How Do You Dress for Flights Between Hot and Cold Climates?

Flying from somewhere very cold to somewhere very hot is the best problem you should have. (The reverse journey … less so.) But it also presents some logistical problems.

What can you wear so that you do not freeze and feel uncomfortable at the end of your journey? Is there a way to strategically pack so that the boots, jacket, and other cold weather accessories that you only need once do not take an excessive amount of space in your dexterity when you’re done with it? Are you changing into a new outfit that matches the climate of your destination, or are you sticking to one uniform of a travel day and are you just willing to be uncomfortable during part of your journey?

During our Hack the World trip to Costa Rica earlier this month, Joel, Beth and I all traveled from the east coast – which had just received a few inches of fresh, muddy snow – to Liberia, where daily temperatures in the 90s fluctuated.

No one had a particularly brilliant hack, but everyone put at least some strategy to work. Joel and I both wore our large clothes on the plane, changed at the airport and put our large winter coats in our suitcases. (I also replaced my tights and boots and sandals, which I had strategically packed at the top of my suitcase for easy access.)

Beth was slightly more on top. “I had a swollen jacket that folds very small,” she says. “When I arrived at Pittsburgh Airport, I put it in the bottom of my suitcase. On the plane I was wearing a tank top, hoodie, lightweight jeans and sneakers. As soon as I landed I went to the bathroom and changed into shorts and sandals. I took off my hoodie and applied my sunscreen. “

A crucial extra detail from Beth’s strategy: “I had grabbed my shorts and sandals at the top of my suitcase, where they were easily accessible.”

In addition to owning (or specifically purchasing) a lightweight down jacket – the better it is to stuff it into a small ball in your suitcase – the key here seems to be picking up your garment cover so that you can make the exchange as seamless as possible when you your destination arrives. But there are more clever ways to approach this problem?

Tell us: how do you pack for dramatic weather changes and what tricks have you found to minimize the hassle of changing (and repacking your bag) in an airport bathroom?

Written by Tommy Kilmer

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