My idea to plan a trip in the mid-March was to travel Europe during the exotic season of Spring! I envisioned beautiful flowers all bloomed up, wearing my summer dresses, and moreover having a comfortable time after the grey English winter. On the contrary, climate change has never felt this real as I started by trip with 5 degree celsius, dropping to minus fifteen and back to 10 degrees in a span of 3 weeks! Therefore, I think I’m qualified to write a post on ‘winter travel’ 😉 .
- Carry clothes for all seasons
When travelling to Europe or the West, lets not forget central heating! Which means your only exposure to cold is when you’re out and not indoors. So I’d suggest on the days you do walking tours and plain exploring, warmers are a must but on the days you explore lightly and see more of indoors (e.g. museums), layering on top is the way to go. Also, during my trip there were some very cold days and some pretty warm days. So carry a dress or two, a skirt and thick stockings (H&M 200 denier stockings are a personal favourite and really warm). My personal packing (for 3 weeks of travel) was as follows:
- 2 plain black full-sleeves t-shirts; 1 plain white full-sleeves t-shirt; 2-3 half sleeves tshirts
- 2 full sleeves upper warmers
- 2 black jeggings, 2 pairs of jeans
- 2 pairs of sneakers (one black, one white)
- One black ballet flats
- Underclothes; Socks and Stockings
- One dress; One skirt
- One thick black Superdry jacket; one black leather jacket for lighter days
- Plain black Cardigan
- 2 coloured jumpers (I like how I mentioned colour, as everything else is just black!)
- 2 mufflers; One pair of gloves
- 1 cap
Please make sure you get a Superdry jacket or something similar as that takes care of the coldest chill and even rain/snow, our normal cotton jackets from India won’t help in sub-zero temperatures.
2. More and more warm stuff to be carried for long days
The weather app should be your favourite app. If it says it’ll be really chilly by the end of the day, IT WILL (probably be even colder). And if you’re like me, as I leave my hostel in the morning and am back after about 6-7 hours, always carry another cardigan and a cap (and gloves, if you aren’t wearing them already). They’re really light to carry and towards the evening or those sudden windy afternoon, they are life savers.
3. Form of exercise: walking!
For those of you who don’t like missing workouts, I know a long travel makes you ponder about your workouts. You don’t want to lose your flow for an entire month, right? You’d be surprised that exploring on foot, even in the smallest of cities, can make you walk about 8-15kms a day and sometimes more! In Amsterdam, the Van Gogh museum was a 30-minute walk from where I was and it took me more than an hour to reach there only because I stopped to have good coffee, walked through some beautiful canals, ate local stroopwafels- now compare this to a 10 minute cab or bus ride?
4. Listen to your inner voice
By the time I reached Salzburg, it was more than 2 weeks into travelling and exploring. I reached in the morning so it was an optimum time to go out and explore, but after more than 15 days of exploring my body felt worn out- so I just slept. A part of me was questioning that it’s an optimum time to explore and I only have one more day in Salzburg so this is an ideal time to step out, but it was important to listen to my inner voice. Travelling drifts you away, and you spend a lot of physical and mental energy and because you have so much fun you don’t realise that it can wear you out. So listen to yourself and don’t push yourself too hard- falling sick in a new country won’t be the best thing. Moreover, in a new place and in a climate you’re not used to, your body will require sufficient food and rest.
My inner voice also told me to eat Nutella every single morning for breakfast, and I did! So don’t forget
5. Don’t be disheartened to explore only because it’s cold!
The chill is an invalid reason to stop you from exploring, don’t do that! My philosophy is to be a local in the city that you’re in. You dont have to stick by that mantra but if they can do it, so can you! Sure, it may take a bit to acclimatise. But winters can really be beautiful and have a lot of pros, such as
- Less tourists! So no insane crowds at popular spots 🙂
- There’s usually a Christmas market before December and some or the other market after that. Have the warm chimney cakes, local coffee, hot fries loaded with mayo- have it all!
- Constant walking actually makes you feel warm
- You can explore lots of cute cafes by hopping in every 2 hours for coffee and staying warm inside
- Train journeys can include snow-clad mountains which will be mesmerising!