I thought I was a summer baby through and through, but the European winters seem to have changed that. I cannot believe I’m missing the cold air, the winter rains, the fall colours, the cold nights spent around fireplaces, the fog, the wine and everything else that winter stands for. I’ve been updating my Instagram daily, and all the posts made me realise how before travelling to Europe in the winters, I was not sure what to expect. We’ve all experienced winters, so how different could it be, no?
With rains and cold winds, the temperatures usually ranged between 4-8 deg, and nothing, I mean nothing in India can prepare you to deal with this cold (unless you’ve been in the snow in the higher regions up in north India) I realised I could make a blog post to address this topic, so here I am, trying my best to help you pack if in case a European winter is on your mind.
Here’s a list of things to keep in mind for your holiday to Europe in the winters.
Layering is key.
Wearing 6 layers of clothes is a stupid idea. Mainly because it makes you look like a small balloon, plus it hinders movement. Also, it takes up space in your suitcase! So if you want to stay warm and look socially acceptable at the same time, layer up! Ideally, a base layer, mid-layer and outer-layer is how this would work.
Base layers – this is what you wear underneath all your clothes, with the aim to stay warm. Thermals are the perfect fit. Please carry warm thermals, and not just old t-shirts or camisoles that you have been wearing here. If possible, carry full-sleeved thermals. Don’t forget to carry leg warmers/ leg thermals too!
Mid-layers- This is what you’d usually wear, and includes your dress, pants, shirts, sweaters, etc. You can wear multiple mid-layers, like a shirt with a sweater, or a dress with a fleece coat. It’s usually more efficient in keeping you warm compared to just one mid-layer.
Outer layers- This is what protects you from the cold. This would include all the big jackets and waterproof coats that you can wear over your layers. This outer layer is meant to be removed once you go indoors.
Pack a lot of socks
And you feet will thank you. Carry multiple pairs (I have 5 and still ran out of clean socks because of the amount we were walking around. Washing them was a fail because they took forever to dry.) Socks will keep your feet warm and blister-free (there’s a lot of walking to be done in Europe!) I’d recommend carrying thick socks for day wear, and snug woolen socks for the night. Avoid cotton socks since they tend to get damp due to sweat, plus they are not too good at keeping you warm.
Needless to say, you need gloves. The cold makes your digits hurt, and that numbing pain has made the best of us cry (my fingers going cold are the most annoying thing about winters, so I make sure I’d be wearing gloves at all times) Get the mitten-glove combo, that helps you hold your phone and camera too.
Girls, please remember your stockings.
Carrying a pair of stockings will save your life #truestory Get the one with the pantyhose, it helps you stay more snug. Wearing these can be slightly discomforting because it always feels like it’s slipping down when it’s not. To combat this, wear a pair of shorts or even underwear over your stockings, or garters.
Pack comfortable footwear
European winters are cold and rainy/snowy, so it’s quite possible that you will find wet days. So rule #1 – carry waterproof shoes. Waterproof boots are the best bet. Also carry a pair of rubber gumboots if you own them. If not, and you feel things are getting too wet in Europe, you can buy the plastic sheets that are sold for 2-3 Euros at street stalls (but I’d suggest you don’t because SAY NO TO PLASTIC!)
Don’t forget to carry comfortable walking shoes. Ideally, a pair of joggers or sneakers work best. I has my adidas ultraboost(s) with me, and thankfully they go with every outfit. I also had a pair of waterproof boots.
You can save space and weight if you don’t pack any heels, and sandals are a big no no.
Make sure you pack scarves, earmuffs, mufflers and caps/hats. Also make sure you carry tonnes of moisturizer; Europe tends to get dry and your skin will turn flaky within a few hours of being there. Don’t forget vaseline/chapsticks for your lips.