One of the most popular questions guests ask in preparation for their cycling vacation is, “What should I pack?” And while we do have a general packing list available, I have compiled a few of my own tips to live by. After several years of trial and error, I am here to help you fit what you need and ditch what you don’t!
1. Pack Smarter: Think about your travel arrangements and how you are getting from place to place. On your Trek Travel trip, we take care of transporting your luggage. But if your travel plans before or after the trip include trains or public transit, it’s beneficial to keep your hands free to hoist baggage or navigate unexpected stairs.
Pro Tip: Backpacks make excellent carry-ons because they have great storage capacity and are easy to take anywhere! Clip your helmet onto the outside to avoid taking up space in your checked suitcase.
2. Use Your Geometry: You will fit so much more just by the way you pack your bag. Roll your clothes. It will keep them wrinkle free and provide you with more space to overpack.
Pro Tip: Split roller bags (ones that open in half) are nice in small European hotel rooms. These allow you to unzip your suitcase and slide it right under the bed. It will save you from tripping over a mess on the floor.
3. Undergarments for Days: Pack enough underwear and socks to last the entire trip. These are small items that can be tucked in gaps of space throughout your bag and it is essential to have clean items in case there’s no time for laundry. Nobody wants to re-wear a pair of dirty socks!
4. Layers Always Win: Believe it or not, weather changes. Having base layers, jackets and rain gear will make it easy for you to take off and put on clothes while cycling. Plus, you can store these items in the support van during the day for quick access at rest stops.
5. Keep it Simple: When packing evening attire, choose solid colors and accessories that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. A light scarf can dress up a top that you wore earlier in the week to create a whole new outfit. For men, a different shirt can be paired with the same belt and shoes. The paparazzi won’t even notice.
Pro Tip: Dark colors hide bike grease and don’t show dirt as quickly. Then mix it up with colorful and snazzy accessories that take up very little space (scarves, shoes, belts and jewelry). Laundry in some places can make light colors look dingy.
6. Comfort Trumps All: Less is more, except when it comes to comfort. If you know that bringing your favorite saddle will make the week of cycling a much better experience, find a way to fit it in your bag. Pack the item that you just can’t live without, and save yourself the headache trying to buy it abroad.
7. You’re Not Jens Voigt: You don’t need a new cycling kit every day. Limit yourself to 2-3 jerseys and shorts. Pack a small bottle of laundry detergent so you can wash your kits in the tub at night and leave it out to dry the next day. This will save you laundry costs and coveted space.
8. Protect Yourself: Bring at least one credit card and one debit card on the trip. Keep one with your passport as a back-up card and one in your purse or wallet for daily use. Most hotels have a safe in the room or at the front desk where you can store your passport and credit card while you’re out and about for the day. This way, if one is misplaced or stolen you have a back-up form of payment to get you through the trip. Always alert your banks and credit card companies of any upcoming travel so they do not freeze your card for fraud.
Pro Tip: Wear clothing that has lots of inside pockets for your passport, money, plane tickets, and other valuables while traveling. If you fall asleep en route, you have the added security of having your valuables close to your body.
9. Prepare for the Worst: Pack anything that you cannot live without in your carry-on. Checked baggage can be delayed or you might be forced to overnight at an airport. Keep a change of clothes, toothbrush and deodorant in your carry-on.
Pro Tip: Pack your cycling shoes, pedals and a pair of shorts in your carry-on. That way you won’t have to miss the first day’s ride, or spend a fortune to replace this gear if your luggage is delayed.
10. Double the Fun: Leave room for souvenirs. You never know what you may find while traveling, so leave spare room in case you find that one-of-a-kind trinket to forever remind you of your incredible vacation.