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A Guide to Packing for Different Climates

31 January 2024

Packed suitcase

When it comes to packing for a holiday, it can be tricky to work out exactly what to bring with you. Whether you’re going for a few days, a week or for a longer duration, you want to make sure that you’ve got all that you need for your time away. Whether that’s a case of packing clothing to keep you warm in a cold climate or lighter clothing for a warm climate. 

Of course, there are some travel essentials that you won’t want to forget on any type of getaway, including your passport, travel money/a card you can use if you’re going to another country, etc. But it’s also important that you’ve packed correctly for the weather that you will experience. There’s nothing worse than getting to your destination and realising that you’ve packed inappropriately. 

To help you pack correctly for your next trip, we’ve created a handy guide- with a list of top destinations in cold/warm climates, what to pack for each climate, the best cruise lines that visit these destinations and other useful information. 

Contents:

  1. What to Pack for Cold Climates
  2. What to Pack for an Alaska Cruise
  3. What to Pack for a Baltic Cruise
  4. What to Pack for a Cruise to Norway
  5. What to Pack for a Cruise to Iceland
  6. What to Pack for Hot Climates
  7. What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise
  8. What to Pack for a Mediterranean Cruise
  9. What to Pack for a Canary Islands Cruise
  10. What to Pack for a Middle East Cruise
  11. Top 3 Packing Tips

What to Pack for Cold Climates

If you’re planning on visiting a country with a colder climate, you’ll want to ensure that you’ve packed the right clothing to keep you warm and protected from the weather. Regardless of whether you’ve opted for an Alaskan cruise, an Arctic cruise or a cruise to another destination, packing for the cooler climate is something you’ll want to consider in advance.

Man in Lofoten, Norway
Man in Lofoten, Norway

Here’s what we recommend you pack for the top cruise destinations that are known for their colder climates.

What to Pack for an Alaska Cruise

Alaska is an extraordinary place to cruise from. Boasting awe-inspiring landscapes, amazing wildlife and lots of things to do; whether that be ziplining in Icy Strait Point, whale watching in Juneau or dog sledding in Seward. 

Alaskan Scenery
Alaskan Scenery

Whilst in the spring in Alaska it’s around 5 to 10°C, and summer can reach heights of 30°C, in Autumn, you can expect -2 to 5°C and in winter, -15 to 1°C; depending on whether you’re on the coast or inland. 

It’s often said that May is the best time of year to visit, as it’s the driest and quite mild. September however, is said to be the wettest. Winter in Alaska is typically between November and April and is known for being snowy, with winter storms frequently occurring. 

When it comes to packing for a cruise to Alaska, we recommend that you bring the following in your suitcase:

Top Cruise Lines for Alaska Cruises

What to Pack for a Baltic Cruise

Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki, Finland

Baltic cruises are a wonderful way to see some of the world’s most beautiful destinations, including Copenhagen, Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm. Often known for its snowy winters and mild summers, the Baltic region is the best place to go to discover mediaeval architecture, quaint villages and hearty cuisine. 

The average temperatures of those four destinations are:

Destination 

Spring 

Summer 


Autumn 


Winter 


Copenhagen

3-10°C

15-17°C

5-10°C

0-2°C

Helsinki

-2-4°C

10-17°C

6-10°C

-4 to -6°C

Tallinn

6-11°C

12-18°C

6-12°C

-5-1°C

Stockholm

5-17°C

12-20°C

5-8°C

-2-2°C

When it comes to Cruises to the Baltics, we’d recommend the following packing list:

Top Cruise Lines for Baltic Cruises

What to Pack for a Cruise to Norway

Norway
Norway

One of the most popular cruises on offer is a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords. A route that’s travelled by millions of people each year, the Norwegian Fjords features cascading waterfalls, rugged cliffs, beautiful blue waters and other spectacular scenery. Cruises to Norway visit destinations including the likes of Stavanger, Alesund, Bergen and Alta.

The temperature throughout the year varies hugely between the coastal, northern and inland regions. Stavanger for example, which is located in south-west Norway, has average temperatures of 7-13°C in spring, 12-18°C in summer, 3-11°C in autumn and -1 to 4°C in winter. 

Here’s what we recommend you pack for a cruise to Norway in the most popular cruising months (May-September):

Alternatively, if you’re heading to the Norwegian Fjords for a winter getaway, here’s what you should pack alongside the essentials (socks, walking shoes and sunglasses):

Top Cruise Lines for Norway Fjords Cruises

What to Pack for a Cruise to Iceland

Iceland
Iceland

Iceland has long been a popular destination for cruising due to the huge amount of natural attractions on offer, including the Blue Lagoon, Gullfoss waterfalls and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Þingvellir National Park. Often embarking from Reykjavik, Iceland cruises visit destinations including the likes of Akureyri, Husavik and Djupivogur. 

And when it comes to its climate, Iceland can be unpredictable, with temperatures that can fluctuate from colder to warmer throughout the day. However, due to its close proximity to the Arctic Circle, the average temperatures throughout the year in spring are 1-7°C, in summer 1–12°C, in autumn 5-8°C and in winter 1-2°C. 

If you’re visiting Iceland between May and July, alongside layers of clothing, it’s also recommended that you pack an eye mask. This is because in the summer, the sun rarely sets - giving Iceland the title of ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’. 

Here’s the other essentials we’d recommend for you to pack for a cruise to Iceland:

Top Cruise Lines for Iceland Cruises

What to Pack for Hot Climates

Alternatively, if you’re looking to cruise to a destination that’s known for its warm climate, there’s a different type of packing list that you’ll want to follow. There’s certain destinations that are known for their year-round warm temperatures; these include the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and the Middle East. 

Woman Overlooking Santorini
Woman Overlooking Santorini

Here’s what we recommend you pack for destinations that are known for their warm climate:

What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise

St Lucia
St Lucia

The Caribbean is arguably the most popular cruise destination year round, with temperatures soaring throughout the summer months and warm temperatures in the winter. With picturesque islands to discover, from Jamaica to St Lucia and Grenada, Cruises to the Caribbean are popular with guests of all ages, from families to solo travellers. Accessible via a fly cruise, and often sailing from Florida, there’s also several cruise line private island resorts throughout the Caribbean, including Perfect Day at CocoCay. 

Temperature-wise, in spring, the Caribbean sees average temperatures of 25-30°C, in summer 30-35°C, in autumn, 25-30°C and in winter, 23-25°C. Although there are variations throughout the different islands, the best time to visit the Caribbean is said to be between February and May, as throughout July-November there is often heavy rain. 

Here’s the essentials we’d recommend for you to pack for a cruise to the Caribbean:

Top Cruise Lines for Caribbean Cruises

What to Pack for a Mediterranean Cruise

Capri, Italy
Capri, Italy

Cruises to the Mediterranean  have long been a favourite with families looking for their summer getaway, couples looking for a romantic escape or for those simply wanting to explore some of the world’s most beautiful and historic destinations. From the breathtaking mountains of Croatia to the picturesque Italian beaches, the Mediterranean has so much on offer.

The temperatures you’ll experience whilst on your Med cruise will depend of course, on the time of year and the destinations that you visit. Here’s some of the top destinations that you could visit on a Mediterranean cruise, along with the average annual temperatures:

Destinations

Spring 

Summer 


Autumn 


Winter 


Barcelona

12-16°C

20-14°C

13-18°C

10-11°C

Athens

13-21°C

26-29°C

20-24°C

10-15°C

Palma

15-18°C

22-25°C

23-25°C

15-19°C

Dubrovnik

11-18°C

22-25°C

18-22°C

9-14°C

Lisbon

14-18°C

21-24°C

19-23°C

11-14°C

The summer months in the Med are very busy with families due to the school holidays and warm temperatures. Therefore if you’re looking for a more wallet-friendly, quieter Mediterranean cruise, May, June and September are good times to go.

Here’s the essentials we’d recommend for you to pack for a Mediterranean cruise:

Top Cruise Lines for Mediterranean Cruises

What to Pack for a Canary Islands Cruise

Tenerife
Tenerife

Canary Island cruises offer stop offs in some of the most underrated, yet spectacular destinations, including the likes of Arrecife in Lanzarote, Las Palmas in Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz in Tenerife. With volcanic landscapes, beaches and delicious food, the Canary Islands are an underrated destination that’s waiting to be discovered. 

Another reason to opt for a Canary Islands cruise, is that there are no-fly cruise options, meaning that you can easily get to the Canary Islands from Southampton or another UK port, without having to worry about catching a flight!

Here is the average temperatures in four of the most popular cruise destinations:

Destinations


Spring 

Summer 


Autumn


Winter 

Santa Cruz

18-19°C

21-24°C

22-23°C

17-20°C

Arrecife

19-20°C

22-25°C

23-25°C

17-21°C

Las Palmas

20-21°C

23-25°C

23-24°C

18-21°C

Puerto del Rosario

18-20°C

22-24°C

22-24°C

17-21°C

Here’s the essentials we’d recommend for you to pack for a Mediterranean cruise:

Top Cruise Lines for Canary Island Cruises

What to Pack for Middle East Cruise

Dubai
Dubai

Middle East cruises are a wonderful way to explore this fascinating part of the world. From the remarkable architecture, to its rich history and awe-inspiring scenery, a Middle East cruise will be unlike anything you’ve experienced before. 

Whether you opt for an itinerary that includes Dubai, giving you a chance to experience the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa or head to Muscat in Oman to explore the vibrant Mutrah Souq, there’s so much to see and do in this spectacular part of the world. 

When it comes to the Middle Eastern climate, it’s clear that it’s probably best to avoid travelling there in the summer and autumn. This is because in some destinations, it can reach heights of 40°C. The best time to visit, therefore, is in spring or in winter where you can expect highs of 35°C. 

Here’s the essentials we’d recommend for you to pack for a Middle East cruise:

Average temperatures in the Middle East are as follows:

Destinations


Spring 

Summer 


Autumn 


Winter 


Dubai, UAE

23-31°C

33-36°C


29-33°C

19-25°C

Muscat, Oman

26-34°C

32-35°C

30-32°C

21-26°C

Doha, Qatar

23-34°C

34-37°C

31-34°C

18-26°C

Aqaba, Jordan

19-27°C

31-33°C

26-31°C

14-20°C

Top Cruise Lines for Middle East Cruises

Top 3 Packing Tips

Man Waiting at the Airport
Man Waiting at the Airport

Regardless of where you’re travelling to, these tips will come in handy; helping to ensure you’ve reached your chosen destination with a suitcase that’s packed efficiently. 

Check the Weather in Advance

This might seem like an obvious tip, but that doesn’t mean it’s not essential when it comes to packing. When you’ve got your suitcase out ready to go, make sure you check what the weather will be like in the destination/s you’re visiting. For example, if you’ve opted for a Christmas market cruise in Europe, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve packed warm clothing and comfortable shoes for walking around. 

Look at the average temperature in the destination for the time of year that you’re visiting and pack accordingly. Layering up is a great way of being dressed correctly for wandering around and for being inside a warm restaurant/other building. On the other hand, if it’s a destination that’s known for its blistering heat, make sure that you’ve got light-coloured, light layers alongside sun cream, sunglasses etc. to ensure that you’re kept cool whilst exploring.

Make a List to Avoid Under/Overpacking 

Whilst under packing isn’t usually an issue faced by many, if you’ve done it in the past, you’ll know the struggle it can be when you’re away and you realise that you don’t have enough clean clothes for the rest of your trip. 

By making a list of the different activities you’ll be up to across the number of days you’re on holiday, you’ll be able to pack efficiently- with enough clean clothes for each day, and appropriate clothing for whatever you’re planning on doing. For example, on a cruise you might have a formal night onboard. You’ll want to ensure that you’ve packed smart-casual or formal clothing (depending on the dress code of your chosen cruise line). 

Overpacking is definitely a more common occurrence. And whilst you might initially think you need multiple pairs of shorts or lots of different shoes, it’s likely that when you’re on your cruise, you’ll realise that you actually didn’t need that many things in your suitcase to start with. 

So, when you’re ready to pack, lay out all of the clothes you want to bring with you and consider what is essential, and what you can leave behind. It’s so easy to bring too many clothes with you; but this will result in a heavy and overpacked case that is then difficult to transport. Think about it. Will you want to lug your suitcase across the airport and then to the ship if it weighs a lot? Or are you able to cut down the amount of things that you pack? 

Buy a Lightweight Suitcase

If you’re travelling somewhere that requires a suitcase, consider purchasing a lightweight suitcase. This will help with your weight allowance and to pack more easily for your getaway. 

Book Your Getaway with Iglu Cruise Today 

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