Best Winter Vacation Travel Tips

Singing the winter blues? There's no better way to change your tune than heading for southern climes. But going from one weather zone to another isn't as simple as tossing your bikini or trunks into a bag and going. Here are some great tips to make sure that your next beachy getaway from cold temps goes swimmingly:

1) Don't store all of your warm weather gear

If you are in the habit of switching closets, make sure that not everything from the summer months is packed away in bins. You will drive yourself batty trying to find your favorite tropical duds when it comes time to pack your bag. If you know that you will be heading south, or even think you might, pack an extra crate or bin or even suitcase with your favorite seaside gear. Put it in a place that's easy to get to so that, come winter vacation, you can just pull it out and go.

2) Do double duty

When you are packing, keep in mind that you will want to lose those winter items as fast as a snowball melts in you know where, once you arrive in paradise. Bring a puffy coat that can double as a blanket and pillow during your journey and roll up tight to stuff in your bag when your arrive. A weatherproof coat with a removable lining will protect you from the winter elements at your departure city, and convert to handy rain gear should you, horrors!, have wet weather at your vacation destination. Plan to wear the same outfit coming and going. More on that in the next tip.

3) Arrive vacation-ready

Think through your travel outfit carefully because going from zero to 90 degrees is no fun in clothes that can't transition. No more sweating it out on the cab ride to your accommodations. Wear flats or loafers with socks and remove the socks when you land. Put a blazer or light jacket over a short sleeve shirt and take off your outer layer as soon as you disembark. Stick a pair of shorts in your carry-on and head to the head before the fasten seat belt sign illuminates for descent. Switch out your leggings or jeans for a cooler pair of bottoms.

4) Pack light and leave room for shopping

Just as you want your winter gear to do double duty, you will want your tropical wardrobe to be just as hard-working. Plan your packing carefully with several outfits easily put together from the combination of a few tops and bottoms. And remember that you will likely want to buy local once you arrive. Gauge for that space and use that local find to enhance what you've brought from home. Your back will thank you.

5) Here comes the sun

Nothing is worse than losing days of your precious vacation to sunburn or sun poisoning. While the negative health effects are well known with both, it's still so tempting to overdo it, especially in the first couple of days. You will never get back the days you spend hiding in your hotel room after overdoing it in the sun. Do not underestimate the strength of the rays near the equator. Don’t just slather on sunscreen--put on a good cover-up that will make you feel stylish while also protecting you from too much sun.

6) Watch your health

One of the best ways to ensure a great vacation is to go in good health. Prior to the trip, take your supplements, get lots of sleep, and practice good health habits like washing your hands often and using hand sanitizer. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids both on the plane and on the beach, and be wary of tap water (bottled water is safest) and foods that may easily spoil in the heat of tropical destinations. Most hotels that cater to Western tourists have sanitary food practices, but it never hurts to check.