? Sleds are generally available for rent locally. Do some research beforehand and don't forget those ski helmets!
- Sunscreen, Cold Cream, Sunglasses, and Ski Goggles: Believe it or not, the winter sun can be just as intense as in the summer. Bring high-SPF sunscreen and a cold cream to prevent skin damage. Protect those eyes, too—the snow and ice significantly amplify sunlight.
- Snacks and Drinks: Keep the family energy levels up by packing plenty of snacks and warm beverages.
- Games and Entertainment: For cozy evenings in the cabin, board games and books for the kids are a must.
- Medications and First-Aid Kit: Make sure you've got all necessary medicines and a basic first-aid kit for minor mishaps.
- They Grow Up So Fast: Don't forget your (phone) camera and charger—you'll definitely want to capture all those marvelous memories.
FAQs for Your Winter Vacation Packing List
The snow cover varies from year to year, also depending on the region, elevation, and season. In Austria’s higher mountain and ski regions, you can find snow from November well into springtime. Planning a winter vacation in Austria? Visit www.bergfex.at for current snow conditions and snow depths.
Winter tire regulations apply from November 15th to April 15th. Driving with winter tires is mandatory during this period, and in certain situations, snow chains may also be required. Always obey local traffic rules and regulations.
In addition to winter tires, snow chains may be necessary depending on the local conditions. Always check weather and snow reports before arriving at your vacation destination.
Most winter sports destinations in Austria offer on-site equipment rental—from skis and cross-country gear to sleds. ALPS RESORTS' cooperating partners offer attractive discounts on equipment rentals. For more details, consult with the reception team at the resort where you have booked.
We've summed up what shouldn't be missing from your suitcase as you get ready for your stay in a holiday home: Take a look at our packing list for apartment holidays! For any additional information or questions, the reception team at your booked ALPS RESORT is happy to assist.