How to Pack for a Winter Europe Holiday

When I booked a Europe tour for the Christmas season, I was blissfully unaware of the amount of preparation I needed to do. Up until this point, I had visited Europe in Summer often and obviously, less is more because it’s hot and you don’t want to wear too much clothing anyway.

So I assumed that a pair of sneakers and some jerseys would suffice but boy was I wrong! The tour group I used advised me to ditch the sneakers and get waterproof clothing. Apart from the additional cost, I wasn’t budgeting for; I also needed to conduct tons of research of good quality winter products. It was clear by the lack of information available online that I needed to create a guide on how to pack for a winter Europe holiday:

How to pack for a winter Europe holiday:

Snow Boots

It’s freezing cold in Europe. Snow, rain and the whole shebang. Winter in South Africa is milder than most countries around the world. All we need is some cute booties, a coat and we’re all set. In Europe, you need to cover yourself in quality clothing to keep out the snow from seeping through your clothes. I started researching good quality snow boots. It proved to be an absolute pain to find good quality snow boots that didn’t compromise style. (A girl has always got to look good!)

And to make the situation worse, there is limited stock of snow boots for women in South Africa. It hardly snows in our sunny country and the need for snow boots is non-existent. So how do you find pretty (but sturdy) snow boots for your overseas trip? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. If the aesthetics is not of importance to you, then you could go straight to Cape Union Mart and you’ll find a pair there. Make sure the boot you buy has insulation and is waterproof. For me though, aesthetics is of equal importance to quality which makes options more limited and a lot more expensive.

After months of research and trying on shoes and wallowing in my indecisiveness, I finally made a decision. I bought myself a pair of Timberland shoes. Contrary to popular belief, these boots were originally created as outdoor boots before they became fashionable. Timberlands are hardy, waterproof and stylish. If you’re going to buy Timberland boots for Europe in winter then make sure the pair you buy is waterproof, insulated and comfortable. I was happy with my purchase and I am going to continue using them for my future winter adventures.


Waterproof Jacket

Pack at least one waterproof jacket in your suitcase. Depending on where you are going, it could rain and if your clothing lets water get in, then it doesn’t matter how warmly you’re dressed, you will freeze. I found my waterproof jacket from Cape Union Mart while it was on sale. It’s light-weight and compact which makes it perfect for travelling. The K-Way jacket is made from goose down and is 100% windproof, insulates heat and is water-repelling.

The jacket has hidden pockets inside of the jacket which is perfect for hiding any valuables from pickpockets too. The jacket compresses into a little bag which makes packing it in luggage a lot easier too.


Thermal Clothing

Everyone I spoke to recommended thermals. You could wear long thermal tights under your jeans or wear thermal tights under your pj’s to keep warm while you sleep. Wearing thermal tops and tights under my layers made me feel a lot more snuggly and warm.


Essential Extras

  • Scarfs
  • Buff
  • Gloves
  • Sunscreen (yes you can still get burnt in winter)
  • Jeans
  • Thin clothing that you could layer
  • Umbrella
  • Wellies if it’s rainy season
  • Thermal socks

How to Pack For A Winter Europe Holiday

Pro tips on how to Live Your Zoi – European Winter Edition

  • If you have tiny feet (like me), then you should check out Timberland shoes but in the kid’s section. I managed to save over R1000 by buying a size 4 shoe that’s meant for kids. You now have an extra R1000 to spend overseas! Yay!
  • If you can’t find what you’re looking for in South African shops. Why not look online at the stores overseas? E.g. if you’re going to London, buy from a shop in London online and make them deliver to your hotel on a day you will be in London. This could be riskier as you may not get the items in time but they have more variety of winter clothes overseas.

Packing for a winter holiday can be a challenge but I hope this winter packing guide made it easier. If you have more suggestions for packing for the Winter season then leave them in the comments below.



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