How to survive winter overseas as Singaporeans: tips for year-end travel

Expat life
14 Sep 2023
8 mins read
Written by Team Instarem

If you haven’t heard, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) is asking Singaporeans with year-end travel plans to apply for passports now  


While ICA is fretting over overwhelming passport applications, every Singaporean is probably going “oh yes, for the first time in two years, we’re going to get a white Christmas.” 


Now hold your Rudolf… Here’s a quick reminder of what winter is like overseas and how to be prepared for it. 


Longer nights, shorter daytime 

The first thing to remember is that the days are shorter, and the nights are longer. Winter in the Northern hemisphere lasts from December to February, and during this time, there are fewer daylight hours. For those of us used to sunny Singapore, this can be quite a shock to the system. 


If you are heading overseas for winter, you might want to plan your activities around daylight hours.  


After all, there’s no point in heading out to the skiing slopes if it’s going to be dark by 4 pm. And you’ll definitely want to avoid any outdoor activities at night – unless, of course, you’re keen on turning into a human popsicle.


You might be interested in: Johor Bahru shopping malls: The best places to shop


Real feel versus actual temperature 

The idea of frigid temperatures, strong winds, and numbing cold sound really fun when you come from a tropical region like Singapore.  


Make sure you check the temperature forecast before you step out.  


But don’t just look at the actual temperature – pay attention to the “real feel” temperature, which considers wind speed and other factors. It’s often much colder than the actual temperature, so dress accordingly.  


Layer clothes 

It’s unavoidable. You are going to have to look like a dumpling if you want to survive the cold harsh weather overseas.  


So if you’re planning on spending any time outdoors this winter, be sure to dress appropriately.  


The key to dressing for winter is layering your clothes. This way, you can easily add or remove layers depending on how cold or hot it is. You want to start with a base layer that will wick away sweat, followed by a mid-layer for insulation, and topped with a waterproof shell. 


Where do you find winter clothes in Singapore? Check out Uniqlo, Decathlon, Universal Traveller, Cold Wear, and more.  


You might be interested in: 9 travel hacks that’ll change your life forever


Snow boots  

Snow boots are the most essential item of clothing in winter, whether there is snow on the ground or not. They keep your feet warm and dry, and they also prevent you from slipping on icy surfaces.  


In addition, snow boots are fashionably versatile – they can be worn with jeans, leggings, or even a dress. So if you’re looking for a footwear option that is both practical and stylish, look no further than the humble snow boot. 


Heat packs are life saviours  

If you’re planning on traveling this winter, be sure to pick up a few heat packs before you go. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a freezing cold hand or foot, except maybe the feeling of a burning hot hand or foot.  


Heat packs are also great for those who are always cold. Just put one in your pocket and you’ll be nice and toasty all day long. And if you’re really looking to add some excitement to your life, try sticking a heat pack in your first layer. That’s sure to keep you smiling in the cold.  


You can find heat packs in Daiso or Shopee 


Flight delays are common 

It’s that time of year again! The time when your travel plans are suddenly at the mercy of the weather. When a winter storm hits, flight delays and cancellations are all too common. And if you’re not careful, you could end up paying dearly for a last-minute hotel room or rental car.  


That’s why it’s important to make sure you have the right travel insurance coverage. After all, you’ll never know when an unexpected delay might put a damper on your plans.  


Get the right travel insurance 

Travel insurance is one of those things that you always hope you never have to use, but it’s always there in the back of your mind in case something goes wrong. No one wants to think about what could go wrong on their trip, but the truth is that anything can happen. 


That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have the right travel insurance in place before you go.  


There are a lot of different policies out there, and it can be tempting to just go for the cheapest option.  


But cheap doesn’t always mean good, and when it comes to travel insurance you need to make sure you’re getting coverage for all eventualities. That means getting a policy that covers you for pre-trip and on-trip emergencies, as well as for winter sports.  


Don’t take risks with your travel insurance – make sure you get the right policy for your needs. 


You might be interested in: 7 countries that require a Singaporean to apply for travel visa & electronic travel pass


Embalm your body with moisturizer 

Let’s be honest, there’s nothing appealing about being covered in flaky, dry skin.  


But despite how much of a pain it is to deal with, winter weather can really do a number on your skin. Low humidity levels combined with frigid temperatures strip away natural oils, leaving your skin feeling parched and irritated.  


And if you’re lucky enough to be traveling to a cold country, the problem is only exacerbated by dry airplane air. That’s why it’s so important to find a good moisturizer that will help combat the effects of winter weather.  


A quality moisturizer will help to replenish lost moisture and protect against further drying, keeping your skin looking and feeling its best all season long. So don’t let the cold get the best of you – stock up on some moisturizer and enjoy a happy, healthy winter. 


Expect places to shut down on Christmas eve and Christmas day 

One of the things that can be really tough for Singaporeans during winter overseas is the fact that a lot of places are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  


That means no shopping, no restaurants, and no attractions. So if you’re not prepared, you could end up feeling pretty bored – not to mention hungry.  


That’s why it’s important to do your research before you go. Find out which places will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and make sure you have a backup plan in case your first choice is closed. 


PS: If you are hungry, your best bet is always Asian food. They are usually open during Christmas! 


With a little planning, you can avoid the Christmas blues and have a great time no matter where you are. 


Cold is an understatement for the year-end countdown 

As the year comes to an end, everyone starts to flock to the cities to count down the last seconds of the year in the cold. Most popular countdown spots are going to be cold.  


Even if you’re bundled up in layers of clothing, the combination of low temperatures and high winds can make for a very uncomfortable experience. And forget about trying to use your phone – your fingers will be so stiff from the cold that you won’t be able to type a single letter.  


If you are in New York City for the ball drop, you will be shoulder to shoulder with a crowd of people and your only source of warmth will be from the body heat of strangers. In Taiwan, if you want a good spot to see the fireworks, you better queue up early because people start lining up days in advance. And in Japan, if you want to be one of the first people to ring in the new year at the temple, you better be prepared to stand in line for hours in freezing temperatures.  


So if you’re planning on spending New Year’s Eve outdoors, you might want to rent a locker and put some backup clothes in it.  


That way, you can change into something warm if you start to feel too cold. 


Don’t be a white walker this winter 

Winter can be a tough time for Singaporeans, but with a little preparation and some understanding of what to expect, we can make it through the season without too much trouble. So when the temperature starts to drop, don’t despair: just think of it as an opportunity to experience something new. 


And don’t forget to carry your amaze card along with you this winter trip.


With amaze card, by Instarem, you get to save while you travel with fantastic FX rates and rewards on all your overseas spending.     


Sign up via the Instarem app and start using amaze instantly! It’s totally free.  


*T&Cs apply  


*Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned.

About Instarem

Instarem stands at the forefront of international money transfer services, facilitating fast and secure transactions for both individuals and businesses. Our platform offers competitive exchange rates for popular currency pairs like USD to INR, SGD to INR, and AUD to INR. If you're looking to send money to India or transfer funds to any of 60+ global destinations, Instarem makes it easy for you. We are dedicated to simplifying cross-border payments, providing cutting-edge technology that support individuals and businesses alike in overcoming traditional fiscal barriers normally associated with banks. As a trusted and regulated brand under the umbrella of the Fintech Unicorn Nium Pte. Ltd., and its international subsidiaries, Instarem is your go-to for reliable global financial exchanges. Learn more about Instarem.

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