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Advice for winter packing for Europe?

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Jul 25th, 2006, 06:15 PM
  #1
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Advice for winter packing for Europe?

Hi everyone, I am new to this site and would appreciate advice/thoughts on what I need to pack for a winter holiday to Austria, Italy and Scotland (Dec-Jan). It will be our first trip to Europe and still having difficulty deciding what to take - we live in a climate where our winters rarely get below 10 deg C daytime. Thanks everyone.
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Jul 25th, 2006, 06:20 PM
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Check out the website for Winter Silks.

You don't say where you are going in Italy, but you have to be prepared for cold and damp weather. Waterproof shoes and very warm socks are essential for Italy as elsewhere.
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Jul 25th, 2006, 06:22 PM
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Because I am a teacher, I usually travel over Christmas. We love Austria and have experienced some of the coldest vacations there, but beautiful. I used to take a variety of winter pants, but I always end up wearing jeans EVERY DAY.
Here's what I pack:
1 light jeans
1 dark jeans
2 sweaters
2 long sleeve GAP tees; 2 short sleeve (for layering)
a scarf, hat, coat, gloves
1 pr. comfy boots
1 pr. tennis shoes
We find a laundry or pay the hotel for cleaning if our shirts get particularly odoriferous--usually comes in pressed and worth the money.
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Jul 25th, 2006, 06:56 PM
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Denim is not a particularly warm material--do you take lined jeans, susan?
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Jul 25th, 2006, 07:32 PM
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I was in Scandahoovia right after Christmas visiting my neice who was in school there for the year. I was never cold and the highs at the highest were in the 20's (f) and sometimes in the high teens. First of all I had a pair of lined boots. They were thick soled, a slight wedge and were rubberized on the outside. I got them on Shoebuy.com. These boots were warm. I never had cold feet, never had to wear heavy bulky socks. There was snow and ice everywhere. If I had known how great these boots were I would have had two pair with me so I could have alternated them each day. I had three pair of silk underwear tops. They are very thin and light. I had two short sleeved and one tank top. There was one day where I wore all three under my sweater but there is no bulk to them. I wore tights to keep my legs warm. I had two pair of black knit pants and one long knit black skirt. I had a few cotton T shirts, one kind of slinky knit turtle neck, two cardigan sweaters. I had a couple of short sleeved knit tops that I wore under the cardigans. The colors were either black, gray, or camel. Did have one dark purple long sleeved T shirt. I had a medium weight wool coat to the ankles. The coat also helped keep my legs warm. I got a medium weight coat rather than something heavier because I layered to be comfortable and when in stores etc. I could take the coat off and it wasn't terribly heavy to carry around. My brother and neice wore knit hats. I can't deal with "hat hair" so even though I had a hat I never wore it. Scarves are a must!!!! It makes a huge difference in how warm your body stays by having a scarf around your neck, keeping the cold air from drifting down the front of your coat. I kept seeing scarves I liked and kept buying them. I have scarves for life now!!!!!! Jeans are NOT that great. My brother wore them and his legs were cold. My neice wore them but.....she wore tights and leg warmers under them..jeans just do NOT keep you warm by themselves. So, that was the basics. I had a pair of light weight knit PJ's and was never cold. I could rinse them out and dry them on the radiator a couple of times. If you are cold, instead of taking bulky pajamas, just wear one of your silk tops under your PJ top. I can't remember where I got my silks...a company in Canada...they will pop up if you google "silk underwear". They were just wonderful. Very light weight but added a lot of warmth. The fabric was very soft and comfortable. They were very easy to rinse out and dried easily over night.
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Jul 25th, 2006, 07:34 PM
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I forgot...gloves...VERY important. I had lined stretchy Isotoners...they were great. They, like the scarves, made a HUGE difference in my comfort level.
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Jul 25th, 2006, 07:45 PM
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My last trip to Europe all I had with me was a backpack, so space was tight. I bought a pair of Northface all weather pants ($99).

It was so worth it. I was able to pull them over my jeans or cords and it kept me dry and warm in the snow and rain. It also gave me an added layer of security, my money and passport was kept in the inside pockets.

Another benifit is that is that they roll up small and are very light to carry.
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Jul 25th, 2006, 07:45 PM
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I was in Italy last February. The weather was cold for me (SoCal girl) but probably not as cold as you will find in Austria and Scotland.

My two wardrobe vitals were cashmere socks (bought on sale) and winter silk longjohns.

I also had mocs from www.landsend.com - one loafer pair and one boot pair. Good traction, as well as comfortable.

I actually took two long wool skirts which were very warm with the longjohns underneath and boots. They also made me feel a little more fashionable.

And, of course, I also purchased lovely scarves in Italy. If your head and feet are warm, you will be fine.
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Jul 25th, 2006, 07:54 PM
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We have traveled to Austria, Prague and Germany for Christmas twice in the past 3 years. I do take jeans but also cords and wool or wool blend slacks. Silk long sleeve tops and legs are a must and add no bulk. I bring a few ribbed turtlenecks, one or two long sleeve Tshirts, and a great black fleece that acts as a cardigan. Also a cashmere cardigan - very warm but light and compact. Warm boots, knee socks, gloves, warm scarf - the European women seem to wear big shawl-like scarves draped over their coats. A pashmina type scarf could act as a neck scarf or tied over the head if very cold. I have a black cloth coat, but I saw many long (usually black) down coats on some very chic women. We also saw lots of fur coats in Munich and Vienna, but not on me, lol.
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Jul 25th, 2006, 08:56 PM
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rufus firefly, yes, I wear tights or spanx with my jeans anyway. My legs rarely get cold--usually my face and hands (even with gloves).

I forgot to add that sometimes I forego the boots for my Dansko black clogs--as a teacher, they are the most comfortable walking shoes ever!
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Jul 27th, 2006, 01:57 AM
  #11
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Thank you all for the great advice, I've found it difficult dealing with just the planning of the trip let alone what to pack for a european winter. Bought a hat today, got some gloves (waterproof ski type ones, plus knit ones) couple of scarves - but like the idea of buying some nice ones in Europe. I've got some warmish trousers (feel like a wool mix, but don't think they actually are), will they be okay if I wear some long johns underneath? Have also got a 3/4 length black wool coat (medium weight) - I'm hoping it will be warm enough. Plan to layer my tops - have got some thin merino long sleeve tops and cotton long sleeve tops, thought I'd layer these with either cardigans or fleece and then my wool coat. Will this be sufficient? Still deciding whether to take a pair of jeans, if I do, I'll definitely have to wear long johns as well.
Do you think I'll be warm?

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Jul 27th, 2006, 05:50 AM
  #12
 
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I really like cashmere sweaters (tees, turtles, cardigans, etc.) for winter travel. They're light-weight and very warm.

This time of year you'd be unlikely to get any on sale, but be on lookout late winter for your next trip! And there could be some before-Christmas sales at large dept. stores in early/mid Dec.

Also agree with those who suggest silk underwear; at Winter Silks they come in different weights, and I'd get at least medium weight for that time of year. Still very light.

Happy planning!
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Jul 27th, 2006, 07:03 AM
  #13
 
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I find cashmere at TJ Maxx or Marshall's in the fall. Great prices. We've gotten sweaters, turtlenecks, and especially scarves.
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Jul 27th, 2006, 07:18 AM
  #14
 
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Hi all, I'm also new to this site and it was great to see one of the questions I wanted to ask someone else had already asked and there were lots of great suggestions. I am also going to Italy in winter and come from a warmer climate I had not thought of silk underwear and I was going to just pack jeans and thick stockings, may have a rethink. I have got the boots and the jacket, now I just have to plan the trip!
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Sep 2nd, 2006, 06:11 AM
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I never traveled to Europe with jeans; they are heavy to pack, if they get wet or dirty they are a pain to dry/clean, they are not versatile wear (casual, really), longjohns and denim are not crazy about each other, and denim is not a warm fabric. I take wool dark pants, silk winter undergarments (undershirt long sleeve and longjohns sold at JCpenney, for example; not expensive). A long jacket is also a must, a waist-length for overseas is not as practical. One long coat, with liner that doubles as a raincoat is ideal and a piece you can use for the next 30 years, if well taken care off. Two turtlenecks are basic (none of them white), wool socks, lined gloves, heavy scarf and a hat. Weatherproof shoes, preferably boots are the way to go.

I live in NY and have learned there is not such thing as bad cold weather, just the wrong clothing.
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Sep 2nd, 2006, 08:55 AM
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amandab- Sounds like you are on the right track to me. Layering is always good. Silk and cashmere good fabrics. I think the most important thing is footwear, to figure out a couple pair of good boots or shoes that will work for the weather.

Something like gloves, scarf, umbrella, whatever are easy enough to pick up along the way.

I think a down vest (that you can squish into a large ziplock baggie for packing) might be a good addition?
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Sep 3rd, 2006, 12:30 AM
  #17
 
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Something to know if you are from a climate that doesn't get very cold, many buidings in Northern Europe,(or all buildings in Scandinavia or in Canada where I live) are extremely well heated and insulated and you will be in room temperature once you are in from the cold. I often wear only a t-shirt inside in winter. So be prepared to put on and take off things. Layering is the answer. A good down jacket is a great investment and it's very lightweight and easy to carry around when you need to remove it inside (like in a store or museum).
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Sep 3rd, 2006, 08:34 AM
  #18
 
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Crefloors,
Do you remember which boots you ordered from Shoebuy? I am looking for a pair for my trip to Paris at Christmas.
Any other ladies have suggestions for winter boots?
Thanks!
L
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Sep 3rd, 2006, 09:07 AM
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Leili, they were Naturalizer. I just checked the site and there is a pair that are very similar to mine...the style is called Thorn..there is faux fir along the top, slight wedge heel, very comfortable for walking. The only problem I could see with them is if you wear the very narrow legged pants..in which case you would probably tuck the pants into them. I wear more straight legged or boot cut pants so had no problem with them going smoothly over the top of the boot. I loved not having to wear thick socks all the time.
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Sep 3rd, 2006, 09:42 AM
  #20
 
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Essentials: hat, gloves, socks, well-fitting and comfortable shoes or boots, scarf for your neck. Layers on top to keep your core warm.

I don't think your lightweight merino and cotton tees will be warm enough. A silk undershirt (very light to pack) will help a lot but you need a wool or cashmere cardigan or vee-neck for your top layer. A fleece vest as a layer under your medium weight wool coat might be a good idea. You have to keep your core warm. Cashmere helps. It's lightweight and warm, if you get too warm you can take it off and put it in your backpack or bag.

I love jeans but I agree with other posters, they're heavy and not warm enough in cold weather.

I wear lightweight lined wool pants for comfort and warmth and a cashmere blend pashimina style stole/scarf I bought at TJ Maxx and it was a great investment. I've used it as a stole on the plane and as a scarf around my neck, and have pulled onto my head to protect my ears when it got windy.

Good luck and have a wonderful trip.
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