I visit Finland twice a year for 2 -3 weeks and it’s usually in the winter time, when the weather could even go down to -25°C. My experience in the icy Nordics on how to travel lightweight, stay warm and look good are all listed here in this packing guide. This post is most suited for her packing list but most of the packing tips apply to guys too!
1 winter parka
Have one mandatory winter parka packed or as a carry-on, this is your lifesaver jacket that accompanies you everywhere. Whether you’re shopping at K-Supermarket or taking an expedition to the Arctic Circle, this would be your loyal protective gear. For instance, you can’t go wrong with the North Face Arctic Parka. I choose this based on functionality over fashion. These colours contrast with mountainous backdrops and snowy landscapes, but also work well with most outfits: black, red and dark green or brown.
3 pairs of wool tights and thermal leggings
Thermal inner wear is one of the most important things you’ll be taking. I recommend the HeatTech ones as they are slim and keep you warm without much discomfort. I had at least 2 pairs of of thermal leggings so I had a spare when one was being washed.
2 pairs of winter boots
I’ve travelled to Finland back and again, always in the same Timberland Waterproof Nubuck Boots.
1 set of swimsuit for sauna
Yes, bring a swimsuit / bikini to Finland in the winter! That’s because Finnish saunas are a household tradition and you’d be needing one for public saunas.
I brought 5 sweaters to mix and match – 2 cashmere and 3 made of wool, mohair-blend and knits.
2 pairs of jeans
A good pair of jeans are all you need to last 2 weeks!
3 sets of undergarments
Make sure to do laundry.
5 pairs of socks
If you’re planning to see the Northern Lights, Santa Claus Village or any magical adventure, you’d be walking a lot. 3 thick wool socks and 2 pairs of normal socks. Do laundry.
1-2 pairs of gloves, beanie, scarf
Skincare / Beauty
Having a beauty routine abroad is important for harsh weather conditions. In the winter, when the air is cold and dry, a morning routine of facial cleanser + toner is a must. I highly recommend Aesop Fabulous Face Cleanser or Philosophy Purity Made Simple Facial Cleanser. Next, follow up with SK-II Facial Treatment Essence or Aesop Bitter Orange Astringent Toner to start the day off. Simple and fuss free, this preps my face for makeup.
For make-up, I stick to the bare minimum: hydrating bb cream + tinted lip balm + mascara. Choose a hydrating lightweight bb cream, Dior Hydra Life Water BB Cream for a dewy finish. Avoid heavy makeup like foundations as the air is cold and dry. I have the Mario Badescu Rosewater Facial Spray in my bag to constantly add hydration to my skin. For lips, Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm is great as a chapstick. For eyes, I love Clinique High Impact Waterproof mascara which does not clump or smudge throughout the day.
Before going to bed, I make sure to there’s no makeup on my face by double cleansing. I use cleansing oil + facial cleanser combination to ensure squeaky clean skin. The Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil has been my holy grail for years. It contains 8 types of botanicals which has a slight heating effect when you apply it over your entire face. Melting off even waterproof mascara, this cleansing oil is super effective yet hydrating. I double cleanse by using Aesop’s or Philosophy’s facial cleanser to get rid of any leftover residue.
The last part is the most important – skin rejuvenation. I use a hydrating mask + toner / serum + cream to let my skin heal throughout the night. If there’s one product I swear by, it’s the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair. When I’m lazy and just want to replenish my skin, 2-3 drops can do wonders. For hydrating masks, I tend to alternate between wash-off masks and sheet masks. If you want to splurge, SK-II Essence Sheet Masks and DiorHydra Life Jelly Sleeping Mask are pretty good. But the Mario Badescu Protein Night Cream is really good for value and a trusty staple for night creams.