England is enjoying a great bout of weather this summer and although I’m really looking forward to my holiday at the end of the summer in Portugal, I’m also planning my next winter trip.
After visiting Ljubljana and Zagreb in January 2017, I’ve become a huge advocate for the winter holiday. Holiday is not exactly the right word, with the weather in England being generally grim in January, I use a getaway more as a change of scenery and live in hope that my country/city of choice will have a nice crisp winter rather than damp and rainy one.
It can also be really interesting to go to another city during festive periods like Christmas because you’ll experience their traditions and I think it’s much easier to live like a local during these times (as long as you’re somewhere slightly more obscure and not known for tourist hoards). For example, when I arrived in Slovenia, the capital still had their Christmas lights up. This consisted of illuminated sperm, eggs and flying men which was completely bizarre to a prudish English girl.
Obviously people go away to ski and this is a great excuse to go to a new place, but I would really encourage people to break their yearly habits. Why not go to Iceland to experience how truly cold it gets and to see the Northern Lights? Why not go to Amsterdam and ice skate on the frozen canals? Why not have a beach holiday??…. You know they’ll be empty (Ireland is best for this).
My 2019 trip will be to Amsterdam. In any moment of boredom at home I get on Skyscanner and pinterest and research trips. Any return flight that is below £50 I book and figure out how the heck I’m going to afford it nearer the time. Currently stuck between “need to save” and “you only live once”. VERY excited for this trip, I’m going back to University in September so really like the idea of getting a change of scenery, read a little, start an essay if I need as well as seeing museums and a lively city that I haven’t been to!
What I pack:
I learnt some lessons from previous trips, and the first one is to look after your phone. Granted my phones are always old and dodgy but they can really suffer in the extreme cold. Keep it in a sock in your pocket and try not to take it out too much taking pictures etc as the battery will really deteriorate.
Another tip I have is that instead of using your maps constantly to find your way, take some time in your hotel to google the route, screenshot it and just try your best to remember the way so that you can save your phone! It can be hard but it’s also a good exercise in independence and confidence. You may also find you engage more with the city since you aren’t looking down at your phone.
Shoe choice. Can’t even believe this but in 2016 I was walking around the frozen walkways of the Plitvice National Park in Stan Smiths….. Didn’t have any incidences, but my feet were freezing and I think that the Timberlands will be a smarter choice this year.
Sock choice. Wool. In loads of European countries it’s the sort of thing you can pick up at local markets, so a proper pair of socks could also be a nice memento of your trip.
Accessories. With any hats, scarves, gloves make sure they’re weatherproof and light. Nothing worse than than slight dampness the next day, especially if you’re dealing with snow.
Lipbalm. I’m putting this in because I actually get separation anxiety when I’m without my little pot of Vaseline! Obviously lips get chapped in the cold so just don’t let it ruin your day and get some.
So I hope that you all go and do some research on what winters are like in other countries and go and check them out when England just seems a bit grim. For me it’s now become a yearly thing!
Ciao for now x