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What To Pack For A Trip To New York In December


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Prissie Rone



Planning a trip to New York in December? You’re in for a treat! The holiday season in the Big Apple is truly magical, with festive decorations adorning the city streets and a plethora of winter activities to indulge in. However, packing for a trip to New York in December requires some careful consideration to ensure you stay warm and comfortable amidst the chilly weather.


Winter in New York can be quite cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. To make the most of your trip and enjoy all that the city has to offer, it is essential to pack the right clothing, footwear, accessories, toiletries, and more. In this article, we’ll walk you through a comprehensive list of what to pack for your December trip to New York, so you can be well-prepared and fully enjoy your visit.


Remember, New York in December is not just about the cold weather—there are plenty of indoor attractions and events to enjoy as well. So, pack accordingly for both indoor and outdoor activities, and make sure to leave some extra room in your luggage for those inevitable holiday shopping sprees!


Without further ado, let’s dive into the essential items you should pack for your New York adventure in December.



When it comes to packing clothes for a trip to New York in December, layering is key. The weather can fluctuate throughout the day, so it’s important to be prepared for both the cold outdoor temperatures and the warmer indoor spaces. Here is a suggested list of clothing items to pack:

  • Warm sweaters and cardigans: Choose cozy knitwear to keep you comfortable and warm.
  • Long-sleeve shirts and turtlenecks: These can be layered under sweaters for added warmth.
  • Thermal or merino wool base layers: Invest in thermal tops and bottoms to wear under your clothes for extra insulation.
  • Jeans and pants: Pack a few pairs of jeans or trousers for everyday wear.
  • Warm winter coat: Opt for a waterproof and insulated coat to protect yourself from the cold wind and potential snowfall.
  • Scarves, gloves, and hats: These accessories are must-haves to keep your extremities warm.
  • Sturdy umbrella: New York in December can experience rainy days, so be prepared with a durable umbrella.

It’s worth noting that New Yorkers have a stylish reputation, so pack clothes that make you feel confident and fashionable. Don’t shy away from colorful scarves or statement coats to stand out in the bustling city streets!


Remember to check the weather forecast before you travel and adjust your clothing choices accordingly. Layering will allow you to adapt to different temperatures throughout the day and stay comfortable as you explore the city.



Choosing the right footwear for your trip to New York in December is essential to keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable as you navigate the city streets. Here are some footwear options to consider:

  • Insulated boots: Invest in a pair of waterproof, insulated boots to protect your feet from the cold and potential snow. Look for boots with a good grip to prevent slipping on icy surfaces.
  • Comfortable walking shoes: New York is a walking city, so bring a pair of comfortable shoes for exploring. Opt for sneakers or comfortable flats that provide support and cushioning.
  • Warm socks: Pack thick wool or thermal socks to keep your feet cozy and insulated.
  • Slippers or cozy house shoes: If you’re staying in a cozy Airbnb or hotel room, consider packing a pair of slippers or comfortable house shoes for relaxing indoors.

It’s important to prioritize functionality and practicality when choosing footwear for your trip. New York’s sidewalks can be uneven, and you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking, so prioritize comfort over fashion. That being said, you can still find stylish and comfortable footwear options that meet both criteria.


Remember to break in any new shoes before your trip to avoid discomfort and blisters. And don’t forget to pack some blister plasters, just in case!



When preparing for your trip to New York in December, don’t forget to pack some essential accessories to enhance your comfort and style. Here are a few key accessories to consider:

  • Warm scarves: A cozy scarf not only adds a fashionable touch to your outfit but also provides extra warmth for your neck and face.
  • Gloves or mittens: Protect your hands from the cold by packing a pair of insulated gloves or mittens. Consider touchscreen-compatible gloves if you plan on using your smartphone outdoors.
  • Warm hats or beanies: Keep your head and ears warm with a stylish hat or beanie. Look for options with fleece lining or thermal materials for added insulation.
  • Earmuffs or ear warmers: If you prefer to keep your hairdo intact, earmuffs or ear warmers can be a great alternative to hats.
  • Sunglasses: Even in December, the sun can still be bright. Pack a pair of sunglasses to shield your eyes from glare and protect them from harmful UV rays.
  • Neck gaiters or face masks: In the current climate, it’s essential to have a face covering. A neck gaiter or face mask will not only keep you warm but also serve as a protective measure in crowded areas.

These accessories not only provide functionality but also add flair to your outfits. Feel free to mix and match different accessories to express your personal style while staying warm and comfortable.


Remember to pack these accessories in easily accessible pockets or a convenient bag so you can easily grab them when needed. Also, consider packing extras in case you misplace or lose any during your trip.



When packing toiletries for your trip to New York in December, it’s important to consider the specific needs of the cold weather. Here are some essential toiletries to include in your luggage:

  • Moisturizer: Cold weather and indoor heating can dry out your skin, so bring a hydrating moisturizer for your face and body.
  • Lip balm: Keep your lips moisturized and protected from chapping with a good lip balm.
  • Hand cream: Combat dryness and cracking by packing a nourishing hand cream.
  • Body lotion: Maintain your skin’s moisture balance by including a rich body lotion in your toiletries bag.
  • Shampoo and conditioner: Choose hydrating formulas to combat dryness caused by the cold weather.
  • Body wash or soap: Bring your preferred soap or body wash for daily cleansing.
  • Deodorant: Stay fresh throughout your trip with a travel-sized deodorant.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste: Keep up with your oral hygiene routine by packing a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Haircare products: Bring your favorite hair products, such as shampoo, conditioner, styling products, and any styling tools you may need.
  • Medication and personal care items: Don’t forget to pack any prescription medications or personal care items you may need during your trip.

Remember to pack travel-sized toiletries or transfer your essentials into smaller, TSA-approved containers to comply with airline regulations. Additionally, consider packing a small first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, pain relievers, and any necessary medical supplies.


By being prepared with the right toiletries, you can maintain your self-care routine and ensure you feel your best during your New York adventure.



When packing for your trip to New York in December, it’s crucial to bring along the necessary electronics to stay connected, capture memories, and navigate the city. Here are some essential electronics to consider:

  • Smartphone: Your smartphone will be your lifeline during your trip. Use it for navigation, communication, and capturing photos.
  • Portable charger: Keep your devices powered up on the go with a portable charger. This is especially useful when spending long hours exploring the city.
  • Camera: If you want to capture high-quality photos, consider bringing a camera. New York City offers stunning sights, and having a dedicated camera can help you capture those moments in all their glory.
  • Adapter plugs: If you’re traveling from a country with different electrical outlets, make sure to pack the appropriate adapter plugs to charge your devices.
  • Headphones: Enjoy your favorite music or podcasts while exploring the city or during long flights or train rides.
  • Laptop or tablet: If you need to work or stay connected while on your trip, consider bringing a laptop or tablet for convenience.
  • E-reader: If you’re an avid reader, consider bringing an e-reader to have easy access to your favorite books without the added weight of physical copies.

Be mindful of the weight and space limitations when packing electronics. Consider bringing only what’s necessary to avoid unnecessary bulk and to ensure you have enough room in your luggage for other essential items.


Remember to pack the necessary charging cables and accessories for your electronics, and store them in a secure and easily accessible place in your bag.


Lastly, don’t forget to download important apps like maps, transportation guides, and weather updates to make your trip to New York even more convenient and enjoyable.


Documents and Money

When traveling to New York in December, it’s essential to have your documents and money in order to ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip. Here are the key items to include:

  • Passport/Identification: If you’re an international traveler, bring your passport. For domestic travelers, have a valid government-issued identification card or driver’s license on hand.
  • Travel tickets: Whether you’re flying, taking a train, or driving, make sure to have your travel tickets readily accessible.
  • Hotel reservation details: Keep a copy or digital version of your hotel reservation confirmation for easy check-in.
  • Wallet or purse: Carry a secure wallet or purse to keep your identification, credit cards, and cash organized and safe.
  • Credit and debit cards: It’s advisable to carry a mix of credit and debit cards for convenience and to have options in case of any issues or emergencies.
  • Cash: While credit cards are widely accepted in New York City, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand for small purchases, tips, or situations where card payment may not be available.
  • Travel insurance information: If you have travel insurance, keep the policy details and emergency contact information easily accessible.

Make sure to keep your important documents secure and have backup copies stored digitally or in a separate location in case of loss or theft. Consider making copies of your passport and other important documents and leave them with a trusted friend or family member.


It’s also crucial to notify your bank or credit card company about your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with card usage while in New York.


By organizing and having these documents and money essentials in place, you’ll be better prepared to navigate the city and handle any unexpected situations that may arise during your trip.



New York City offers a multitude of entertainment options that cater to various interests and preferences. When packing for your trip in December, consider including items that will enhance your entertainment experience. Here are some suggestions:

  • Books or e-readers: If you enjoy reading, pack a few books or download e-books to keep yourself entertained during downtime or long commutes.
  • Magazines or newspapers: Grab some magazines or newspapers to stay updated on current events and indulge in leisurely reading.
  • Playing cards or travel games: Bring along a deck of cards or travel-sized board games to enjoy with friends or family.
  • Portable music player: If you prefer your own music, bring a portable music player or load up your smartphone with a curated playlist.
  • Language learning tools: Use travel time to learn a new language with language learning apps or audio lessons.
  • Portable streaming device: Consider bringing a portable streaming device to enjoy your favorite TV shows and movies during downtime at your accommodation.

Additionally, don’t forget to research and plan entertainment activities ahead of time. Check for events, shows, and exhibitions happening in New York during your visit. Purchase tickets in advance if necessary, as popular shows and performances tend to sell out quickly during the holiday season.


Exploring New York City itself can be an exciting source of entertainment. Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, indulge in street performances, visit museums and art galleries, and discover the unique neighborhoods that make up the city.


Remember to balance your entertainment options with experiencing the city in the moment. New York has a lot to offer, and sometimes the best entertainment comes from simply observing the bustling streets and interacting with locals.


Miscellaneous Items

Aside from the essential items, there are some miscellaneous items you should consider packing for your trip to New York in December. These items can add convenience and comfort to your journey. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Reusable water bottle: Staying hydrated is important, so bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day and reduce waste.
  • Snacks: Carry some light snacks like granola bars or nuts for a quick energy boost during your explorations.
  • Travel pillow and blanket: If you’re traveling long distances or have a lengthy flight, a travel pillow and blanket can make your journey more comfortable.
  • Travel-size umbrella: The weather in New York can be unpredictable, so having a compact travel-size umbrella can come in handy during unexpected rain showers.
  • Backpack or day bag: Pack a small backpack or day bag to carry your essentials while exploring the city, allowing you to keep your hands free and your belongings secure.
  • Plastic bags or ziplock bags: These can be useful for storage, organizing items, or keeping wet clothes separate from other belongings.
  • Travel guidebook or map: Though smartphone apps provide detailed information, having a physical travel guidebook or map can be helpful for quick references or areas with limited phone reception.
  • Travel adapter and power strip: If you have multiple electronic devices to charge, a travel adapter and power strip will ensure you have enough outlets to keep everything powered up.
  • Reusable shopping bag: New York is known for its shopping opportunities, so having a reusable shopping bag can be convenient when you make purchases or take advantage of the city’s famous holiday sales.

These miscellaneous items may not be essential, but they can greatly enhance your experience and provide added convenience during your trip.


Remember to pack any other personal items that you feel will enhance your comfort and enjoyment, taking into account your unique needs and preferences.



As you prepare for your trip to New York in December, packing the right items can significantly enhance your experience and ensure you stay comfortable in the chilly weather. By following this comprehensive packing guide, you’ll be well-equipped to make the most of your time in the bustling city.


Remember to layer your clothing for versatile options, and don’t forget essential accessories like scarves, gloves, and hats to keep yourself warm and stylish. Pack appropriate footwear that provides insulation and traction for navigating New York’s diverse terrain.


Make sure to bring toiletries that combat the dryness of winter, and don’t underestimate the importance of having your electronics, documents, and money in order. Stay entertained with books, games, and music, and be sure to pack any miscellaneous items that will add convenience and comfort to your trip.


Lastly, embrace the spirit of the city and its vibrant holiday season. New York in December offers a plethora of activities, attractions, and entertainment options for you to enjoy. So, pack your bags, layer up, and get ready to immerse yourself in the magic of the Big Apple!