Austrians, particularly the Viennese, are dapper dressers. Packing "musts" include at least one nice shirt and sport coat for men and a casual but stylish dress or shirt and skirt combination for women. These will see you through nearly any occasion, from a decent dinner out on the town to a night at the opera. Note that Austrians dress nicely for the opera and the theater. Men should bring a nice pair of dress shoes, because this is a wardrobe staple to which the locals pay particular attention. As a general rule of thumb, the more expensive the shoes, the more respect you're likely to get. High on the list, too, would be comfortable walking or hiking shoes. Austria is a walking country, in cities and mountains alike. And because an evening outside at a Heurige (wine garden) may be on your agenda, be sure to take a sweater or light wrap; evenings tend to get cool even in the summer. Music lovers might consider toting those rarely used opera glasses; the cheaper seats, understandably, are usually far from the action (and standby tickets will have you craning your neck at the back). However, opera glasses are usually available for a modest fee.
If you are heading into the mountains, bring sunscreen, even in winter. Sunglasses are a must as well—make sure that they block lateral rays. Boots that rise above the ankle and have sturdy soles are best for hiking. Consider packing a small folding umbrella for the odd deluge, or a waterproof windbreaker. Mosquitoes can become quite a bother in summer around the lakes and along the rivers, especially the Danube. Bring or buy some good insect repellent.
Shipping Luggage Ahead
Imagine globe-trotting with only a carry-on in tow. Shipping your luggage in advance via an air-freight service is a great way to cut down on backaches, hassles, and stress—especially if your packing list includes strollers, car seats, and so on. There are some things to be aware of, though. First, research carry-on restrictions; if you absolutely need something that isn't practical to ship and isn't allowed in carry-ons, this strategy isn't for you. Second, plan to send your bags several days in advance to U.S. destinations and as much as two weeks in advance to some international destinations. Third, plan to spend some money: it will cost at least $100 to send a small piece of luggage, a golf bag, or a pair of skis to a domestic destination, much more to places overseas. Some people use Federal Express to ship their bags, but this can cost even more than air-freight services. All these services insure your bag (for most, the limit is $1,000, but you should verify that amount); you can, however, purchase additional insurance for about $1 per $100 of value.
Luggage Concierge. 800/288–9818; www.luggageconcierge.com.
Luggage Free. 800/361–6871; www.luggagefree.com.