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Anyone from AZ traveled to Europe Mid Sept to Mid Oct ?

What has your experience been with their weather? I can't figure how to get enough clothes in a little suite case to keep warm. It was 61 today and breezy and with a long sleeve heavy shirt, tights and heavy slacks I would not have wanted to be outside walking around with out warmer clothes. They talk about Dresses and skirts in Europe, I would Freeze. I am assuming no A/C in Hotel rooms would not be an issue at that time of year?

Posted by
9524 posts

Where exactly are you going in Sept/Oct?

Editing to add there is a big difference between Northern England and Cornwall, for example.

FWIW, we travel summer and winter with the same size case. Layers are the key. What you had on today plus a jacket (heavier in winter) and maybe a tee would be the max I would wear.

Posted by
1171 posts

I hear you! I’m cold at 70 degrees! In order to answer your question about the weather, where in Europe are you planning to visit?

Posted by
1174 posts

I can’t help you with your travel months. I’m only posting to say I feel your quandary. I was in southern Italy in May. It was the coldest, rainiest May since 1958. I packed for AZ Spring thinking the weather would be in the high 70s. It wasn’t. Many days were like Phoenix today. I’d turn the heat on in the hotel rooms to 75* and pull the extra blankets out of the closet just to get warm.

Your post doesn’t say where you are going. Just like AZ (or the US) weather will vary with location. This weather website might help you plan People not from the SW desert probably don’t understand how cold we get when the temperature is below 75*.

Take a couple sweaters so you can wear one while washing the other. Cashmere packs light and layers good. I only took one sweater and a light jacket and wore both many days. I bought a rain poncho halfway through the trip because I couldn’t find a decent one sooner; so take a rain coat. Those little lightweight things from Big Five we wear when it rains don’t last more than a day.

It is possible to pack light to stay warm. Just plan on lots of clothes layers. I didn’t wear the sandals I took (feet were too cold) so I doubt that you’ll need sandals. You won’t need dresses or skirts either. I took leggings and tunics and long sleeve sunshirts. I only wore the two short sleeve shirts I took twice. The pashmina I took did triple duty as a blanket on the plane, a shawl and a neck scarf.

Hope this helps a bit with your clothes planning.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you! As you can tell, I am new at this. I had that info in my topic, but it was too long. I forgot to include it in the body after revising the topic. Leaving Phx around 9/19 > London around 9/24> Paris where 9/26 we will go on a Paris to Swiss Alps Viking Cruise so stops everyday. The trip ends in Zurich. We then have to decide what route to take to see the Swiss Alps between the Morning of 10/7 that will allow us to arrive in Venice for the Rick Steves' Tour 10/9. Others talk of being hot in the upper 80's, LOL that is Spring for us in AZ

Posted by
1174 posts

K, what a great trip you have planned. Congratulations on your retirement!
London in September will be similar to Portland OR where we visited this past September, low 60s and rainy with a few days/hours of sun. As for the rest I can’t say other than the farther south you travel the warmer it will be.

Check out the packing thread. You can use the search function to look for multi-weather packing. Look at the packing lists under travel tips and on the forum. While you may be tempted to pack heavy for the cruise, don’t. You need to be able to carry your luggage London to Paris and on the RS tour.

I suggest not taking jeans because they are heavy and take a long time to dry. I can pack three pair of leggings in the same space as one pair of jeans. Coordinate your clothes so every thing is interchangeable. You’ll feel like you have more outfits. If you must take a dress for the cruise, choose knit with no frills that packs small/light and can be layered with big shirts, sweaters and scarves for variety. I’ve seen a couple posts suggesting puffy jackets since they’re light weight and squish down. Dillard’s had a few on their website a month ago.

Make a list of what you want to take (think AZ winter), test pack, weigh suitcase, weed out excess, repeat process a few more times until you’re happy. Remember to include bath and personal items and shoes. Both take room in your suitcase.

Are you traveling solo, with a spouse or friend? Because my hubby will only wear jeans, t-shirts and sweatshirts, it’s a challenge to get him to pack light. But he won’t travel and can take as much as he wants on a road trip. Keep asking questions. People on the forum are very nice and helpful. Unlike most on this forum, I am not an experienced traveler, but feel free to PM me if I can help.

Sun’s out today, but it’s still cold—65 today and maybe up to 70 this weekend. Haha, we’ll be complaining when the monsoon season hits.

Edit to add:
I took two pairs of shoes to Italy (not counting the unworn sandals). My problematic feet liked the change and if one got damp, I wore the other. Make sure your shoes are broken in before you go. Waterproof shoes in AZ is a foreign concept except my rubber stall mucking boots. Lo (see below) suggested waterproof booties and she will know.

The second thing I added to my revised packing list when I got home after a second sweater was quarter socks. My ankles got cold in the tab socks I usually wear. Wear the brand that is most comfortable for you. I like Wright Socks cool mesh but others like wool.

If you don’t walk much now, start walking to build up your stamina. My SIL and I walked about 10 miles a day on our own and at least 8 miles per day on the RS tour.

Posted by
5653 posts

you should have a waterproof outer layer - i.e., a rain jacket. It can rain anytime, anywhere. And you can always buy more clothes or layers there if you find you need them.

Posted by
394 posts

I am not from Arizona, but grew up in a "warm place" by US standards (southern California) before moving to "cold places" (Chicago, New York) and my parents still live in southern California, so I understand how temperatures that those living in more temperate climates might find very normal/pleasant in late September might be chilly for others.

A couple of pieces of advice:

  • Think carefully about fabrics; warm doesn't necessarily have to mean bulky. I am a man, but I wear lots of merino wool sweaters in the winter (relatively lightweight yet warm). If cashmere was in my budget I'd have more cashmere, which is also warm for how light it can be.
  • In the same vein, I would pack fabrics that deal well with water, i.e. either wool or technical wicking fabrics, and a jacket that deals well with rain. One of the most unpleasant sensations that will make you feel very cold very fast is when it is raining, your clothing gets wet and it doesn't dry quickly. When I travel to Europe I pack exclusively wool socks (thin or thick depending on time of year) which have all served me well.
  • Accessories are your friend. Don't underestimate how even a light scarf wrapped tightly around your neck can help to keep you warm! Sept/Oct is probably a little too early for warm hats and gloves, but had you been going a little later I would have suggested those as well.
  • As others have said, layers. I tend to run warm, so YMMV, but I find in many "cold/cool climates" indoor buildings can get quite warm and stuffy, so you want to be able to adjust accordingly.

And finally, well, if you get too cold I guess you'll just have to try all the variety of coffee, chocolate and other hot drinks abroad! :)

Posted by
8017 posts

You've gotten some good information so far. I always take jeans. They are lightweight and stretchy and can be worn many times between washes. If washed in a washing machine they dry in a day. I haven't tried sink washing them. With such a long trip you will have to plan on doing some laundry along the way. I pack clothes that I can sink wash if necessary and intermittently stay somewhere with a washer. Some hotels can do your laundry for you for a fee. It's something to think about.

I'll be in Europe from early September until November. I get cold very easily. I plan to take a packable down jacket, a packable waterproof jacket (both from Eddie Bauer), a fleece jacket, a fleece vest and a cardigan sweater for my trip that will span different climates. It sounds like a lot, but I HATE to be cold. I can layer lighter or heavier items under my rain jacket that way.

Have a great trip!!

Posted by
39 posts

Think Jan/Feb in AZ possibly with more rain.

Check out the outlets in Anthem, AZ for lightweight but very warm jackets (Columbia, Northface). Layers are key. Take clothes that can easily mix and match with each other. If you're doing a lot of walking (good walking shoes are a must), you probably won't need as much warm clothes as you think. And if worse comes to worst, you can always buy extra clothes there and ship them home, or leave them behind with a charity. Just some ideas. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
3451 posts

Hi, K. Lo chiming in from Tucson.

The layering advice here is spot on. But sometimes us lizards have a hard time figuring out exactly what that means. I can't wear wool, so that immediately limits my options.

I have been in Europe in cold and rainy weather, spring, summer and fall. I second the advice to research for the places you will be and when. Look at the historical data for the past few years, not just the averages. Then check the forecasts just before you go to get an idea of what to expect.

I'm preparing for an RS Best of Ireland in 14 Days tour in May. I know it will be cold and wet most of the time. Over the past year, I lost a little over 40 pounds, so I need to replace about 90% of my wardrobe (pobrecita, eh?!). I'm doing that with an eye to the Ireland trip.

My formula developed over the years. You'll see lots of similar ones on the Packing forum. Taking more than this results in lugging stuff I don't use. I have carry-on sized baggage only.

These are my basic rules for external clothing:

  1. Pack for a week and repeat.
  2. Wear each garment 3 times before washing.
  3. Do laundry along the way, either using the sink or a laundromat. The latter is preferable because most of the time you'll meet someone to talk to there.
  4. 3 pairs of pants. One heavy, one light and one other. I'm still looking for the other.
  5. Tops get a little fuzzy, depending on where I'm going and when. Regardless of the weather, I like to have 3-4 shirts that I wear over 2-3 tees.
  6. 1 or 2 scarves. Used for coordination and spills. Much easier to wash a scarf than a top.
  7. Comfortable, supportive, waterproof ankle or higher boots with compression socks.

This year's colors are black and olive green with a camouflage twist. These links are to some examples.

"Heavy" LL Bean pants. My jeans substitute. At 14 ounces (I weigh everything) they are 6 ounces lighter than my jeans.

LL Bean camo shirt. 12 oz. Wear over a black or olive tee.

Eddie Bauer travel shirt. 7 oz. I have this in black. Wear over an olive tee.

LL Bean olive long sleeve tee. 7 oz. Might wear this by itself a well as under a shirt.

Camo scarf. 2 oz. Will work with everything.

Abeo ankle boots. 20 oz for the pair. Lace and zip up. Waterproof.

Sockwell compression socks. 2 oz. Help with stamina and keeping feet dry.

I hope this helps. PM me if you have any questions.

Posted by
1529 posts

It’s a great time to travel. I would take one outfit good for Peoria winter weather and your normal early Nov. wardrobe.

Posted by
11929 posts

You picked a great time to travel but you need to be prepared for anything!

We have twice spent a week in London in late September and both times it was warm high 60's to low 70's ) and sunny. No rain or even clouds other than nice puffy white ones here and there. It is my favorite time in London, thanks to this month-long festival celebrating the river:

On one visit we went from London to Venice to spend the whole month of October. It did rain lightly a couple of times, but never got cold enough for me to wear the cashmere turtleneck I brought.

But this year could be totally different. As advised above, you need, at a minimum, a waterproof ( and preferably breathable) rain jacket, an insulating layer such as fleece or lightweight down jacket, a cardigan, and two long-sleeve shirts. Layer as necessary.

I mentioned a down jacket becUse the thinner ones are warm but pack really small. Uniqlo sells one for around $50 and it comes in a nice assortment of colors. They also have merino sweaters at an excellent price. And think about adding a Buff in colors that go with your wardrobe. It is amazing how much warmth this little piece of fabric around your neck can add. And they look nice.

I doesn't have to be an actual Buff; Eddie Bauer and many others sell similar lightweight neck gaiters. I bought a 6-pack of them on Amazon for under $20.

Posted by
11929 posts

She is going in autumn, after the Equinox, so days will get progressively shorter, and it will become dark earlier than it does in Arizona. Even Rome is at a higher latitude than southern Arizona.

Posted by
11929 posts

Since you "run cold", this rain jacket on sale at Eddie Bauer would be a good choice for October. I have one and took it to Japan in November. It is very attractive for City wear; it doesn't look like hiking gear. Not as compact as a one-layer "fold up in the pocket" jacket, but much warmer. Wear it on the plane so it doesn't have to fit in your suitcase.

( I neglected to post the link earlier).

Posted by
1174 posts

Lola, I had to laugh when you said that London was quite warm in September, high 60s to 70s. We were in Oregon two years ago in August. They were having a “heat wave”, high 80s to 90s. We were so happy to see Spring because it was 105+ at home.

Posted by
3451 posts

I didn't mention outerwear in my long response up thread.

I'm not sure which Eddie Bauer rain jacket was previously referred to, but, when they were on sale in the fall, I bought 2 of these 20 oz Rainfoil Packable Jackets, one black and one dark loden. I don't yet know which I'll take to Ireland, but one will definitely go.

A Land's End black fleece like this 14 oz one will go with me as an outer layering piece.

And I might take this 20 oz 32 Degrees Heat Women's Hooded 4-Way Stretch Jacket if the weather forecast warrants it. It's synthetic and water resistant, but not suitable for a deluge. I tried one of the rain jackets on over it and that works well.

A few years ago on one of the forums, a woman confessed that she had obsessed over what clothes to take, but noticed that most of the pictures of her were outside and she was always wearing her coat. Lesson learned.

Posted by
2643 posts

Look at the MVP(Most valuable pieces) thread in Packing. I love the Uniglo Merino sweaters and have ordered the Heatech leggings.

Posted by
1174 posts

Lo, congratulations on your weight loss.

Lola, thanks for the Eddie Bauer links and reviews. Do EB clothes run true to size?