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Old 10-10-2005, 11:31 PM   #1
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This is my first post and first long/backpacking trip through Europe - 3 months this winter (Nov.-Jan). I hope to travel from Portugal to Poland with stops between. A lot has been written for summer travelers but winter information seems hard to come by.

Does anyone have and special packing tips for winter travel (I live in Arizona so cold winters are pretty much foreign to me)? Will I need to make reservations in advance for hostels or will they have vacancies? Any other tips or suggestions for winter tavel would be helpful too.

Thanks in advance ,
Ryan
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Old 10-10-2005, 11:49 PM   #2
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Hey there, welcome!

Hostels will likely have vacancies, but it's easier if you can book ahead wherever possible. By booking ahead I mean, say, one day in advance if you know which city you'll be spending the next night in. Even so I seriously doubt you'll have any trouble with availability in the winter as the hordes tend to descend mostly in the warmer months.

Make sure you have a good winter jacket with you, wear layers and pick up a good wool scarf and a hat-- snowboarding-type beanies are great. Plan on the weather being wet and dreary in many places; you may want to invest in some good waterproofing stuff for your shoes or even your jacket before you go. I'm a big fan of Granger's myself (and I live in Seattle, so I know about rain! ) Don't bother with an umbrella. If you decide you're absolutely desperate for one, just get it when you're over there instead of trying to pack it with you. Don't try to pack like you're going for extended deep-sea diving; just bring the essentials and pick up any other crap like gloves, extra layers if necessary or the aforementioned umbrella when you get there.

And have a good time! Hot damn I'm jealous.
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Old 10-11-2005, 01:47 AM   #3
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take some waterproof clothing...sating that portugal/spain etc stays pretty warm as a lot of older brits tend to go out there in the winter for a little sun, as you head east it will get really cold expect snow etc especialy in Poland
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Old 10-11-2005, 08:56 AM   #4
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You can buy waterproofing spray at sporting good stores to spray down jackets and stuff (just noticed that SV already pointed out Grangers). Merrell (and probably other brands) make hiking books with gortex and my husband will swear by them. Comfortable, light, warm and dry. Try to pick up lightweight but uber warm socks. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Scarves rock - very versatile.
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Old 10-11-2005, 02:23 PM   #5
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Since they have all answered your questions, I'll just say Welcome
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Old 10-11-2005, 02:50 PM   #6
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Thanks again for all the help TPs! I leave Nov. 8 and can hardly wait.

Cheers
Ryan
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Old 10-22-2005, 04:00 AM   #7
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Hey...just gonna tag along to this thread since its pretty much what I'm doing as well.

I'll be backpacking from end of Nov to beginning of Feb and doing a big circle of Europe from London, up North as Amsterdam, East as Prague (though that may change) and as South as Sicily before heading back to London to thaw out in HK.

So here goes. This'll be my first backpacing trip EVER so plus the fact its winter...all my Euro friends think I'm nuts!

But I got a few questions:

In some of the other threads, it says to not pack jeans cos they're heavy and take forever to dry. But what else could I possibly wear in winter?

What sort of dressy stuffy do I need to go out at night? I heard London and Paris are pretty....well demanding in terms of clubbing gear. Its winter so I ain't going to bring a lil black dress...

Can I get away with wearing street shoes (like the old school Dunlops) around town? I mean they aint exactly water proof...should I be investing in seriously waterproof walking boots?

I'm taking Eurail - do I HAVE to padlock my pack to the seat or something when I go to the bathroom?? Sounds extreme!

How far should I reserve/book for Eurail (overnights and high speed trains)?

I'll be doing Southern Italy by myself (friends ditching me!), is it safe? I heard that there can be a few too many casanovas that it gets a lil uncomfortable! Same with Greece and Turkey (thats why they're on my maybe list)

Ok thats all the questions I have now ...hopefully someone can help out!
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Old 10-22-2005, 05:25 AM   #8
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im kind of guessing your travelling on your own

Take the jeans i always do...you could always get some minging waterproofs to go on top if your worried?

The padlock depends on if your in a cabin on your own or not...any valuables i try to keep with me in a bag that i can take to the toilet with me

Id definately take the lbd with me you never know when your going to need it

Id really try and get some waterproof shoes because there is nothing worse than walking around with wet feet! Dont forget if you are getting a pair of walking shoes you will need to "break" these in before you go...otherwise expect some nasty blisters!

Dont forget it rains A LOT in Europe during the winter months you may even get some snow! They are telling us here in the UK that this will be the worst winter in 10 years
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Old 10-22-2005, 11:32 AM   #9
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All the advice thus far has been solid, but I don't recall seeing this tip: A flask!!!
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Old 10-22-2005, 07:47 PM   #10
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Ooh thanks for the prompt reply!

I'll be doing only three weeks alone (being left in Rome) and will be meeting up with someone in Zurich after that.

I'd planned on taking my day pack (valuables) with me when there was a call of nature, but someone said that I actually needed to padlock my entire backpack to the rail/seat even if it had nothing but smelly clothes in it!

Lbd in winter? Are you serious???!!

Friends in London said that they can't get into any decent clubs without freezing outside! (read: skimpy and dressy). I dont think I could afford to dwell in those places my entire trip but it'd be nice to check out some of the better places. I'm from Sydney and bouncers can be pretty tight about dress code as well...like a girls night out requires sequins, beads and stilletos if youre going somewhere nice.

A flask? Excuse moi?

Ok...the worst winter in 10 years eh? Hmmm Just my luck... I was told that it doesn't really start to snow till Jan (i.e. dont expect a Bridget Jones/Love Actually sort of lead up to Christmas!). I've got boots which have been sprayed with some water proofing stuff - or should I actually be investing in Wellington Boots? Haha

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Old 10-22-2005, 10:13 PM   #11
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Welcome psyched
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Old 10-23-2005, 04:58 AM   #12
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Dunno how Sydney is, but every club in London has a cloakroom. A bit of a necessity in those colder climates!
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