How to Pack for a Ski Trip Flying

Packaging for a Ski Trip Flight takes extra planning, space and weight need to be considered, in addition to “what do I need for skiing?”

You should prepare for diverse ski conditions, but you don’t want to be hauling around extra clothes and gear – especially if traveling overseas, taking trains or public transport. The more you pack, the more you need to keep track.

Here’s our guide to packing for a flight to a week skiing or longer ski trip!

Aim for one carry on and one checked bag, plus your ski bag if you are bringing your own skis versus renting at your ski destination.

In your carry-on, have your RX meds, necessary toiletries, electronics, plus a change of clothes in case your luggage is delayed. Die-hard skiers bring their ski boots in their carry-on (or carry them separately) if they plan to ski on arrival day. That’s up to you! In that case, you will also want ski pants, goggles, hat/helmet, ski gloves also. I love my Kulkea Boot Bag – The Powder Trekker – that fits my ski boots in outer compartments and my ski outfit, and accessories plus goggles in a lined pocket, toiletries, all in neat compartments, in a carry-on size backpack.

Wear your ski jacket on the plane, so you are ready for cold snowy weather on arrival, and it makes for a pillow on an overnight overseas flight.

Roll clothing tightly, to maximize every inch of your luggage, and stuff socks into boots, goggles in your helmet or hat. Toiletries should all be small, travel size, which should go without saying, due to TSA’s 3 oz rules. Besides, you won’t need a full-size shampoo or toothpaste, so why carry it and risk it being confiscated or blowing up at elevation?

Plan your ski outfit and your après ski outfits. See our ski bag checklist below for your ski outfit needs. Pack two shirts or light sweaters that coordinate, a t-shirt in the event its warm and sunny spring skiing, and pants which you may wear on the plane (or leggings/tights and a skirt for the ladies and a scarf to accessorize). Clothing that’s versatile, like black legging yoga pants, that pair with a sweater are perfect, and comfy. Jeans can be bulky, and not ideal in snow country.

A swimsuit for the spa or outdoor heated pool is fun. Bring a few ziplocks – lifesavers when traveling to store cosmetics, cords, jewelry, purchases, food.

Tide packets or Breezio Laundry strips to wash underlayers and ski socks in a sink can be a real wardrobe extender.

Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane, with good snow treads, pack a pair of dress slippers or flats for in-hotel dining. Wrap your packed shoes in baggies, extra bags are handy for dirty laundry or market shopping at your destination.

Charging cords, headphones, laptop, kindle, should be placed in tidy compartmentalized bags to prevent tangling.

Label your luggage inside & out, put on a bright ribbon if it’s a standard black bag. Take a photo of your checked luggage on your phone, a snapshot of the contents too – to be overly prepared in the event of lost or delayed bags for your claim!

Ski /Snowboard Boot Bag Checklist – Everything you need to pack for a ski week or weekend:

Ski or Snowboard Boots (in a separate compartment)
Ski Pants for colder days, Wind Pants for warmer spring ski days
Ski Jacket for wintry conditions, Windbreaker/Shell for warmer weather
Base Layer Top and Base Layer Bottom
Two Pair of Ski Socks (travel-size detergent packets to handwash if you have stinky feet)
Helmet/Hat
Goggles and Sunglasses in their protective cases – tucked inside helmet or hat
Gloves/Mittens /Disposable Hand Warmer Packets
Neck warmer/Balaclava/Facemask
Pocket size sunscreen & lip balm, or an all-in-one SPF
Optional Ski Boot Dryer – I love my Seirius heat sticks to warm and dry my boots nightly!

Ski or Snowboard Bag – splurge for the wheelie bag to make your life and travel drastically easier. Ski and boot bags may not exceed 50lbs according to most airlines. Our two pair of skis (160 & 180cm) with bindings and poles weigh about 30 lbs total. We highly recommend ski straps to band your skis together, protecting the base and edges from jostling in transit. Many ski shops offer these as free giveaways with a ski tune.

Many airlines require that you only put ski or snowboarding gear inside the gear bag, and put ski clothing inside a suitcase. We have stuffed a ski jacket or ski pants inside as padding and to lighten the bulk of our carryon but some airlines have an “only skis and snowboards in the bag” policy. Some airlines count your designated ski bag and separate boot bag as 1 luggage item collectively, while others charge you for each piece of luggage regardless.

Rules differ by airline, so check with yours’ so you know before you go and can pack accordingly.

Happy safe fun travels to your ski vacation! Remember, if you didn’t wear it, you probably overpacked!

See How to Look Stylish from First Tracks to Apres Ski