Pack like a pro and you’ll travel with ease!
Follow our packing list and recommendations, based on 50+ years of experience operating international bicycle tours.
Packing guidelines and tips for all tours
- Pack light: Keep in mind that you will be toting your luggage at different times during your vacation. Remember, you may have to go from the airport to the train or bus station, and will need to bring your bags down to the hotel lobby in the morning for our staff to load the van. Some hotels may not have elevators. Please be aware of our luggage limit.
- ExperiencePlus! luggage tags: Place your tags on all of your luggage pieces including carry-on bags. If you don’t have any yet, you will receive them on Day 1 of your tour.
- Adhere to the packing guideliens by the TSA for carry-on and checked luggage: See TSA.gov for the current restrictions, but be aware that different countries may have different requirements.
- Eliminate and combine containers (bags inside bags): Do you really need the toiletry “kit,” cosmetics “case,” passport “case,” camera “case,” etc. or do you need the contents? Combine items in a plastic bag or use packing cubes.
- Travel samples save space and weight: Visit the “trial-size” section of your drugstore or supermarket for small size toiletries. If your favorite brands are not available then transfer contents to small plastic bottles that can be purchased in the size you need. Or use toiletries provided by hotels, or purchase some at your destination.
- What’s in your carry-on: Feeling Lucky? It is not much fun to find out that your checked luggage with your cycling gear has not arrived at your destination. You may wish to pack one change of cycling attire, shoes, and helmet in your carry-on, or travel 100% carry-on. DO NOT pack prescription medicines in luggage that will be checked.
Important notes about bikes and gear
- While we do our best to accommodate last minute requests, we cannot guarantee changes in bike choice or equipment requests less than 30 days before tour departure date.
- Refer to our Bikes Page to see how your bike will be equipped and see below what gear we recommend you bring.
- Be aware that if you bring your own bicycle, we are happy to provide a rear rack pack but your bike must have a rear rack. If you bring your own bike on Explorer tours, we can provide you with an under-seat pack. Otherwise we suggest you bring a small daypack to carry miscellaneous items you will need during the day.
- Weather preparedness: Even though we’ve designed our tours around the best cycling weather to avoid heat and inclement weather, weather is unpredictable. Rain is always a possibility and days and evenings can be cool. As such, lightweight, fast drying clothes are best, as are clothes you can layer. Bring cool weather gear for any spring or fall tour. Heat can also be a concern and should we encounter unseasonably hot weather periods on tour, we will try our best to provide flexibility to avoid the hottest parts of the day. To counter sun and hot temperatures, we recommend bringing cycling clothes and sun sleeves with UPF protection and a head covering that you can douse with water.
- Dress code: While our tours do not have a dress code and we encourage you to be comfortable, some restaurants frown upon shorts and t-shirts at dinner. Therefore, we suggest you bring casual pants and/or a skirt. No sport coats or ties are needed. Note that shorts and sleeveless tops are frowned upon in some churches, so come prepared.
- Money: Please refer to Handling Money on Tour. Are you traveling to Argentina, Cuba or Scandinavia?
- See our special packing notes for Cuba, Expeditions, and Explorer tours.
Packing essentials for all tours
|o||Passport (required)||Check it now for expiration.|
|o||Photocopy of passport||We recommend you carry one copy with you packed in a Ziploc-type bag and separate from your real passport, and that you leave a copy at home with friends or family.|
|o||Photocopy of credit card||We recommend you carry one copy in a safe place with you, and leave a copy with friends or family at home.|
|o||Travel insurance information||Bring your insurance’s policy numbers and phone numbers. Remember a toll free number will not work from overseas, so bring the “regular” phone numbers.|
|o||Face masks||They can still come in handy on public transportation or in the event sickness occurs.|
|o||Hand sanitizer||It’s advisable to bring some that you can carry with you and use whenever needed. We will have some on the van while on tour.|
Clothing for all tours
|o||1-2 pair casual pants and/or skirts|
|o||3-4 wash and wear shirts (merino is a staff-favorite and travels well)|
|o||1-2 pair shorts or capris (depending upon season of travel)|
|o||1 light to medium weight long-sleeve top for layering|
|o||3 pair socks|
|o||swimsuit for swimming or sunning or saunas|
|o||Do not bring new shoes, break them in now.|
|o||Comfortable sandals or casual shoes, as your tour may involve walking on cobbles.|
|o||Check your itinerary for potential non-cycling activities (non-cycling activities not available on Explorer tours): Sandals or shoes that can get wet are often useful, especially on tours with cave visits or canoe/rafting events.|
|o||If you use only one all-purpose shoe for bicycling and walking, then bring a second pair of sandals or shoes to give your feet a rest, or in case one pair of shoes gets wet.|
Cycling gear for all tours
Items you SHOULD bring
|o||Helmet – Helmets are required on tour. Please bring yours. You can stuff it full of small items and fit it into your checked luggage, or attach it to your hand luggage.|
|o||Sunglasses – Bring some good-quality eye protection.|
Items you MAY want to bring
|o||Mirror – on helmet or on handlebars. All of our bikes, including e-bikes, in Latin America and Europe accommodate bar-end mirrors.|
|o||Your own bike seat. While we have a variety of saddles for you to choose from, saddle preference can be a very individualized choice. Because the bike saddle plays such a prominent role in your comfort we encourage you to bring your own saddle if you feel it would be best for you. If you do bring your own saddle do not bring the seat post and make sure that the saddle has rails for mounting in order to fit our bikes. Some carbon saddles may not fit standard posts. Our tour leaders will mount and adjust the saddle at the bike fitting and remove it at the tour end for you.|
|o||Your favorite back-up cycling water bottle (we provide one on tour).|
|o||Small tool kit (optional, but useful), small rag for chain grease (ever wonder why cyclists wear black shorts?)|
|o||Your own pedals. If you bring your clipless cycling shoes with cleats then also bring your pedals that are specific to your type of cleat. Our staff will put your pedals on and take them off for you at the end of the tour.|
|o||2-3 pair padded cycling shorts or knickers, or other bottoms comfortable while cycling|
|o||3 brightly colored (for visibility) cycling jerseys, athletic tops, or shirts comfortable for cycling|
|o||1 long-sleeved, performance-type fabric shirt jersey for layering|
|o||3-4 pairs cycling socks|
|o||Water-resistant wind breaker|
|o||You should also plan to bring some cooler weather gear for chilly mornings and rainy days: Cycling tights or leg-warmers, long-sleeved jersey or arm-warmers, water proof (Gore-Tex or similar) rain jacket and pants, head warmer (hat and/or headband), long-fingered gloves, and cycling booties and/or part-wool socks.|
|o||For sun protection, bring a head covering and sun protection, e.g. UV-protectant sleeves, or clothing with UPF.|
You may bring cycling specific shoes or allround athletic shoes, for example:
Stiff-soled athletic shoes with closed toes suitable for riding and walking around, such as cross training shoes.
Clipless cycling shoes with your own pedals. If you are using cycling shoes with cleats we strongly recommend mountain or touring style shoes that have a recessed cleat so you can comfortably explore during the day.
|o||If you stick with stiff-soled road riding shoes, bring a light pair that you can change into for sightseeing and that fits in your rear pack.|
Toiletries for all tours
Cosmetics, toiletries, medications, etc.
|o||Back-up pair of contact lenses or glasses (you never know!)|
|o||Sunblock or sunscreen|
|o||Cycling anti-chafing cream for those prone to chafing|
|o||Classic, Bike & Boat and Explorer tours: Laundry soap and line to dry your laundry (any nylon rope will do); consider bringing a mesh-bag for your laundry. More about laundry while on tour. Expedition tour travelers need not bring laundry soap as we will have some on the van.|
|o||Deodorant, toothpaste, brush, comb, etc.|
|o||Insect repellent (bugs are generally not a problem but mosquitoes are sneaky)|
|o||Allergy medicine for pollen or bee stings|
|o||Kaopectate tablets or equivalent|
|o||Aspirin, Tylenol, or equivalent|
|o||Seasickness medication if you’re on a Bike & Boat trip at sea, and are prone to nausea|
|o||Small travel first aid kit|
|o||Wash cloth (if you use one; hotels often provide only towels)|
Sundry items for all tours
Reading, writing, listening materials
|o||Small pocket guidebook, or your preferred travel app on your smartphone or tablet|
|o||Phrasebook/dictionary, or your preferred translation app on your smartphone or tablet|
|o||Small notebook/diary/logbook/sketchbook and pen or pencil|
|o||Any electronic device you use for reading, listening to music, etc. Note: devices that use headphones are dangerous and illegal to ride with in some countries. Please don’t use them while on your bike.|
|o||Any adapters or converters you may need for your electronics. Adapter, converter, which is which? Read more about electronics on tour.|
|o||Photography – If you don’t use your smartphone, remember you may need extra storage cards and batteries|
smartphone – remember your charger and any additional accessories, depending on your planned use (e.g. phone mount)
|o||Utensils and small container for picnicking|
|o||Small travel binoculars|
|o||Pack towel – If your tour takes you along the coast and you’d like to stop and swim along the ride we suggest you bring a pack towel. They come in a variety of sizes, are very packable, super absorbent, and quick to dry.|
Special packing notes for Expedition tours
We recommend the following for multi-week Expedition tours
|o||Efferdent tablets for washing out/sterilizing water bottles|
|o||A brush for scrubbing bottles out (especially if you plan on drinking electrolyte liquids)|
Items you can leave home for Expedition tours
- Laundry detergent (we will supply an ample amount on Expeditions and have it available for you)
- Protein bars or snacks for each day (will be supplied on tour)
- Electrolyte drinks (available from the van)
Special packing notes for Explorer tours
|o||Extra water bottle or hydration pack – On Explorer tours, we provide you with one water bottle but the van won’t always be close-by throughout the day.|
Special packing notes for Cuba tours
|o||Travel documents for Cuba|
|o||Travel medical insurance. Cuba requires all travelers to have it.|
|o||Cash – See our article about handling money in Cuba.|
|o||Medicine – Make sure to bring medicine that you require and make sure to pack it in your hand-luggage.|
|o||Electrical outlet adapter(s) specific to Cuba or universal plug adapter, if needed.|
|o||Snacks – Food and snacks will be different in Cuba. While we provide snacks on tour, you might|
have a certain type of cereal bar might work better for you than local snacks. In that case, you
might want to bring along your own.
What to leave home for Cuba tours
- Any devices that you plan on going online with (unless you really must). Expect to unplug and enjoy in Cuba.
- GPS-device – they are illegal in Cuba. You may use your smartphone with an app.
Packing errors and what to leave home for all tours
What to leave home
- Anything valuable that cannot be replaced.
- Formal attire
- Extra outfits, pack light!
Frequent packing errors or general travel mistakes
- Anything valuable that cannot be replaced.
- Formal attire
- Extra outfits, pack light!