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Sand & Snow Travel Tips: How to Pack for Different Climates and Seasoned Travel Experts’ Advice


They say you can’t have the best of both worlds, but sometimes, it really is possible. Taking on two climates in one trip is the perfect antidote for the indecisive traveler, who can’t decide if they want to beat the heat or chase after it. And while planning an adventure to both the sand and the snow in one trip is a feat on its own, packing for both climates can be an even larger challenge. Below are a few tips on how to pack for warm and cold temperatures, and some helpful advice from our very own seasoned travel experts!


Extreme Temperatures

Southwest now serves more than 99 cities both domestically and internationally—each with its own climate and weather. Here are the coldest and warmest cities we serve and a few things to do in each.



The coldest Southwest cities by monthly average temperature are:

  • Rochester, New York
    • Take a trip to The Strong National Museum of Play, an interactive museum dedicated to games, toys, and all things play.
    • Dig in to one of Rochester’s signature Garbage Plates at Nick Tahou Hots—it contains everything but the kitchen sink!
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • If you want some cardio to beat the cool temperatures, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is about 30 minutes outside of the city. This destination offers walkabouts every Saturday with trained nature therapist guides.
    • Just a 20 minute drive from the Minneapolis airport awaits the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. You can take a tour of the most elaborate ice palace in the Midwest, and then hop over to the snow park boasting of all kinds of fun from giant snow slides to mazes and ski races.
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    • Rent a cabin at Camp Wandawega, a camp site listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which offers activities like tennis, archery, and shuffleboard.
    • Wander the history-rich halls and experience the old-timey magic that comes with the holiday season at the Pabst Mansion, where the founder of the Pabst Brewing Company once called home.


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The warmest Southwest cities by monthly average temperature are:

  • Lauderdale, Florida
    • Escape the heat with the many attractions on Las Olas Blvd. Visit shops, eateries, and art galleries in this trendy South Florida district.
    • Enjoy the ultimate waterfront dining experience at 15th Street Fisheries, hidden away in the heart of the Lauderdale Marina. With an incredible front-row view of the water and fresh seafood brought straight to your table, it’s an experience that can’t be beat.
  • Phoenix, Arizona
    • Hiking Camelback Mountain is a staple activity in Phoenix, but for a slower pace, visit the Desert Botanical Garden. If you visit after the sun goes down, the garden is illuminated and hosts occasional evening events.
    • Channel your inner Oprah and stop by Pizzeria Bianco to try the legendary Pizza Rosa. Seemingly simple wit just Parmigiano-Reggiano, onion, rosemary, and pistachios, you’ll never be the same after this slice of heaven.
  • Harlingen, Texas
    • This Texas city may be small, but it offers several tourist activities. Check out the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge for bird watching, hunting, and fishing or spend a Saturday visiting the Harlingen Farmer’s Market.
    • Books N Things is a must-visit for all the bibliophiles out there. Specializing in rare, used, out-of-print, and hard to find books, there are thousands of books lining the shelves to complement your next adventure.


Traveling in the Sand and Snow

For trips it’s not just about how you pack, but what you pack. Knowing the properties of different fabrics probably hasn’t made its way on your to-do list, but these details can keep you at a suitable temperature—even if that temperature is changing daily. Of course, this also helps leverage more suitcase space to ensure you have room for both your beach towel and snowboard. See below for an overview of some common fabrics.

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Travel Tips and Tricks from Southwest Experts

Chances are if you’re flying across the country or internationally, you’ll want to do so with as little baggage as possible. Try these travel tips to avoid heavy suitcases or multiple bags during your next sand and snow adventure.

  • Consider wearing leggings to warmer locations and then utilize them as an under layer when traveling towards cooler temperatures. Majority of the time these can fit under a pair of jeans, and provide an extra layer of insulation.
  • Wear a heavier pair of shoes to the airport to avoid taking up unnecessary room in your suitcase.
  • Bring a scarf to bundle up in colder climates, and then use it as a swimsuit cover-up in warmer climates.
  • Keep a flannel garment on you or tied around your waist while you travel. This will beat the unexpected airport chill without being bogged down by a heavy jacket.
  • Pack pocket warmers to keep hands warm without bringing bulky gloves.

And here’s some advice from a few Southwest Employees who have ventured from sand to snow successfully.


DEN Flight Attendant Gina Patterson shows us how she travels in style!DEN Flight Attendant Gina Patterson shows us how she travels in style!“I’m usually cold on the plane so I always wear the heavy stuff and pack the rest. Then, I switch out when I arrive to the destination.” —MCO Ramp Agent Rachel Zeleny


“Depending on the climate, I’ll pack some pieces that are the same and others to layer on top. Then, I can mix and match them with each other.” —DEN Flight Attendant Erica Hein Pomerenk


“My biggest travel essential is my Title Nine Passport Dress—I never go on any trip without it. It doesn’t wrinkle, it’s black so it doesn’t show dirt, and it goes with everything. You can layer both under it and over it, wear it unzipped as a tunic or zipped up as a dress, go sleeveless or with a blouse layered under.” —DEN Flight Attendant Gina Peterson

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