At the top

This is the perennial question. The more that we look at our itinerary we see that we will encounter extreme differences in weather patterns so the question is, “What and how to pack?”

Lisbon in Portugal will be nearing the end of summer where it will be very warm, so I am told by a cousin who has strong ties to Portugal and spends a lot of time there. That means light weight clothes do what one can to keep comfy when going on walks and doing other tourist activities.

At the top

Light summer clothes

From there we fly 1538 miles / 2475 kms north to Copenhagen where, even though it will also be the last couple of weeks of summer it will be significantly cooler than Lisbon. Away with the summer clothes and on with the autumn ones such as long pants and light jeys. We were in Copenhagen in mid-winter, January 2016, so did not get to see very much due to the minimal daylight hours. What we did get to see, which was a real treat, was Tivoli Gardens, a must for anyone who visits Copenhagen.

Vicky Trevor at the entrance to the Postoinja caves

All wrapped up 

After 2 days in Copenhagen we board our ship to start the cruise to Boston. En Route we travel further north to Stavanger in Norway so I presume that the temp will be a little cooler so we need also to be prepared. Time to open the 2nd suitcase as a jacket will be a good idea, especially as we have arranged to go on a cruise up a fjord for a few hours. This is something we are really looking forward to as, when we were in Norway in January 2016, we did travel on a fjord but it was too dark to really admire the stunning views. What a privilege it is for us to get this 2nd opportunity!

We will have to keep the big jackets out for the next few days as we continue on the cruise going directly west to Lerwick, Shetland Isles and then north to Akueri in Iceland before visiting Reykjarvik in southern Iceland. The difference in Latitude is up to 10deg; Copenhagen 55deg N while Akueri is 65deg N. My guess is that there is a similar difference in temperature so definitely very warm clothing is needed. These include the gloves and beanie should we want to sit on the deck and watch the icebergs float by as we continue on to Qaqortoq, (pronounced cake-a-toc) Greenland. This is something I am longing to see so hope that we do.

It will probably remain rather chilly as we move slowly south to Nova Scotia where we will visit Sydney and Halifax. Over the final 2 days of the cruise we make our way to Boston, Massachusetts where the average temperature in September is 77degF or 25degC so that will be nice and comfortable. Not too hot or too cold and it should be the same in Buffalo, NY. Washington DC, being much further south, is on average 10deg warmer so out will come the summer clothes we last wore in Lisbon. 3 days later we travel west but also where it is warmer until we reach Port Byron in Illinois which will be very similar to Boston.

So as not to bore you with the average weather conditions in all of the places we will visit, I shall leave the comparisons to what is written so far – the first half of our trip but I am sure that you get the dilemma we have as to how and what to pack. One suggestion we have received is one I consider quite a sensible. Instead of packing our 2 individual cases as usual pack one case with the winter clothes and the other with summer ones. If we used this idea for the first week in Lisbon for example, only the case with the summer clothes gets unpacked for the week and so saves time when we pack up to leave. We can then do the same on each leg of the trip making things much easier and organised.

Even though we will be travelling for 97 days, as I have said previously, won’t need too many clothes. We will have opportunities to do laundry, both on and off the ships, so we will take only that which is really necessary. When preparing to travel for more than a week or two it is worthwhile to think and plan well in advance as to whether you will really need a specific item(s). If you believe there is only a vague possibility that you might wear it then don’t pack it. I have found it helpful to keep to one side items of clothing which are maybes and reconsider them after having packed essentials.

Whatever you decide to pack and however it is done, keep these rules:

  1. Check what the weather is usually like at the time when you will be there.
  2. Make sure that you are able to carry and pull your case comfortably.
  3. Check the weight before you go to the airport.
  4. Pack your case yourself for 2 reasons – you know what is where when you need it and you are able to vouch for everything in your care and suitcase. Security at airports and harbours is very strict these days.
  5. DO NOT carry bags or parcels for anyone else, including family and friends, unless you know what is in these

Most important – enjoy discovering new places and people.