Travelling to Europe in winter? You’re in for a treat – this time of year the crowds abate and the continent settles back into its natural rhythms, allowing wintertime visitors to drink in the true ambience of each country. However, from October to March you can expect both snow and rain throughout Western-, Eastern- and Northern Europe, especially in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the Scandinavian countries, which means you have to pack accordingly.
Unfortunately, airlines don’t relax their weight limitations just because there’s a little snow falling on the other side of the globe, and you’ll still be limited to 21kg of luggage when you embark on an Expat Explore winter tour of Europe. The trick is to be smart when you pack. Here are the suitcase essentials for cold-weather travel:
Pack lots of layers & one really warm jacket
When you travel in winter, thermals are your friend. Stock up on warm underwear to layer under your day-to-day outfits and choose one really warm, well-made, water-resistant jacket that can stand 14+ days on the road. Choose a neutral colour that goes well with most outfits and pair it with basic leggings, denims and pants.
Pro tip: Don’t pack the jacket, wear it on the plane. If you get warm you can always stash it in the overhead compartment or use it as a pillow.
Choose quality over quantity when it comes to footwear
When you travel to Europe in winter you essentially need one pair of shoes – warm, comfortable, water-resistant boots that dry quickly and you can comfortably walk in for at least 5km. To make the most of your European holiday you have to take to the streets to drink in the culture and that requires a lot of walking. Make sure you’re comfortable – sore feet can ruin your experience and stop your from seeing all there is to see! Pro tip: Bring one extra pair of dress shoes for fancy outings to the theatre, etc.
Add colour and texture with warm wintertime accessories
Just because you’re packing practical basics, it doesn’t mean you have to look drab. Dress up your outfits with colourful scarves, hats, gloves and legwarmers. These items can be rolled and stuffed into small spaces in your suitcase and keep you warm while adding interest to your outfit.
In closing, here is the basic packing list our guides follow when they set out on a winter coach tour of Europe: thermals (leggings + top), icebreaker jacket, rain jacket/poncho, comfortable shoes/boots and warm socks, warm accessories (hat + gloves + scarves + legwarmers), sunglasses against snow glare. Use this as a template to put together your own packing list!
Pro tip: Most of our European destinations have laundry facilities, so you’ll be able to do a load of washing every now and again. Keep this in mind when you pack!
Excited yet? Here are some more pro packing advice to ensure that your winter coach tour of Europe goes off without a hitch. Bon voyage!