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Pre trip packing for Christmas River Boat Cruise - ready to go in 35 days!!

I have been stressing about packing for cold/winter weather. I have always gone to Europe from March to Aug trips. It has been challenging to decide what to bring. I went to shop today for some advise on packing (Elephant Trunk in Tulsa). I took their packing light class a couple of months ago. Very helpful and sales associate was so helpful also. My issue has been taking these snow boots to keep warm. This was too funny...... I took my RS 20" rolling suitcase, boots and few items and she showed me how to pack everything including those darn boots (not uggs but like them) in that suitcase. I came home and decided on some items. It worked!! 2 jeans, 3 leggings, two dresses/long tops to go with leggings, 7 3/4 sleeves tops for jean and leggings, 9 undies, 4 socks, 2 bras, windbreakers, BOOTS, ballerina type slippers, gloves, my running head band and cowl scarf, foam roller for my legs, cuddle dud top, longer scarf, compression bags for returning home to swish clothes down, don't tell Rick Steves tote bag. I have a few more items (sleep clothes, swim suit for hot tub) and ?? to put in and I still have room!!. 21.5 lb. Have not gathered up electronics and other items for my tote/backpack bag yet. My goal is to not have any checked bags! I don't think my fellow trip members are not taking this pack light approach seriously. LOL. They will be sorry!!

Posted by
23464 posts

How long are you going to be gone?

Posted by
1019 posts

I forgot to add that. :) 13 days which includes travel days. Prague, Nuremburg, down thru Austria and ending up at Budapest.

Posted by
14244 posts

Glad you are doing a test pack! I am not sure if you want comments on your selections or not...!!

I would cut 3 of the shirts and 2 of the leggings (I know they don't take up much room!). Are you taking more than one windbreaker? Is this in addition to a winter coat? I would also would wear the boots on the plane so you don't have to pack them even though you have done a great job of getting them in the suitcase!

I hope you will post a Trip Report when you come back. I want to do a Christmas Market cruise!

Posted by
5697 posts

This may just be me, but last winter (Austria and Germany) I packed a few sleeveless tops to wear as first layer -- and had to strip down to that layer in overheated restaurants / museums on occasion. Will you have another warm layer under the windbreaker? I wore a big parka on the plane so it wasn't a packing problem; boots on feet knit cap and gloves in parka pockets.

Posted by
3992 posts

We sometimes look ridiculous showing up at the airport (LAX) on a warm sunny winter day dressed in long pants, coats and boots but that's how we travel to colder climates while trying to save room in our suitcases. We wear our bulkiest and heaviest items over and back.

Posted by
15673 posts

I wore thermal tops and bottoms to keep warm, even under jeans. I would add more socks, especially thick ones, rain gear and warm hat (or buy one there).

Posted by
7446 posts

Now you can relax & not stress! : )

If your electronics, etc. take more room than anticipated, you could drop a couple of tops; otherwise, you're good. I took two pair of cheap grocery store tights to wear under pants during cold/rainy mountain days, and that extra layer really kept me warm.

Posted by
115 posts

Can I ask a question? We are doing this same type tour on Viking in 54 days. This is our first river cruise and I was wondering if a dressy outfit is needed for dinner? Any guidance on that from your tour company? I'm happiest in jeans, sweaters and hiking boots, but I thought this trip might require nicer clothing.

Posted by
1311 posts

I took a Grand Circle river cruise 14 months ago from Amsterdam to Vienna, and while it wasn't winter weather it did rain every day but one, so I was happy to have layers to work with. (Remember to pack an umbrella and a warm hat.)
I also did laundry in the room and hung it to dry in the bathroom, which included a pull-out clothes line over the shower. It was necessary to keep the bathroom door open to have some air circulation, but most things dried either over-night or during the day when I was out of the room anyway. So you really could eliminate at least one pair of leggings and a number of tops. (I find that the innermost layer needs to be washed the most frequently as it protects the sweater or other garment from odors.)
The ship also offered laundry service, but it was something like 2 euros per piece so I passed. But if I had needed to wash my jeans I would have paid it happily to avoid needing to pack a second pair.
Sounds like a fun trip -- have a great time and be sure to report back on how the packing and cruise went for you and your friends!

Posted by
1019 posts

I took out 1 top, leggings, dress. So my clothes are good to go. Everything will be worn at lease twice and some three times. Got warm socks, scarf, gloves, head band, insoles fit in boots, down jacket that will work well and will squish up in its small pouch and double as my pillow on the plane. Still plenty of room in my suitcase and will take a RS bag as my second carry on and day bag. All is looking well!!. Lynne - this is an Amaway Christmas river cruise down the Danube (day after Thanksgiving). 13 days we will be gone. From all I have hear, read, and saw a video, this is very casual affair. There is a nice dinner at the end of the cruise. I am just taking a casual dress that can be worn with leggings and will probably wear twice. I think I will be plenty warm because I am extremely hot natured!! Only part of body that gets cold is my upper part.

Thanks all.

Posted by
9855 posts

ah, the Elephant Trunk. Didn't know they did travel classes! Cool. I was in Utica Square when I was home just a couple of weeks ago, but didn't stop in there. Hope you have a great time on your Christmas markets cruise. I used to live in Budapest and miss it a lot. you should have a great time!

Posted by
982 posts

We did a Christmas Market River Cruise on the Danube with Tauck 2 years ago . . . one of the best vacations ever and we have already booked another one for 2016 on the Rhine. We found that the thin Merino Wool Socks worked much better than thick socks, they are more comfortable in boots, they take up less room in luggage, and our feet were NEVER cold with Merino Wool and boots (husband wore Keen waterproof above ankle sneakers). No one dressed up for dinners . . . it wasn't like other cruises we've been on where people do tend to dress up . . . we really liked the more casual dinners and not having to pack dressy things and extra shoes. We also didn't take jeans as they are heavy and if they get wet with snow/rain - they take forever to dry. Husband took travel pants from TravelSmith or Exxoficio and I took mostly black, not leggings, but similar with CuddleDuds as an under layer. We found the pre and post stay hotels, museums, restaurants to be HOT . . . we were so afraid that we would be cold in Europe in December - so we were shocked how HOT they kept things. Every time we walked into our pre and post hotels, we were sweating pretty quickly. Don't forget, they sell amazing scarves in Europe, so you really may only need to pack one - as I LOVE buying them over there for a very reasonable price. We did take an empty duffle on the way over and filled it with dirty clothes on the way home and checked it and one of our RS 20in bags (so be prepared to possibly check a bag each for free coming home if you are like us and buy things) . . . you will buy LOTS of stuff, some very fragile, so plan on room for purchases - we found our RS 20in rolling bag and RS Euro BAG (we each took the 20in rolling bag and Euro Bag) perfect for purchases (and we love the RS Hide-Away tote to carry around during the day for purchases . . . I actually had it full of ornaments and gifts as one of my carry ons on the way home, my RS Euro Bag was my 2nd carry on coming home). You will love the markets. . . Nurnburg was one of our favorites --plus, they have the best organic sausage and gingerbread).

Posted by
7 posts

Hi Kprater24

I am leaving for Vienna Budapest November 18 for 14 days. my list
2 cashmere sweaters ( can wear more than once)
1 sweatshirt
3 long sleeves
2 cordroy leggings
2 cotton leggings
2 landsend thermasking pants/tops to go under clothes
1 pair of jeans
2 pajama sets
4 pair of excifficio travel underwear. (these are nice you can wash and will be dry in the morning
4 pair of smart wool socks
1 pair of flip flops when you get out of shower
cosmetics all travel sizes/ makeup bag goes in carry on with camera & ipad my skechers slip ons, meds
on the plane
will wear leggings & sweatshirt put gloves & hat inside my LLBEAN coat use as a lumbar support. once on plane I take off my UGG boots and put sketcher slip on shoes on
all this inside Rick Steves bag that I push the air out of

I also put in bottom of carryon my duffel bag that zips up an when open expands. on return flight i put clothes in that & check it in so I can put gifts in my carry on..

if someone sees I left something out I should pack let me know

Happy travels to you