I don’t know about you, but even though it’s August, it still feels very much like summertime. (And technically it is!) I’ve got several weekend city breaks around Europe planned for the remainder of my summer, so thought I’d share some of the favorite things I’ve been running around with. It’s a bit of a funny list but that’s probably because I’ve had a strange summer with trips everywhere from Thailand to Poland.
What makes summer such a good time to travel anyways?
Maybe it’s the sunshine. Or the good weather. But for me, summer is just such an easy time to pick up and go away. With many thanks to childhood, summertime is essentially the ultimate symbol for freedom. Travel and freedom are seemingly strange bedfellows, but when you stop to think about it, it makes lots of sense. Those lucky enough to travel far and wide have a special sort of freedom — the ability to wander, to get lost, to see new things, to experience the world. It’s an amazing feeling and one that aligns well with summertime — a time for many freedoms.
And if the video below (produced by the handsome men of The Buried Life and the millennial-friendly Contiki group) has any effect on you whatsoever, you just might find yourself booking a last-minute summer holiday. I thought I’d booked all my travel plans for the rest of the year already, but this video has convinced me to add a few more weekend breaks onto the list…
A Summertime Packing List
The following are my tips on what to pack for your typical (and perhaps, atypical) summer holidays.
Shoes and the socks that fit them
A good pair of shoes is essential for any type of trip, but summertime always presents its own obstacles. During my summer travels, I’ll usually pack a pair of sneakers, maybe some loafers and flip-flops. When wearing shorts or rolled-up trousers, it’s important that your shoes work with the outfit. I’m often lazy and wear the same socks I’d usually wear, but it’s a good idea to travel with short socks during summer. Or pack loafers which are a decent shoe for sockless days (according to Esquire). Alternatively, you can always go completely sockless with some shoes! Something called a “Bamboo Shoo” recently appeared on Kickstarter and the idea’s intriguing: an odor-eliminating shoe insert. Ultimately, that Kickstarter failed but I’m sure there are other similar products or ideas out there somewhere…. Get Googlin’!
Naturally, during warm weather a swimsuit can be especially handy for beach holidays. But they’re also good to pack no matter if there’s a nearby beach. Berlin has lakes, Paris has its’ beaches along the Seine and countless hotels have their pools and saunas. You never know when you might need a swimsuit! Since living in Germany I’ve adopted the European style of swimsuits (ie, they’re pretty skimpy). Besides being rather sexy (check my Instagram, folks!), they’re also quite economical when it comes to saving space in your luggage. I’ve got a pair from Italian label Calzedonia which I’ve been particularly fond of this summer.
Plenty of pairs of headphones
Whether you’re sitting by the pool or on your way in an airplane, headphones are a necessity year-round. Nothing’s worse than leaving for a trip without headphones so I always make sure I keep a pair or two hidden away in my suitcases for when I forget. I also received a pair of Meze Headphones from a Romanian designer early in the summer. Their sleek design mixing beech wood with the white cable makes them a simple but stylish choice for the beach.
A hammock for unexpected leisure time
A hammock might seem like an odd choice to pack, but depending upon where you’re going and what you’re planning to do, they can actually be a huge lifesaver. If you’re visiting somewhere like Thailand or India, and planning to stay at a cottage on the beach, I definitely recommend brining your own hammock. You won’t know how badly you want one until you get there! They’re also great for festivals where you might need to camp. Trust me: bring a hammock and you’ll suddenly be a superstar and you’ll be able to make fast friends! I received an Eagles Nest Outfitters hammock to trial this summer and it’s been useful even in my local park. I just set it up between two trees and am suddenly the star of my neighborhood!
An umbrella for rainy days
Anyone who has visited Northern Europe during the summer will know this tip already. For some reason, during summertime, many cities seem to get regular showers and thunderstorms. Maybe they only last 20 minutes or maybe it’s all day, but summer in Europe does not 100% guarantee sunshine. Pack an umbrella!
Some people might suggest fancy sunglasses brands but honestly when I’m traveling, I usually bring a few random pairs. I’ve gotten free sunglasses at various events, or had to purchase cheap ones at the 7-11 when I’ve forgotten them, so I’ve got a random collection of sunglasses of varying quality. Just like my in-ear headphones, I keep a pair always packed away in one of the pockets of my luggage so I can never really forgot them.
Portable outdoor speaker
One of the favorite things I’ve been traveling around with this summer is my UE Boom speaker. It’s a 360º portable outdoor speaker and it can get very loud! Especially because if you have more than one of them, you can sync them up to get surround sound. I’ve used this when going to the beach with friends because then we can each take turns synching the speaker to our iPhones (it’s magic or Bluetooth or something).
And, of course, a good book!
I’ve struggled finding a good book this summer but that’s mainly because I’ve been so unfocused. I usually opt for whatever English-language books I can find at a flea market abroad, but nothing I’ve read this summer has really stood out. But I’ve also re-read a few of my favorite books. Books like Perfume: Story of a Murderer, Nick Hornby novels, The Beach, Life of Pi or Game of Thrones make for great beach reads, but I’m sure there are newer novels out that are entertaining. I’ve just missed them this year. So, what are you reading that’s particularly good??