Cold feet on the road: Tips for freezing travellers

Keeping your feet warm during your holidays can be a challenge. I will tell you about the trickiest situations I have been confronted with and how I solved them.

City trips in winter: Cheaper prices, but colder feet. That’s what city trips in winter mean to me. Over the years, I have learned to manage the weather conditions though. A beanie, gloves, a scarf and a goose down jacket are essential. Warm trousers, possibly long underpants underneath are necessary when your days are spent walking through the streets of a city. Wear thermal socks and make sure, your toes are still able to wiggle inside of your shoes. Otherwise, you are cutting off the circulation which is vital for having warm feet. Use comfortable walking shoes or boots if necessary and fit them with winter footbeds.

Night buses: You never know if you will be complaining about heat or cold in the night bus, before it’s too late. Be prepared and dress in various layers. Don’t wear your sandals. Preferably use comfortable tennis or trekking shoes and have two different pairs of socks in your backpack: a thinner and a thicker one for all eventualities. Ideally, you have a blanket that covers your whole body with you. If not, use a towel or other clothes to cover every part of your body from air condition, open windows or low temperatures.

Places without heating: Some places are lovely to visit during the day, but during nighttime the become nightmares. Due to mild temperatures in Southern Europe, a lot of houses do not have central heating. And although the weather forecast looks appealing, be aware that the outside temperatures at night could be very similar to the ones inside the place you are staying. Ask for extra blankets and have your socks ready for the night. Wear thermal underwear if necessary. My worst memory is of nights in a room where the window was broken in Kathmandu, Nepal. I wore my winter jacket during the night, a beanie, gloves and many layers. But I could not cover my nose and it was red as Rudolph Reindeer`s nose in the morning. Later, I found out that Nepali people sleep under huge blankets – their heads are covered as well.

Caught by surprise: Having been told that Georgia and the whole southern Caucasus region are the summer paradise Russians dream about, I was shocked to be confronted with endless snowfields upon arrival. I had underestimated how mountainous the area actually was. For many reasons, my travel preparations left much to be desired. Amongst others, I packed soon after having been diagnosed with leukemia. I had brought unsuitable shoes and socks. I could cope with my clothes, because I simply wore all of them in layers every day. I remember stepping into ice cold puddles of water after heavy rainfalls close to a famous orthodox monastery. My family went to see the church, while I entered the only shop available, a souvenir shop, in search of something to keep me warm. I found some woolen shepherd socks, rough and huge and really traditional and bought them. They were handed to me in a plastic bag which I tore apart. I sat down in the bar next door and warmed my bare feet at the heating there, massaging them once in a while. I was so cold, I didn’t care whether I was being stared at. When my feet felt a little warmer, I put on the shepherd socks and then wrapped the plastic pieces tightly around it. I was not exactly fashionable, but I had wonderfully worm and dry feet all day long.

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