This post was updated in December 2018
Are you looking for some ideas of what to pack to travel around Europe in winter?
This packing list and tips to travel through Europe in winter will give you some clues as to what you may need – it can be extremely cold! Snow, ice, freezing Arctic winds can be the norm so bringing the right gear is important.
PACKING TO TRAVEL EUROPE IN WINTER
- Tip 1: Consider what luggage you need – I highly recommend taking hand luggage only if you can. Our backpack of choice is always a Pacsafe product as their anti-theft features are excellent. After an attempted robbery on a train in Paris I am even more conscious of the need to keep belongings safe. I highly recommend Pacsafe products and we have invested in a few over the years and have found them excellent.
- Tip 2: If you are travelling by train it is important to ensure sure you can lift your bag over your head when it is full. It is safer to put your bag in the overhead storage area where you can keep an eye on it. Unfortunately there is a problem with pickpockets everywhere including on trains so you need to keep your belongings close. Definitely keep cash/cards and passports on your person again preferably in a pickpocket proof bag.
- Tip 3: In terms of clothes think layers and lots of them! It WILL be cold so lots of thin layers with a coat over will keep you nice and warm. Conversely if you get too warm it is easy to simply remove a layer or two!
- Tip 4: Take small travel sized bottles of any make-up, moisturiser etc. and check if the hotels supply toiletries as this will save space and weight.
- Tip 5: Comfortable, waterproof, slip-proof footwear is essential. You will find it easier and safer to get around particularly on icy or snowy walkways.Remember many of the cities have cobbled stoned streets and they are treacherous when wet. I wear a pair of fur lined boots which keep my feet comfortable, warm and dry.
- Tip 6: Check out the BBC for up-to-date weather forecasts to ensure you are prepared for the wetter conditions!
WHAT TO PACK TO TRAVEL EUROPE IN WINTER
LUGGAGE/BAGS AND PACKING CUBES
Always think carefully of the type of luggage you will take. I have traveled with a pull along suitcase and a backpack but I will always recommend a backpack for winter travel especially if you are traveling by train. Pulling a suitcase along icy or snow covered streets is not fun. There are some great personal bags that come highly recommended.
Also seriously consider the pickpocket risk in Europe.
As I mentioned earlier layers are the way to go. I tend to buy vest tops then layer with a polo neck. Ensure your coat is waterproof and windproof as the breezes can be icy cold. Ensure you have warm gloves with you – I recommend taking tw0 pairs of gloves, two wooly hats and two scarves as you can leave the wet set to dry if necessary.
ESSENTIAL EXTRAS TO TRAVEL EUROPE IN WINTER
A bit of a mish mash of odds and sods that I take with me. Whoever invented hand warmers gets a big kiss from me. There have been a couple of occasions taking photographs in the cold and my fingers have literally turned blue. Putting my gloves back on with a couple of hand warmers inside is a life saver! Pack lip salve that is specifically for the colder winter weather. Chapped lips an be a real issue in the icy winds.
Don’t forget your sunglasses even in winter as the sun can be bright especially during snowy conditions.
Another essential on my packing list is wet wipes or a toilet roll. You just never know!
ELECTRONICS AND GADGETS
I always travel with my iPhone, my MacBook Air, my DSLR and lenses and my Kindle. Inevitably I need additional chargers/batteries/adaptors and the bits and bobs to ensure everything is working when I need it.
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I always have travel insurance when I travel as you just never know when you will need it. I highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance from Legal Nomads. Click the link to purchase their insurance – remember it only takes one slip on a patch of ice to require a visit to the hospital!
Check out my travel resources page too for other great products and recommendations!
PIN FOR LATER – PACKING LIST AND TIPS FOR TRAVELLING EUROPE IN WINTER
Packing list and tips for travelling Europe in winter
Tracy has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)
With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Come and join me as I travel the world one country (and train journey) at a time!