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The Art Of Packing For Winter Travel in Europe

Though a lot of travelers head to Europe during the warm months, there’s something to be said about the beauty of the Continent in winter. From the Christmas markets to the epic ski spots, there’s a little something for everyone during the colder months of the year.

That being said, packing for the winter is a totally different game than packing for the summer or spring months. You want to keep your contents to a minimum so you can travel light, yet you must also keep warm and dry and still look nicely dressed as you transition from daytime to nighttime activities.

It can certainly be a challenge, but it’s worth it as you explore the unique European destinations that will present you with unforgettable experiences and memories.


Being able to tote your belongings on your back, rather than dragging it all behind you in a suitcase can make travel on foot easier. This is especially true if there will be snow on the ground when you arrive. Make sure your backpack is water-resistant or waterproof so it won’t get drenched in the rain or snow. Also be sure that valuables are in plastic bags to guarantee that they will stay dry.

Thermal Wear

A pair of thermal leggings and a long-sleeved thermal top are indispensable worn as an invisible layer underneath your clothes to help you fight against the freezing temperatures in some parts of the region. They can also double as pajamas, especially in places where there is little or no heat. Thin sweats and yoga pants are also comfortable and can double as casual wear and pajamas.

Sweaters and Sweatshirts

Sweatshirts and sweaters are much more versatile and warmer than regular tops. Take along a bulky sweater as well as lightweight ones, so you will be prepared to cope with all kinds of temperatures as you travel from one climate to another. You’ll likely also need to balance between sweaters or jumpers that are appropriate for more formal events and that sweatshirt you like to sleep in when it’s cold at night.

Wear Basic Black

Everything goes with black, so you can get away with packing fewer clothes if you have certain items that can be used multiple ways. A woman can wear a black dress casually during the day and then dress it up with a sweater or shawl when going out for the evening’s entertainment. A man can wear a t-shirt with his black pants during the day and be dressed up when he switches to a button-down shirt for the evening. Shirts and blouses with solid colors are the best answer as they are more versatile and can be accessorized for different looks with various jewelry or a variety of ties.

Boots Instead Of Shoes

Rather than regular shoes, a comfortable pair of slip-on waterproof boots with thick soles has many advantages, such as an easy on and off at airports as well as being able to walk for hours while your feet stay dry and warm.

Lightweight Socks

They will take up less space than bulky socks, but get ones that are purposely made for winter wear in order to have the desired warmth. You may also be able to get away with thin socks if you have additional ways to keep your feet warm, such as good-quality boots or foot warmers.

Coat Or Jacket?

A sweater can be added underneath a long, lightweight coat when it is extra cold. If you prefer, a full-length down jacket can be your answer. One with a hood that gives extra protection to your head and neck is an excellent choice. Pick a waterproof material in your coat or jacket, and you won’t have to take an extra raincoat or rain jacket.

A Warm Hat And Scarf

Can’t you just hear your mother nagging you about not forgetting your scarf? It’s vital if you’re going to be outdoors in the cold while you travel. Not only will a scarf come in handy for warmth, but if you pick a colorful one, it can dress up your wardrobe. You can also choose a hat that has flaps so you don’t have to also pack ear muffs.

Shop Sales If Necessary

If you forget something or need some extras when it isn’t handy to wash your clothes, head to a department store and check the sale racks for some cheap options that won’t break your budget.

Remember: Weather varies greatly from one part of Europe to another, so smart packing with layers and “mix and match” items will make you able to dress for whatever temperatures you are faced with. Enjoy your trip!

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