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Friday 20 December 2019

My Must Haves for Visiting Cold Destinations

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Are you travelling to a cold destination this Winter?

The past few years we've spent the kids' Winter break visiting rather cold places. Last year we visited Denver, Colorado, and the year before we visited Salt Lake City, Utah. Both pretty chilly places in Winter, especially when visiting from mild California.

As you know, we've since moved to Colorado so cold Winters are our new thing, but I've found that there's a huge difference between living somewhere that slowly gets cold as Winter approaches, and visiting somewhere cold from a mild climate. With the latter there's a sudden change and it can be a lot harder to acclimatize. Dry cracked hands, severely chapped lips, static filled hair (and lots of zaps!), non-stop sniffles... There's a lot more for our bodies to adjust to other than just keeping warm. 

During our trips to Salt Lake City and Denver over the past few years I found lots of handy products to help make our time in the cold more comfortable, so today I'm sharing them with you. These are items that you'll most likely not think of until you need them - and who wants to spend them vacation time hitting up Target. Ok, some people probably do, but not me! Jackets, beanies, gloves, warm socks... those are already probably on your packing list, right? But these goodies most likely aren't - and trust me, you'll likely find yourself wishing they were!

Cold snowy places generally come with pretty dry air. Add in heating in hotels, restaurants, shops and any other indoor venue you visit, and that dry air is taken to the extreme. After struggling with dry skin, stuffy noses, and huge amounts of static while visiting Salt Lake City I decided to purchase a small cool mist humidifier to use in our hotel room. It made a world of difference! With the extra humidity in the room we found ourselves no longer waking with dry, blocked noses and we weren't zapping ourselves on metal surfaces all the time anymore. Before I bought the humidifier I couldn't open the door to our hotel room without getting zapped! This Crane humidifier is small enough to fit in a suitcase, yet it holds enough water to run throughout the whole night. It's the perfect size for a decent sized hotel room with two queen beds. It puts out a cool mist rather than steam so it's safe for use around small children, it's whisper quiet, and it has a blue light setting which makes for a handy night light.  

The humidifier I mentioned above is great for combating dry skin when you're in your hotel room, but it's not much help when you're out and about. I'm especially prone to dry and cracked fingers in the cold, and wearing gloves or mittens doesn't always cut it to protect my skin. My two favorite creams to protect and heal my dry skin are Nivea Creme and Tubby Todd All Over Ointment. They're both luxuriously thick and absorb well into the skin without feeling oily. They can both be used all over the face and body (I've even used them as lip balm in a pinch) and they both smell pleasant without being overwhelming. I honestly can't choose which one I prefer over the other! While the Nivea Creme comes in various sizes, I love these thin tins as they're super handy for use on the go. They take up virtually no space in my purse and can even fit into my pockets. Tubby Todd is my go to brand for kid friendly products, and the kids do prefer the All Over Ointment over the Nivea Creme so I like to have both on hand. The All Over Ointment is perfect for use on little faces to heal dry skin around the mouth.  

Hands aren't the only things that get dry in cold weather. For me, my lips are the first thing that start to suffer in cold climates, and I've noticed the same for the kids. Keeping your lips covered when you're out in the cold isn't really an option unless you're keen on wearing a balaclava, so the best thing is to keep them hydrated. I'm a bit of a lip balm junkie so I have a ton of different lip balms on the go at any one time, but I've found that the best for cold climates is Aquaphor. It keeps lips hydrated and protected, plus it's great for healing already cracked lips. 

Remember the static that I mentioned above? On our trip to Salt Lake City a few years back the kids and I were finding ourselves with crazy amounts of static in our hair. Having the humidifier running in our hotel room helped a lot, but when we were out and about the static was out of control. Especially seeing as we were constantly putting on and taking off beanies. A sales associate in Sephora suggested that we try Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Primer spray, and I am so glad we took her advice. A spritz of this amazing spray in either damp or dry hair, and we were static free. It's not cheap, and we did go through a travel sized bottle in just over a week with four heads of long hair using it, but it was definitely worth it. No more hair clinging to our faces and jackets, no more constant zapping each other (although the kids did get a kick out of that!), no more hair sticking straight out when taking off a beanie... It's also great on tangles which we found that we were getting a lot off with hair rubbing against beanies, scarves and jackets all day. If you have long hair, especially if it's fine or prone to frizz, this spray is a must!  

It's inevitable that at some point during a trip to a cold climate, someone in the family will come down with the sniffles. Winter is peak cold and flu season and when you add in a sudden temperature drop, being somewhere new with new germs and viruses, and especially if you've taken a flight, it can all take a toll on the immune system. Especially little immune systems. I prefer to stick to natural remedies as the first step when it comes to beating the sniffles. More often than not it's just a cold and there's no need for medication. I do like to be able to provide the kids with some relief though. The humidifier is a great help for sniffles, blocked noses and coughs. Seriously, get yourself a travel humidifier! My other favorite is to use an essential oil blend or chest rub for relief. Oilogic Cold & Cough Relief works a treat and comes in a handy roller bottle to use on chest, back and soles of feet. It's rather soothing and helps with sleep too. If you prefer a chest rub rather than an oil, Tubby Todd Chest Rub is my go to and I use it in the same way. It's more gentle than traditional Vicks Vaporub, so it's perfect for kids and babies.  
Sometimes when you're out and about in the cold, gloves or mittens just don't cut it. This is when Hot Hands Hand Warmers come in super handy. I have no idea how they do it, but one they're activated, these little miracles get toasty warm. Shove them in your gloves or mittens or keep them in your pockets and they'll keep your hands warm for hours. You can even put them in your boots to keep your feet warm. That was our trick for staying warm when we visited the Ice Castles last year. 

You know that pesky ear popping sensation that you get when flying or driving through the mountains? Or worse - that sensation that you get when your ears feel like they need to pop, but can't. If you're like me, it can be rather painful rather than just pesky. Vicks Vapoinhalers have been on the top of my must have list for flights ever since my first trip abroad when I was 15. When ever I feel like my ears need to pop, but can't, I inhale a little of this Vicks magic and it does the trick. My ears pop and they feel clear again. If you're travelling somewhere at high altitude, which cold places often are, that ear popping sensation can be a real pain. Make sure to keep a Vapoinhaler on hand.  

8. Tubby Todd Play Mineral Sunscreen
Ok, I know it probably sounds weird to say "Don't forget the sunscreen" when you're travelling somewhere cold, but seriously, don't forget the sunscreen! Especially if you're hitting the slopes or planning to spend a lot of time out in the snow. Unfortunately this is something I've learned the hard way, and some of my worst sunburns have come from a day in the snow. Blue skies and sunny days in the snow, which is pretty common here in Colorado, are great, but all that sun reflected off the snow can be pretty nasty. Make sure to use sunscreen on any uncovered body parts - which, let's face it, is probably just your face! Sunglasses are a must too.

9. Hydro Flask Travel Coffee Flask
What could be better on a cold day than warming up with a hot chocolate, coffee, hot apple cider or even a gluhwein if you feel so inclined? Not much; but you know what is better? Having that hot drink stay hot until you finish it! My Hydro Flask Coffee Flask comes in super handy when I'm out and about in the cold. I fill it with my favorite hot drink, and I don't have to worry about it getting cold. It's a great way to keep myself warm and you can ditch the disposable cups at coffee shops too. For road trips and camping, I love filling the larger size with hot water to use for tea and hot chocolate on the go. It stays hot forever. Well, not quite forever, but long enough.

Do you have any other cold destination must haves? Make sure to share them below in the comments. 

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