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taking a coat?

I'm trying to pack light, but what with gifts for family we are visiting, all my RS guides, and some actual clothes, things are getting tight.

So here's a question: Do I really need to take a coat (or sweater)? Travel dates: June 20-July 25. Locations: Barcelona, Liguria & Como, Colmar, Bruges & Dublin.

I don't get cold easily--grew up in San Francisco, lived in Alaska and Oregon. In fact, I suspect I'll have more trouble with the heat. And it would save room.

Should I gamble?

Posted by
10240 posts

You can always buy a coat if you need one.

Posted by
850 posts

I don't get cold easily, but planes, especially overseas/overnight are always cold. I would be wearing a light fleece on the plane, which would likely suffice for your itinerary.

Posted by
2310 posts

What gifts for RS guides? They don’t expect any so don’t. If aircraft AC does not bother you than don’t take one. Sweatshirts are cheap and plentiful so if Dublin turns cold just buy one.

Posted by
9409 posts

You do not need a coat, but maybe a very light windbreaker. As others have said, you can buy something if you need more. Dublin is probably the most likely to be cooler.

Posted by
2941 posts

I would bring a light rain jacket. It takes up barely any space and makes a big difference when the rain starts. I agree, RS Guides do not expect gifts. You can leave those at home and bring the coat

Posted by
145 posts

Alan & Carol,
I didn't mean gifts for RS guides. I meant gifts for family...and the RS books/guides that I'm taking with me (one for each country). Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by
1827 posts

I also take a very light weight gain jacket wear it on plane and if it gets chilly somehow it warms me up enough. I think the poster meant gifts for family and her RD guide books not gifts for the guudes. Could be wrong though. I would not take the guidebooks just pertinent info from each one.

Posted by
1827 posts

Looks like we posted at exact same time!!!

Posted by
145 posts

Gail,
I'm taking the books because, to be honest, I haven't read all of them yet and I figured that two long flights (Portland/Boston, Boston/Barcelona) would be a perfect time to dig in.

But I am ripping them apart as I go and leaving them in each country as I depart.

Posted by
279 posts

Traveling with guide books is one of the things that Kindles or Kindle apps are made for!

Posted by
145 posts

Mike,
I'm an old fashioned gal. Technology is a tool, and I leave my tools home when I go on vacation.

Posted by
16759 posts

I would not travel to Bruges or Dublin without some sort of warm layer (I use fleece) as well as a waterproof rain jacket. I'm in SW France, and I have had a lot of very cool mornings and haven't seen much blue sky over the last 3 weeks. I am, however, quite cold-natured.

Posted by
1878 posts

I think some kind of jacket is in order, certainly not a winter coat. I always put my jacket in my carry on, but if you are going carry on only you could just carry it separately on the plane.

Posted by
2680 posts

I'm a merino wool cardigan woman myself. I most likely also had a waterproof rainjacket as well. I recall needing rain jacket in Colmar with the sweater under it the next day at the castletop shrouded in fog....that was in early August. What about a long sleeve Tshirt and compact windbreaker?
Cut the books down before you go.

Posted by
11153 posts

I always wear my coat onto the plane (assuming it's not cold enough to actually need before that point), then fold it and put it in the overhead on top of my suitcase. I've never had a problem with this.

Posted by
3355 posts

I always pack my lightweight Columbia rain jacket. I use it on the plane to stay warm, so I can sleep. Sometimes I haven't needed it during a trip, but I'd rather bring it, so that I can keep going if we run into a rainy day. Mine folds up very small. I wouldn't bother with a sweater.

Posted by
1168 posts

An unlined rain jacket is critical. A light sweater of thin or medium gauge doesn’t take up much room.

I’d suggest tearing apart the guidebooks at home if you are that pressed for space.

I’d also note that it will feel colder after you’ve been out in the heat. And wet and damp feels colder than dry cold.

Posted by
2860 posts

Dublin is famously cool and rainy. I just looked on a weather site, and it was showing temps down into the low 50’s or even lower at night. Any of your other destinations could also have rain. For sure you should have some kind of water repellant jacket. If you get too cold in Dublin, Irish wool sweaters are easily acquired and make a nice souvenir of your trip.

Posted by
2360 posts

I just got a great water-resistant jacket(Magellan Voyager II) with hood and many pockets for use on the plane and to replace my rain jacket. Except for summer trips to places that are notoriously warm, like Greece, Southern Spain and Southern Italy, I always take at least a small sweater from Target and add silk long underwear if going to a place like Scotland that could be cool in summer. Of course, 50 feels cold to me!

Posted by
3536 posts

Take a windproof waterproof jacket with hood for poss Brugge and definitely Dublin.

Posted by
1507 posts

If you're from PDX, you probably have a lightweight, unlined waterproof jacket (or two or three). I'd take it, especially for Dublin (they can have four seasons in one day, even in summer). I'd also take a lightweight cardigan (use on plane, cooler evenings in some places you're visiting).

As for the guide books, you have just enough time to head to FedEx/Kinkos (at least 10 locations in Portland) to make smaller business of your books. Have them slice off the bindings of the guides, then you can remove the pages you don't need (including the photo pages at the front, indexes, intro/travel skill pages, etc.). Have Kinkos punch and spiral bind what is left over - given the number of locations you're traveling, you can group into a couple different books. If you still want to toss pages as you go, then it's easy to rip out the pages.

Posted by
1216 posts

One of those light puffy down or down alternative coats that can fold up into its own pocket doesn't consume much space or weight and can be very nice to have in the 30-60F range.

Posted by
3925 posts

I don't get cold easily, but planes, especially overseas/overnight are always cold.

I read this all the time but I always find planes unbearably hot. I often walk down the aisles, especially when the lights are dimmed and see so many people wrapped up in blankets whilst I'm wearing as little as decently possible, I'm definitely not one who feels the cold.

Dublin is the outsider here and possibly Bruges but I wouldn't pack a coat. If you're in Dublin and it starts to rain or is clearly forecast or imminent there will be ample opportunity to take shelter and/or buy a cheap rainproof jacket there.

Posted by
5486 posts

I had the opposite experience to JC's hot airplane. This past May I flew to/from Hawaii from Oregon. Alaska Airlines keeps it cabin cool and doesn't have blankets for the cheap seats. I was happy to have my light jacket on the flight to Hawaii that I kept on the entire flight over the Pacific.

The light jacket stayed packed during my stay in Hawaii, Not even any significant rain. On the return flight, we were offered to check carry-on's free because of the full flight. Since I checked a "souvenir" duffel bag, we gave up our carry-ons since we were returning home. I forgot to pull my light jacket out of the carry-on and suffered on the Pacific crossing flight. Lesson learned is to have a light jacket (or long sleeve heavy shirt) on aircraft with no blankets.

Posted by
3977 posts

The summer hasn’t really got going this year in much of Northern Europe, so you may need an extra layer. Although the sun is strong, the underlying air temperature is much cooler than usual.

Posted by
859 posts

I would bring one of those windbreakers that folds up into a tiny ball because you will very likely need it in Ireland. When I was in Ireland in June it was like 50° and I was very glad I had my windbreaker.

Posted by
3 posts

I would bring a very lightweight raincoat and a lightweight down sweater that packs into its own pocket. Neither adds weight and much space. I would prefer not to spend my time shopping on my trip for essential clothing.

Posted by
82 posts

I’ve been on the verge of talking myself out of a raincoat for France next week and you’ve all talked me right back into it.

Posted by
23 posts

Light layers are the answer! I am packing a cardigan, a light jacket, and a rain jacket for our trip to Scotland/England/Wales. All lightweight, but can be layered up if needed.

Posted by
5486 posts

Spain and the Mediterranean may be warm during summer but cool is relative to hot, especially in an evening breeze. A 20C (68F) evening in a light shirt can feel cool when mid-day temperatures are 35C (95F) and your body acclimatizes to the warm temperatures. And Dublin may feel cold after a couple of weeks in the Med.

Posted by
1216 posts

I just found the perfect travel raincoat at The North Face outlet store. It's Gore Tex coated nylon, folds up in to its own back pocket, and is sold as part of their ultralight product line for runners. Not cheap, even at 50% off- Gore Tex never is- but since I live in a subtropical climate where summer rainy season sees weather cycle between 95F when sunny and 80F in the rain pretty quickly, I'm going to get enough home use out of it to justify the price.

Posted by
70 posts

I ended up buying a really light weight rain jacket in Wales. It was inexpensive and I've taken it on trips to Spain, India, Nepal, and North Carolina. I never found anything like it in California. I recommend buying something in a country that has a lot of rain.

Posted by
4947 posts

A light rain jacket (like the Marmot Precipitate) and either a light cotton sweater, sweatshirt or hoodie, is standard for any summer trip for me. Even if daily highs are warm, the nights and mornings can be cool. Heavier versions of the above for fall/winter. Worn onto the plane and used for pillows, to save luggage space.

Posted by
19 posts

I always, always, always take a lightweight windbreaker jacket. Even if I was going to the Sahara. Always with zippered pockets for secure stashing of phone/wallet/headphones on the plane. Then for places that are over air-conditioned. Or a downpour instead of a plastic poncho. Or to salvage a day with unexpected wind or rain. Or to protect from raging sun. Or chilly nights. The only question is which one to take. I have a breathable Eddie Bauer model for warm destinations that might see a spot of rain and a fully waterproof Helly Hansen where I may have serious rain to contend with.

Posted by
139 posts

Wind breaker/rain jacket, IMO is always a good idea. Dining al fresco at 9 pm can be chilly. And, layer! Take a long sleeve shirt and a cardigan. Something you can adjust. Secret--when we travel off season, a t-shirt or even thermal underwear shirt can work wonders. You may feel like the Michelin man, but it's worth it to not carry a bulky jacket.

Posted by
1478 posts

Yes, one of my travel notes says “do not go without a long-sleeve tee.”

Posted by
9409 posts

Monty is home now... His trip was in the summer. Monty, how did your choices work out?

Posted by
7126 posts

I pulled my lightweight rain jacket out at the last minute last year to save room/weight, spent June 2018 in Paris, and the temps were very warm there - and i regretted it big time as the weather changed the day after i got there to not hot and rainy. Bring something with you.

Posted by
145 posts

Thanks for all the good advice, and yes, I did my trip in June and July--hitting that record heatwave in Spain, Italy and France. I wish there was a solution for the heat that is as easy as a coat for the cold!

However, by the time we got to Belgium and then Ireland, it was cold enough for a light coat. I ended up bring a light Eddie Bauer jacket that folds smaller than my neck pillow. It did the trick. My son didn't bring a jacket, which gave him an excuse to buy a great hoodie in Dublin. Everything worked out.