Tips for Packing
At ExperiencePlus!, we have traveled enough and loaded enough luggage to have some useful suggestions.
- Luggage Limits: There is a limit of 2 pieces of luggage per person on our tours – one larger suitcase that weighs less than 50 lbs (25 kgs), and a smaller carry-on bag such as a backpack or overnight bag. We enforce these restrictions because of limited space in our support van and to safeguard the welfare of our tour leaders as well as yours. 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.
- Place your ExperiencePlus! luggage 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.
- 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.
- Adhere to the 3-1-1 carry-on packing guidelines of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for liquids and gels. 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 toilet “kit,” cosmetics “case,” passport “case,” camera “case,” etc. or do you need the contents? Combine items in a plastic bag. Be sure to follow the TSA guidelines.
- 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.
- Money – Please refer to our information here: Travel Planning- Handling Money on Tour
If you are traveling to Argentina, you might find it advantageous to bring US-dollars with you. Please read the information here.
What to Bring
- Passport (required: check it now for expiration)
- 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)
- Photocopy of credit cards (we recommend you carry one copy in a safe place with you, and leave a copy with friends or family at home)
- Insurance information – health and travel information including policy numbers and phone numbers. (Remember a toll free number will not work from overseas, so bring the “regular” phone numbers.)
- General Tips for Clothing & Shoes: Even though we’ve designed our tours to run during the dry seasons, 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. 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.
- 1-2 pair casual pants and/or skirts
- 3-4 wash and wear shirts
- 1-2 pair shorts or capris (depending upon season of travel)
- 1 light to medium weight long-sleeve top for layering
- 3 pair socks
- swimsuit for swimming or sunning or saunas. 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.
- hat (scrunchable)
Do not bring new shoes, break them in now.
- Comfortable sandals or casual shoes, as your tour may involve walking on cobbles. Check your itinerary for potential non-cycling activities.
- Sandals or shoes that can get wet are often useful, especially on tours with cave visits or canoe/rafting events.
- 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.
Your bike will be equipped with: a men’s saddle or women’s saddle (we have a variety of styles to choose from), a quick release style seat post adjustment, rear rack and pack (approx.11” X 6” X 7” and expandable pump, patch kit, spare tube, cable lock, cyclometer, rear light, a water bottle cage (or two), one water bottle, and a bell. Refer to our bike information on this page. 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. Otherwise we suggest you bring a small daypack to carry miscellaneous items you will need during the day.
Here are items you SHOULD bring:
- 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.
- Sunglasses – Bring some good-quality eye protection.
- Cycling gloves.
- Water-resistant wind breaker and rain-specific cycling outerwear.
- 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.
Here are items you MAY want to bring:
- Mirror – on helmet or on handlebars. All of our bikes, including e-bikes, in Latin America and Europe accommodate bar-end mirrors.
- 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. Our tour leaders will mount and adjust the saddle at the bike fitting and remove it at tour end for you.
- Your favorite back-up cycling water bottle (we provide one on tour).
- Small tool kit (optional, but useful), small rag for chain grease (ever wonder why cyclists wear black shorts?)
Cycling clothes & shoes – We recommend wearing bright colors that make you visible to traffic:
- 2-3 pair padded cycling shorts or knickers, or other bottoms comfortable while cycling
- 3 brightly colored (for visibility) cycling jerseys, athletic tops, or shirts comfortable for cycling
- 1 long-sleeved, performance-type fabric shirt jersey for layering
- 3-4 pair cycling socks
- Cycling shoes—either stiff-soled athletic shoes or clipless cycling shoes with your 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. 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.
- 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.
Cosmetics, toiletries, medications, and sundry items:
- Back-up pair of contact lenses or glasses (you never know!)
- Sunblock or sunscreen
- Lip balm
- Cycling anti-chafing cream for those prone to chafing
- Efferdent tablets for washing out/sterilizing water bottles
- A brush for scrubbing bottles out (especially if you plan on drinking electrolyte liquids)
- Laundry line to dry your laundry (any nylon rope will do) – no need to bring detergent, we’ll have it on the van during ExpeditionPlus! tours.
- Deodorant, toothpaste, brush, comb, etc.
- Shaving materials
- Insect repellent (bugs are generally not a problem but mosquitoes are sneaky)
- Allergy medicine for pollen or bee stings
- Kaopectate tablets or equivalent
- Aspirin, Tylenol, or equivalent
- Small travel first aid kit
- Wash cloth (if you use one; hotels often provide only towels)
- Small pocket guidebook, or your preferred travel app on your smartphone or tablet
- Phrasebook/dictionary, or your preferred translation app on your smartphone or tablet
- Small notebook/diary/logbook/sketchbook/ and pen or pencil
- 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.
- Any adapters or converters you may need for your electronics. Adapter, converter, which is which? Refer to our information on electronics on tour.
- Ear Plugs
- Camera, storage cards and extra batteries (or your smartphone – remember your charger)
- Utensils for picnicking
- Small travel binoculars
- Electrical outlet adapter(s) specific to your countries of travel or universal plug adapter. 220-volt converter if required for your devices (most smartphones, tablets and laptops come with a built-in converter).
What to leave home for Expedition tours:
- Anything valuable that cannot be replaced.
- Formal attire
- Extra outfits, pack light!
- 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)
Frequent Packing Errors or General Travel Mistakes
- Bringing new shoes that are not broken in or cycling shoes not suited for walking.
- Grabbing the wrong passport on your way out the door (make sure it’s yours).
ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours is not responsible for any items left in the van overnight.