How to stay warm while travelling in cold places

At the moment here in Poland we’re having a cold wave with temperatures below -20°C. I wrote the following post to share what my mom had been always telling me, but what people from warm climates might have never heard. These few simple tips can make even temperatures as low as this really enjoyable, so why not sharing them with those who might want to travel in the wintertime! While Wendy, always afraid of cold, actually quickly started to enjoy the snow. During our travels in Russia we met (female!) hitchhikers who had travelled across Siberia in the winter.

So get your warm clothes and go enjoy the frost!

An Aussie enjoying the snow! Would you imagine?

An Aussie enjoying the snow! Would you imagine?

Growing up in Poland we learn a lot of ‘folk wisdoms’ which might not be obvious for those who come from warmer places. Inspired by the weather, I wrote down a few tips for those experiencing these conditions for the first time:

1) Eat a hot breakfast! Our bodies lose a lot of energy to stay warm on such cold days, help them by putting some warm stuff inside them!
2) Drink a lot of hot drinks all day! That’s why Polish people drink so much tea…
3) Cover crucial parts of your body AT ALL TIMES:
– your neck
– your upper chest
– your lower back
4) I know any subzero temperature is just “F-ing cold”, but remember the difference between -5°C and -20°C is as big as the one between +15°C and +30°C! Put on an additional layer of clothes when it gets 10 degrees colder than the day before.
5) Stay dry! Don’t go out soon after a shower, and NEVER leave the house when your hair isn’t completely dry!
6) Regulate your body temperature!
When we’re outdoors and dressed warm, even walking can make us sweat, the sweat makes our body wet, the wet clothes get cold with time and we get sick! There’s even a special verb for it in Polish – “zgrzać się”! Wear many layers. Get some off immediately after entering heated spaces. Starting to feel hot outdoors? Take off your hat for 3 minutes, unzip your jacket for 1 minute, take off the second layer of thermal underwear… Unless it’s too late and you’re already really sweaty, then better just don’t stay out long. Going to do physical exercise? Take a spare t-shirt with you.
That said, remember about number 3!
7) At temperatures below -5°C, wear a long jacket with a hood, you’ll feel the difference!
8) Extra insoles are what you have been looking for! Especially ones made of wool/felt, with a layer of aluminium that reflects the heat back to your feet. A great tip for hitchhikers: if you wait on snow or ice, find some twigs to stand on, so they’ll insulate you from it!
9) Careful with alcohol! Alcohol, especially spirits, make your body feel warm, but that’s for a short time, then you lose the heat even faster but you don’t feel cold! Use responsibly.
10) Don’t let your skin freeze 🙂 Use fat creams for your face and hands, plus a lip balm.

If you stick to those rules, you’ll not only see that winter is not as scary as it seems, but you’ll even be able to enjoy long, unforgettable days out in the snow 🙂

-25°C in Katowice

-25°C in Katowice. And don’t worry, it’s not +10°C at home, it’s just that the thermometer is by the window. By the way, keep your house at a healthy temperature below +25°C.

About Jurek Lubinski

Jurek comes from Poland where he graduated robotics just before realising people are his real passion. He left his home country in 2011 to take on another studies - ultimate learning through moving around the globe and doing more and more odd jobs. Fascinated with languages and cultures, he spends a lot of time thinking about the situation of our World and how education and grass-roots projects can contribute to making it a better place.