Between last summer and this summer, I have traveled to Europe in the summer twice. Each time I go, I discover something I wish I had known before. I am going to share with you some tips that I think will help you enjoy your experience a bit more.
1. Bring earplugs – You may be asking, what?! Many hotels and most apartments in Europe do not have air conditioning. This means sleeping with the windows open for air circulation and cooling. It also means hearing everything that goes on outside! Usually I am fine once I am asleep, but if it is noisy outside while I am trying to fall asleep it won’t happen.
2. Layering clothes – Currently, I am sitting in Paris where the temperature is about 60° F. Last week the high during the day was around 82° and very humid. Bring clothes to layer. Yesterday is was overcast the whole day and I was chilly at some points. I usually bring cardigans and scarfs to help layer. This way I can remove them easily.
3. Changes of shoes – This may also seem like a given to you, but I see tourist walking around in the same shoes day after day. If your feet start to hurt, you may need a different pair of shoes. This is especially true if you have developed blisters. Your feet will appreciate the change and hopefully get some relief.
4. Lightweight suitcase – Between hauling your suitcase on public transportation and climbing the stairs in hotels or apartments, you need to have lightweight suitcase. I don’t mean that you have to pack light, but that your suitcase should weigh very little empty. I have a 25″ lightweight suitcase that weighs less than 7 lbs empty. I definitely noticed a difference this year when I went to lift it on and off the Paris Metro. My apartment also does not have an elevator and every ounce made a difference. Some smaller hotels may also not have elevators or you may have to go up one flight of stairs to get to it, as was the case in my hotel in Istanbul.
5. Patience – Summer is the busiest time to travel in Europe, so you need patience. Probably because kids are out of school. Yesterday the line at the Louvre was an hour wait! You can get around lines in some places, but not always. Make sure you have a cool drink and something to entertain yourself if you are stuck in a line. Also, realize that many tourist sites will be crowded. Go early in the morning or right at opening time when crowds might be less.
What are your tips for traveling to Europe in the Summer?