It's travel time in Europe. The kids (and college students) are all back in school and the weather is great in fall. Many adults plan travel excursions for this time of year. Obviously you don't have the extremes in temperatures and it's easier to get around without all the crowds. Many of the destinations and museums still are open extended hours allowing your trips to be chock full of activities.
If you haven't traveled in Europe or other countries there are a few do's and don't as far as you shoes go. Despite the obvious issue of weather, you need to make sure you have an idea about the terrain you are going to be in and how much walking you are going to be doing. You can always check online for info and be prepared. Also many travel books give you an idea what your getting yourself into.
I have traveled quite a bit over the years and, I have to say, I was caught unaware a couple times. There are still places I would like to visit and re-visit and knowing what to expect is SO important.
On a quick, but VERY HELPFUL sidenote:
Travel Books are one of the best tools to help prepare for a trip. I recommend them to people all the time. I think it helps better prepare you for what you are going to see or want to see.
The publisher is DK Eyewitness Travel Books. Why do I like them? They aren't a where to eat and sleep cheap book. The book isn't newspaper print. They have highly detailed and glossy papered maps, cutaways of castles, history and artwork. They also have many formats - if you want a quick guide or more detailed books. In the back of the book we did find a really great B&B in London near Victoria Station when we were there - this is a book you can reference while you are there, read on the plane ride over and keep as a souvenir of all the places you went.
While some of the info will get outdated - most of it will not. I also like that they have a variety of types - some are for very specific cities, the whole country or groups of countries. Don't believe me - check them out for yourself. There are plenty of travel books out there - but I recommend this book series to everyone I talk to.
But I digress - Back to the Best Footwear for Traveling Europe.
WALKING. You will be walking everywhere. As Americans I think we get used to everything being so far apart especially west of the Mississippi that we drive everywhere - that's not how it rolls in Europe. You will be walking miles a day. You need shoes that you can walk in. That being said even though destinations and sites are closer than would warrant driving - there are still big distances that can be a hurdle if you don't have the right shoes.
Don't think you're alone in your suffering, many people pack the wrong shoes. Depending on where you are going - you need a pair of walking shoes - can be a sneaker or a casual shoe. You may want sandals if its still a warm climate. You may want a clog or loafer style if there is going to be a lot of rain. Or finally a boot if trails or hiking is planned.
Not just the Scouts motto - BE PREPARED! - also necessary for traveling.
The ways are paved - mostly - but still it can require a good shoe to do the job. Everyone has different tastes but the key is to buy the shoe well in advance of your trip so you have an idea how it will feel for long hauls. Buying your shoe to break in on a trip is a VERY BAD idea! We have so many shoes that would work GREAT. Visit out our website, desertbirkenstock.com to get an idea of all your options - BUT you need to try on the shoes to make sure they feel good and will work for you. We will help you as best we can to get the right shoe for you. Check out my TRAVEL GUIDE page for best suggestions!
COBBLESTONES. Yes, they are so pretty. Yes, they really give that aged look to a city. Yes, they can be SO DANGEROUS! Uneven paving stones are a tripping hazard. Your shoes have to have a blob bottom - so that heels etc don't get caught in between the stones. Not all streets are like the one pictured but prepare for the worst and you won't have a fall in a foreign country. Not Fun! Dansko has many shoes that fit this bill - from clogs to tennis shoes.
RUINS. Do they start all looking the same? They do. So pick what is really important that you want to see. Again many of the paths will be well worn and even paved but many won't. If you want to get that exceptional picture in front of the Basilica you
might have to get off the path.
Don't forget. Wide bottom shoes allow for you to navigate most terrains without fear of
RAIN. It doesn't rain everyday in Europe, but there's a reason its so green and lush. When we were in Germany it rained about an hour or so everyday day or couple days and then it cleared up. But there's a reason to make sure your shoes will withstand water or lift you out of the water. Walking around in wet shoes - does not make for a great day.
WEIGHT. In all the times I have traveled I think the best lesson I have ever learned is: ONE SUITCASE. It can be heavy - don't get me wrong, I always seem to overpack, but JUST ONE suitcase. Some of the most wonderful places you will stay will not have an elevator. Carrying multiple bags is a hassle and honestly in the end totally not worth it. Learning to pack for your trip - is an essential skill. If you use public transportation at all, you will make your life much easier with only one bag.
I'm not saying - don't have a backpack or some other bag, like an
Healthy Back Bag by Ameribag for all your day to day stuff, but only one piece of luggage is highly recommended. The pockets rock and anyone can carry it. My husband used his as a camera bag and then it was great for our trip to Germany - he carried everything.
There are plenty of lightweight shoes that can be 'shmushed' in your bags pretty easy (like The Lace Up by Arcopedico). I recommend you wear your most cumbersome pair on the flight over so they don't weigh down your luggage or take up any extra room you may want for other things.
That's my two cents on packing your shoes for your trip. There is no right answer. Everyone has different foot needs and fashion sense. Do what works - but make sure you can do a whole day in your shoes BEFORE you arrive and have to make do.