What to Pack for Europe in Every Season
By: Kristin Karst, AmaWaterways
My travel schedule can be very busy so I try to stick to a fairly organized packing process particularly when I have back-to-back weeks on board the ships – hosting travel partners, mingling with guests and spending time with our remarkable crew. I always try to pack light but I cherish my morning exercise or yoga class and love to get out in the fresh air on a hiking or biking excursion, so I am always careful that I’m not breaking in a new pair of shoes or boots during my cruise.
I often get asked about the dress code on board and while there are no strict rules other than being comfortable, I love to dress up a little for our Sip & Sail Cocktail each evening and all our guests seem to dress for dinner with a certain degree of casual elegance fitting the lovely setting and excellent cuisine they are going to be served. Here are a few more packing tips for enjoying the four seasons on the magnificent rivers of Europe.
With dazzling foliage, lower airfares and diminishing crowds, fall is a wonderful season to visit us on the rivers.
- The secret is in the layers and interchangeable pieces. For a week-long cruise, I suggest packing five comfortable tops, three pairs of pants and a nice dress – all in a neutral color palette so you can mix and match. I always have a couple of scarves and a necklace or two to dress things up for the evening.
- You will need a couple of outerwear options like a waterproof wind breaker or rain poncho that you can pop over a lightweight down-filled jacket that rolls up small but will keep you warm after the sun sets.
- Pro-tip: Opt-in for our very affordable laundry service on board if you run low on layers during your cruise.
- When visiting the quaint wine villages during the harvest season, you may want to bring a leakproof wine bottle protector for packing up that souvenir bottle of Riesling or Spätburgunder that you may never find in your wine shop back home.
Awe-inspiring Christmas Markets filled with mouthwatering seasonal delicacies and elaborate holiday décor draw many of us to Europe in the winter.
- Doubling-up is my #1 packing rule for winter travels – especially for our active excursions. Fleece-lined tights and an extra pair of weatherproof wool blend socks to go with thicker soled boots will ensure maximum coziness and better grip while on the go. Wear the boots on the plane so they don’t take up valuable baggage space. Past guest Sharon F. strongly recommends the Cuddl Duds brand of tights and socks.
- Prevent the brisk air from drying out your skin with a good moisturizer with SPF protection. Pro-tip: It’s important to stay hydrated so enjoy our complimentary 24/7 hot beverage station as well as our daily afternoon tea and Gem Infused Water station.
- With a combination of touchscreen gloves and cashmere scarves and hats, cashmere offers maximum warmth with minimum weight, the coldest weather can’t stop you from taking endless photos of castles and fairytale villages. When you pack to come home, you can use your winter accessories to protect your hand-painted ornaments from the Christmas Markets from places such as Strasbourg, France or Budapest, Hungary.
- Pro tip: Leave most of your jewelry at home or on the ship as your scarf and hat will be your most fashionable accessories ashore.
The joy of cherry blossoms, brightly colored tulips, birds tweeting and excellent weather for hiking and biking makes spring a spectacular season to visit Europe.
- Fold-up daypacks, crossbody purses or tote bags that can hold any of your allergy medications, insect repellant, packable weatherproof outerwear or small binoculars. Perfect to have to gaze at the Netherlands’ tulips or the cherry blossom blooms along the Danube and Rhine in the springtime.
- Your workout outfit that can be used for a sunrise stretching class on the Sun Deck and a hiking and biking excursion all in one day.
- Layering with a wrap or shawl keeps you cozy on the plane as well as for cooler evenings or to cover up for sunny days.
- Pro tip: Add to your AmaWaterways collection with a scarf that we gift you during your cruise.
- Moisture-wicking layers and hats.
- With summer being the sunniest time of the year to visit the Danube and Rhine Valley, two must-haves are sunglasses and small bottles of sunscreen to pop in your day pack.
- Pro tip: Beauty products with SPF can save even more space in your luggage.
- Don’t forget your swimsuit to enjoy our sun-deck pool but you can leave your matching cover ups behind as we have a plush robe and slippers ready for your use.
- A light weight hooded rain jacket is always a good idea even in the summer months.
All Season Round Travel Items
- 2-Prong European Travel Plug Adapter for your electronics (e.g., smartphones and iPads). There are several USB outlets in the staterooms.
- Carry-on bag, with two outfits, phone/iPad (with charger) and medication as a precaution for any travel delays
- Compression socks and shawl for flights, it will come in handy to ward off the chilly airplane air-conditioning.
Browse all of AmaWaterways’ unforgettable itineraries that are available throughout the year at AmaWaterways.com. To book your river cruise contact your AAA Travel agent at AAA.com/Travel or 800-874-7317.