Packing for a Vacation in the Alps
"Any successful journey begins by packing your luggage full of imagination" --Kathrine Palmer Peterson.
This packing list will be a great start for your planning and packing for your Christmas in Switzerland Tour. If your travel plans involve more strenuous hiking or trekking, on a trip such as the Haute Route or an inn-to-inn walking tour, you'll want to refer to either our Alps Hiking or Trekking packing list, which are designed specifically for hikers and trekkers in the Alps. If you are going on a snowshoeing tour, you can find our Winter Hiking Packing List here.
But even if you're not planning on doing some serious hiking on your vacation in the Alps, you can still expect to be outdoors and doing some walking, although not on mountain trails, so packing the right items will enable you to have a more enjoyable trip. For train travel and walking around towns and villages, the key is casual comfort. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes that are easy to pack and wear, and wash if needed. In the evening we'll be eating dinners in the hotel or at restaurants around town. You may want to wear something other than what you've been wearing during the day, but is still casual and not really very dressy. While we make some specific recommendations below, your own personal preference, experience, and comfort-what works best for you-is ultimately the most important factor in deciding what to bring. This page includes affiliate links.
We recommend that you choose your shoes carefully, with proven comfort and good traction being your prime consideration. A good quality tennis shoe or low-cut hiker is a good choice.
A small daypack is ideal for walking around villages, taking on excursions, or even on a walk from one village to another. In it you can carry a water bottle, snacks, a camera, or maybe even a fleece or rain jacket to put on in case there's a change in the weather.
I wish we could say this isn't really needed, but good lightweight rainjacket can make the difference between a miserable day and an enjoyable personal triumph. While we've long recommended waterproof-breathable (Gore-Tex) type raingear, some manufacturers make lightweight raingear using other fabrics.
When selecting clothing think about dual-purpose clothes and about layering for warmth and keeping dry. It is better to have several layers you can take off and put on one at a time versus one heavy layer.
- 1 daypack (to carry water bottle, snacks, camera, and jacket)
- 1 pair of sturdy walking shoes with good traction, preferably waterproof
- 1 rain jacket or umbrella
- 1 mid-weight fleece sweater or fleece vest
- 1 mid-weight jacket (it does get cooler at the higher elevations)
- 5-6 shirts
- 3-4 pair pants
- 4-5 pair socks
- 1 pair extra shoes for wearing at end of day and in town
- Casual dinner attire
- 1 water bottle
- Sun glasses
- Personal toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, sun screen, lip balm. Most hotels have hair dryers. Laundry soap for hand washing clothes at hotels
- Knit hat for cold weather or headband to keep your ears warm on high elevation mountain excursions
- Warm gloves
- Alpenwild luggage tags that we mail to you before your trip--necessary if on guided tour
- Hand sanitizer and/or wet-wipes
- Camera, iPad, Kindle
- 1 pair lightweight gloves
Your trip leader will carry the following items which are available for your use throughout the trip:
- First aid kit (Small, and stocked primarily with anti-inflammatories, bandages, and moleskin)