The winter season means a lot of things: festive décor popping up left and right, too many delicious pies, and, of course, traveling to and fro to see family and friends. Stay sane with our guide to the essentials for breezing through your winter travels!

Packing Tips

Start your trip off on the right foot with the perfect piece of luggage. Get practical with a durable hardside carry-on – we like this Rose Gold one from CALPAK or Away’s classic Carry-Onor try a rolling duffle bag if you’re notorious for overpacking. Embrace your extra side with a matching two-piece set that includes a carry-on that fits perfectly in an overhead bin with a smaller bag that slides neatly under the seat in front of you.

On the clothing front, keep it simple and stick to the staples: one versatile piece that can be easily dressed up or down; a black shirt and pair of jeans; and one fancy, festive item. It can be difficult to pack when you’re headed to a cold destination – nothing is bulkier than sweaters or coats inside a suitcase. We suggest making your versatile piece a sweater that can be easily paired with a skirt or pants to run double duty. If you need to squeeze as much storage as possible out of your luggage, considering rolling your clothing instead of laying it down flat. Pro tip: keep your clothes fresh by tucking a dryer sheet inside your checked bag!

Bring along a small hair tool that won’t take up too much room; you’ll appreciate the extra attention you can give to your holiday ‘do. To freshen in a hurry, don’t forget to bring travel-size dry shampoo.

Of course, your skincare needs are a must. We honestly don’t go anywhere without a Multi-Task Eye Serum Mask or two handy; they’re perfect little pick-me-ups, as easy to pack as they are to use. Take your prep to the next level with our guide to how your skin can survive the holiday and focus on the essentials for your travel bag, like the travel version of our Detoxifying Double Cleanse Set – the same double cleanse duo you know and love in a smaller, easier-to-pack size.

Whether you have a long flight or know there will be some downtime, don’t forget the entertainment. A good book and some AirPods are a must; stock up on downloaded episodes of your favorite podcasts and latest Netflix obsession. If you need some cultural inspiration, check out what we’ve been reading, listening to, and watching!

Travel Hacks

If you need some help staying organized, there’s an app for that. Try KAYAK, which helps you find the best flight, hotel, and rental car options. It also helps you organize all your travel plans in one place: free flight status updates, airport terminal maps, and security wait times. 

For another hack to help you fight those security wait times, apply for CLEAR, TSA PreCheck, or Global Entry. We recommend both CLEAR and TSA PreCheck if they’re available in your area, as CLEAR speeds up the travel document check while TSA PreCheck gets you through the physical screening quicker. CLEAR is available at 60+ airports and TSA PreCheck is available in over 150 airports; applications for both are available online at clearme.com/enroll and tsa.gov. If your holiday travels are taking you out of the country, look into Global Entry (cbp.gov), which can fast-track your experience at U.S. customs – and you can be approved in as little as two weeks!

TSA-Approved Do’s and Don’ts 

The majority of hygiene and cosmetics products are TSA-approved in both carry-on bags and checked bags, everything from tweezers to concealer. The main rule to remember when it comes to TSA guidelines is that liquids can only be stored in your carry-on if they are less than 3.4oz/100 ml. If you’re worried about something highly specific, check the TSA’s handy, super-detailed “What Can I Bring?” list.

From keeping packing simple (as hard as that might be!) to making sure you know the TSA rules around all your cosmetics, our tips will help you avoid the hassle of holiday stress. The fun of the season will be all the sweeter!