What is winter like in Europe? When I was traveling through Europe from December 2017 through January 2018, the weather was really nice, especially compared to the sub-zero temperatures in Kansas City. The temperatures usually ranged from 30°F–40°F, but usually with winds and/or rain. On the rare occasion, you’ll see the sun. It also gets dark very early, like in London, it would be pitch black by 4:30 PM to 5:00 PM, causing a drop in the temperature. You might be asking them, how should I prepare for a winter in Europe?
Packing for a summer vacation is much easier compared to packing for a winter vacation, in my opinion. It is easier to pack shorts, tank tops, shoes, and tops since they tend to be lighter and thinner unlike winter clothes. Winter clothes are thick, they take so much space, and you have to bring so many layers and accessories to keep warm. Keep reading to find out how I packed everything I needed into a 23 inch suitcase that lasted me a whole month in Europe!
1. Bring a small, easy-to-carry luggage.
I brought a small 23-inch luggage to Europe and it did a really good job at carrying everything I needed for a month. I do not recommend bringing a huge luggage to Europe. It’s way to much work to bring that onto the train, especially since you’re less likely to be able to put it above on the overhead compartment, where it’s a lot safer instead of by the door. It is also really difficult to walk around Europe with it and some hostels/train stations do not have elevators or escalators so you’ll end up having to carry that huge luggage of yours up the stairs.
For Europe, I think a strong two-wheeled luggage is better than the four-wheeled luggage since the two-wheeled luggage is a lot stronger and the wheels won’t break. My luggage got beaten up pretty bad since I did have to drag it through cobblestones, mud, and snow.
2. Invest in packing cubes
I swear on packing cubes, they can condense so many clothes into a small little container. I managed to fit 3 pair of jeans, 2 leggings (1 thermal and 1 fleece-lined), a pair of sweatpants, 2 sweaters, a vest, and 3 tops (1 thermal undershirt, a top, and 1 pajama top) into one large packing cube. Some people swear on the military rolling method, but I can only travel with packing cubes from now on. Click here for the link.
3. Bring maybe 3 pairs of jeans and 3 tops.
I recommend starting off with this amount of clothes first, because if you realize this isn’t enough halfway through the trip, it’s a good excuse to go shopping. That is what ended up happening to me. I ran out of clothes way too fast and laundry can be a pain, especially if you have to air dry it. So I went to Uniqlo and bought a pair of jeans and a sweater and then Primark to buy a sweatshirt. This made it easier because it allowed me an extra day of travel-wear as well as a day to do laundry.
4. Pack clothes that will go with each other
I made sure to pack clothes that were really simple and that could be washed together. So I essentially brought all darks/blacks that way I wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of separating whites and colors from one another. This ended up saving me money, time, and my own sanity.
5. Bring another bag for laundry
I always bring these woven mesh bags that I use to put into my luggage for dirty clothes. Typically by the end of the trip, I end up buying probably too many clothes so then I can no longer fit everything into my luggage. This ends up becoming another check-in luggage.
6. Invest in a good jacket.
Europe’s weather is kind of unpredictable. Some days it is extremely cold and windy, other days it can be pouring or sunny. So I would invest in a well-rounded jacket that can survive in every type of weather Europe throws at you. I recommend this jacket, which is the jacket I have been traveling around with in Europe. It’s really stylish and waterproof, but it also has a lot of pockets that can protect you from getting pick-pocketed. It’s also one of those jackets where you can detach it so it can become two different jackets. That way, if it gets too warm, you can just use one of the jackets instead of using both. Lastly, it has thermal technology (I’m not entirely sure if it actually works or it’s just some marketing scam) but I kept pretty warm throughout my trip. 🙂
This jacket is really pricey, so just find a jacket that you think is affordable or that you have and just layer up, it’ll do the same job anyways. Also, I plan on using this jacket (click the link to buy/look) a ton when I get back to Kansas City, especially since we are currently experiencing sub-zero temperatures.
7. A good winter boot
I love shoes. If I could, I’d bring my whole shoe collection with me to Europe. In reality, most of my shoes would end up getting ruined due to the weather and with the walking. So invest in a good winter boot that can survive mud, uneven cobblestones, intense walking, and can be stylish all at the same time. I got the Extreme Paddock H2O Insulated by Ariat at Zappos.com, they are a little pricey, but definitely worth the investment. They have survived the muddy grounds of Cliffs of Moher and the ridiculous staircase at Cologne’s Cathedral (all 500+ steps). They are also extremely stylish and very comfortable. Usually my feet are aching in pain, especially since I have flat feet. But so far they haven’t ached, except for the formation of blisters.
8. Bring all the winter accessories (hats, gloves, scarves, etc.)
In America, I hate wearing hats, gloves, and scarves. I honestly just hate layering because I always end up getting too hot and then I have to carry everything. But, like I said, Europe’s weather is kind of unpredictable so it’s better to be too warm rather than too cold. But if you end up losing or realizing later that you do want these accessories, it’s a good excuse to go shopping. 🙂
9. Layer up
Like I said earlier, I hate layering, but layering is really important if you’re walking all day around Europe. I would invest in Uniqlo’s thermal collection or you can be cheap like me and get your thermal gear from Costco.
10. Beauty related items
Moisturizing your skin is key, the winds in Europe can be quite drying to the skin. So make sure you bring a good moisturizer (with SPF) and hand lotion! I don’t wear makeup, but maybe waterproof makeup too, unless you want to look like a raccoon.
Any photos used does not belong to me.