Packing for Travel

When Packing for Travel in Europe, remember three things; travel light, take local transportation when possible, check with locals for best places and weather and yes, WiFi is available in most locations.  I’ve even heard of travelers leaving their laptop at home and roaming around with their iPads.

Following are some great packing for travel tips:

Roll your clothes: Instead of folding your clothes, which tends to take up a lot of room in your suitcase, roll your clothes.  You’ll be able to bring along many more items in the same amount of space and it also helps reduce wrinkles.

Divide your valuables as you’re packing for travel: A better way to carry valuables, especially the financial items, is to have them in separate travel bags.  So, if something like your credit card is lost, you’ll have a backup card in another bag to use — you’re not stuck.  For cash, an inconspicuous money belt may be a great option.  You’re going on vacation to relax, not to have to worry about losing your financial means or your passport.

Use travel-sized toiletries: Airlines have become very restrictive in what you can and can’t bring on board.  For instance, carry-on liquids must be less than 3 ounces, no sharp objects, etc.  Check with your airline or travel agent before leaving, as these requirements change periodically.  Unless you must, get your toiletries when you get to where you’re going.  Don’t worry, there will be super markets or drug stores.

Heaviest on the bottom: Pack your heavy items, such as toiletries, on the bottom so you won’t be smashing all your clothes, while you’re rolling your bag through the airport.

Take one carry-on bag: If at all possible take one carry-on bag with rollers, or one you can carry as a backpack or over your shoulder. It’ll make your jaunts through airports, other stations and walks between destinations much more comfortable.

When packing for travel, bring along comfortable clothes and shoes; you may want to take some walking tours, or explore an area on foot, and Austria has plenty of opportunities for both.  If you must bring along an appliance such as a hair dryer, remember that you’ll need an adapter for the electric outlet.

Remember as you’re packing for travel; pack light and comfortable – after all, you want a relaxing vacation with a minimum of hassle.  Austria, with its natural beauty, is a great place to decompress and just enjoy the spectacular scenery, the music, the cafes, the architecture, the pastries, the…

Check out  Air Travel Tips and get some insights on what you may need to consider before embarking on your journey.

I’m sure we missed several very useful tips and invite you to share your “aha” moments and travel tips.

Austrian Customs and Traditions

Austrian Customs and Traditions vary according to the region you’re in. Not everyone in Austria walks around in Lederhosen or a dirndl (close fitting bodice combined with an apron in a different color), although various traditions and celebrations are an integral part of Austria.  Yet, go outside of the main cities  such as Vienna, Graz and Salzburg, and the country becomes fairly rural, with small communities, which traditionally were and are resistant to cultural change.

Austrian festive tracht man with ledderhosen and lady with dirdl

Lederhosen and dirdl

 

Traditions Steeped in The Past

As a result, many old traditions and customs survive.  Some of these date back to Celtic and Roman times, others were introduced by Bavarian and Slavic people.

A major influencing factor was the rule over the area by Charlemagne and the introduction of Christianity to the region.  This subsequently evolved into the inclusion by the Church of old pagan customs into its own mythology, which ensured the preservation of older customs and tradition and has led to Austrians retained a strong sense of celebration, rituals and symbolism, resulting in many colorful and varied festivities.

Traditions Still Carried On In Daily Lives

An area rich with these traditions is eastern Tyrol and the Salzkammergut, a very picturesque region shared by Salzburg, a good portion of Upper Austria and Styria. Here one of the most colorful customs is the “Glöcklerlauf Procession” put on every year on the 5th of January. Groups of men dressed in white meet at nightfall, wearing broad leather belts with heavy bells and colorful elaborate lanterns on their heads, which are works of art in themselves, tour the streets of the villages. The procession is to shed light during the dark winter months and to bring luck for the new year.

These older rituals carried over from pagan times are intertwined with others that originated with the Catholic church and celebrate the goodness of Christ and giving.

Regional Tracht

Another tradition you’ll find displayed, especially in these rural communities, is the local tracht (costume), which may be worn on occasions such as weddings, fests and celebrations. In earlier times, the ‘tracht’ identified a person as belonging to a particular group in terms of social and legal status (married, single), origin or trade. Today, you will still see ‘tracht’ being worn with pride in many places, especially the Salzkammergut and other rural communities, although perhaps without some of the meaning of the past.

Tracht worn on special occasions or when ever, very prominent in the Salzkammergut region

Locals in Their Tracht Having a Good Time

The regional varieties are pronounced and vary in color combinations, accessories and may include unique hats for men as well as women. For men the typical dress includes the Lederhosen (leather pants), wool socks and rustic shoes, and for women it is the dirndl, which is a tight fitting bodice with a different color apron.

Austrian Carnival?

Another popular celebration is Fasching (carnival time), which is the period between Epiphany and the beginning of Lent. Then there is the Christmas season, which is celebrated with much pageantry, glitter and light, especially in the larger cities.

Combine the majestic scenery with Austria’s musical heritage and you have a whole world to discover and enjoy in Austria. Check out the Summer Music Festivals in Austria, a tradition which you’ll find throughout Austria come summer.

A region full of those costumes and traditions is the Salzkammergut. Check it out.

If you have your own memorable experiences with Austrian traditions or celebrations that you think others may enjoy learning about, let us know and we’ll post it.

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