Cold Weather Safety for Women Travellers
Inappropriate exposure to cold weather can cause both illness and injury. Women travelling to cold climates and/or throughout the winter months should take care to research the climate to which they are travelling, pack correctly for cold weather, learn basic snow safety and pack an emergency kit to keep with them at all times. Only when women are properly versed in weather safety for cold environments can they travel with true peace of mind.
Research the ClimateThe first step to cold weather safety is to know what you are facing. For women travelling to cold areas, this means research general weather patterns in the area as well as specific forecasts. The BBC Weather Centre (www.bbc.co.uk/weather) and Weather Underground (www.wunderground.com) are both sites that offer weather information in easy to read formats. Guidebooks and tour guides will also be able to provide more basic information about temperature, snowfall and ice patterns though only up to date meteorology services will be able to give a specific forecast for the time period in which you will be travelling.
Pack Correctly for Cold WeatherThe best protection against a cold climate is often a suitable wardrobe. When you are facing cold temperatures be sure to dress appropriately before braving the great outdoors. Layers of long underwear, lined trousers, flannel or wool sweaters and parkas are always good picks for cold climates. Wearing a hat and mittens will also help keep your extremities warm, and waterproof, insulated footwear will help keep your feet warm and dry. However, if you will be physically active while outdoors you'll need to guard against overheating. Adding and removing layers, both while you are inside and outside, is key to keeping an appropriate body temperature in cold climates.
Learn Basic Snow SafetySnow can make a child out of anyone, but prolonged exposure to snow can be dangerous to your health. Snow and ice make many surfaces slippery, so always wear footwear with traction. Do not handle snow or ice with bare fingers and remove and dry any clothing that become sodden immediately. If needed, clean snow and ice can be melted for emergency drinking water and building a snow shelter may help you weather the elements if you are caught out in a storm and are uncertain of when you will be rescued. However, do not attempt a snow structure if you are unfamiliar with them as there is always the risk that your structure could collapse and you could become trapped in the snow.
Pack an Emergency KitWhether you'll be keeping it in a rental car, ski chalet or your luggage, packing an emergency kit is a good idea for women travelling to cold climates. Use a waterproof container to stow a small first aid kit, shovel, blanket, torch, battery powered radio, sweater and hat, bottle of water and high calorie snacks. Keeping a piece of bright cloth with you at all times will also help you remain noticeable in winter conditions as needed.
Cold weather safety is really just good common sense. Do not expose yourself to the elements, stay as warm and dry as possible and always listen to winter weather forecasts so you know what kind of weather is predicted. Also make sure to eat heartily in cold weather as you often burn more calories to stay warm, and don't forget to wear sunscreen at all times. Just because you won't be sunbathing doesn't mean you won't get burned!