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What to Pack for a Cycling Vacation: The Ultimate Checklist

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What to Pack for a Cycling Vacation: The Ultimate Checklist

Lirene CilliersBy Lirene Cilliers   Posted 27th Feb 2024

Packing for a cycling vacation often resembles a mad scramble. The last-minute flurry, the mental checklists, and the constant fear of forgetting something vital. Did you know that 39% of people forget more than five items when packing? And, 20% only realize once they open their suitcase on vacation! 

So, if you’ve ever reached your dream destination only to realize you left your lucky cycling jersey back home, you’re not alone. We're here to help you switch gears from panic to prepared with this ultimate checklist. Consider it your lifesaver essential, a sanity-preserver designed to make your cycling holiday packing a breeze. 

Every item you bring along on a cycling trip should serve a purpose while adding minimal weight. After all, you're not preparing for just any vacation; think of it as curating essential gear for comfort, safety, and mobility. Here, less is indeed more. The lighter you travel, the smoother (and more enjoyable) your ride. 

For those joining a Grasshopper Adventures tour, leave your worries behind. We provide all the necessary equipment and include a support van, allowing you to focus on what truly matters—enjoying 

Things to Do Before You Go

  • Keep an eye on the sky: It's easy to forget this bit when daydreaming about your cycling holiday but do take a moment to peek at the local weather forecast for your destination.  
  • Passports and visas: Dust off that passport and make sure it's good to go, with more than six months left till it expires. While you're at it, check out the visa situation for your destination. You don't want to get turned away at the airport because you missed this step. 
  • Insurance is your friend: We're all hopeful optimists before a trip, but it pays (quite literally) to brace for surprise hiccups. A good travel insurance policy can cover medical expenses, damage or loss of gear, unexpected trip cancellations, or even emergency evacuations. Also make sure it covers you for recreational activities, particularly cycling. 
  • Know the inclusions of your tour: Familiarize yourself with the complete list of tour offerings, so you know exactly what to expect and can prepare accordingly.

And if you're joining a Grasshopper Adventures tour, all the necessary equipment, including bikes and helmets, is included. 

Bike Gear Essentials 

What you need to bring will depend on whether you are joining a supported tour or traveling independently. The latter will require a lot more equipment and planning. Here’s a comprehensive list of essential bike gear to bring if you plan to tour independently:  

  • Your bike 
  • Bike bag or protective case 
  • Protective helmet 
  • Headlight and taillight (don't forget to pack extra batteries or bring a charger!) 
  • A couple of large water bottles (750ml each would do) and don't forget the bottle holders 
  • A handful of cable ties for quick fixes 
  • Bike rack to carry your bags/gear 
  • Bike lock 

Essentials for Your Saddle Bag: 

  • Hand pump or mini-inflator (compressed gas canisters may be confiscated at airports) 
  • Spare inner tubes (3 or 4 should suffice; don't forget valve extenders if needed) 
  • A couple of sturdy plastic tire levers 
  • A bike-specific multi-tool 
  • Practical wrench or hex key for your pedals 
  • A small bottle of chain lube for maintenance 
  • A small first aid kit 
  • A rag for any messy maintenance 

Keep in mind that items such as tools and lubricant (above 100ml) will not be allowed in carry-on luggage so it must be packed with check-in luggage. 

Should you choose to ride with Grasshopper Adventures:

All the essential equipment, such as the bike itself, helmets, bike bags, and various other required gear, is provided by us. This means you don't have to worry about packing bulky or heavy equipment, just pack what you want to wear and you’re good to go! (see clothing essentials below for tips on what to pack) 

But if you have a favorite pair of pedals, a saddle that fits you just right, or a helmet that you love, feel free to bring them along! We offer quality equipment, but don’t mind if you want to customize it with some of your own gear to fit your preferences. 

Clothing Essentials for Cycle Touring 

The key to packing light is not to pack weeks' worth of clothing. Use quick dry clothes that you can easily handwash and dry overnight, then you will only need to bring 2 or 3 changes of clothes.  
Here are the essential clothes you should pack for your bike tour:  

  • Versatile shoes (ideally ones that are comfortable for both walking and riding) 
  • 2 quick-dry shirts or cycling jerseys 
  • 2 pairs of cycling shorts or leggings 
  • 2 pairs of regular sports shorts to wear over leggings (recommended when touring in countries that dress conservatively) 
  • 2-3 pairs of quality socks (depending how quick they dry) 
  • Cycling gloves 
  • Cycling sleeves, to protect against sun/cold 
  • At least one set of lightweight clothes to wear for evening activities or days off the bike (see more on this in the section below) 

Additional wear, depending on weather conditions 

  • Windbreaker, vest, or fleece jacket for tours in colder regions or high altitudes 
  • Lightweight rain jacket or poncho if riding during rainy season 

Off-Bike Clothing Essentials 

For times when you're not cycling, you will want to have comfortable and suitable clothes. Here's a checklist for those casual moments and activities. You should pack to suit the climate conditions: 

  • Light, long or short-sleeved shirts 
  • Comfortable shorts or long trousers 
  • Sandals, flip-flops, or lightweight shoes (will you be kayaking or hiking? Pack footwear suitable for you needs) 
  • A couple of T-shirts/casual tops should suffice for evenings and days off the bike. 
  • Swimwear (optional) 


  • Mobile phone and charger 
  • Universal travel adapter or converter (if required) 
  • Earphones (optional) if you'd like to listen to music, audiobooks, or podcasts during your downtime. Also handy for calls back home. 
  • Camera and camera charger (optional) 
  • Tablet or e-reader (optional) if you'd like to read or stream content during relaxation time (also smaller and lighter than a book) 
  • Bike GPS computer and charger (optional, but recommended if touring independently).

Personal Items

The choice of what to pack here will depend on the individual and where you intend to stay. Hotels typically provide essential toiletries so pack small and stock up if/when needed. 

  • Sunglasses 
  • Sunblock 
  • Personal medication 
  • Personal toiletries (pack travel-size items and restock as needed) 
    • Shampoo 
    • Conditioner 
    • Bodywash 
    • Toothbrush 
    • Toothpaste 
    • Hairbrush 
    • Wet wipes/tissues 
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Small day bag  
  • Lightweight quick-dry towel (not required if staying in hotels/guesthouses) 


  • Passport 
  • Visa (if needed) 
  • Cards: Bring a credit card, ATM or debit card, and have a backup card packed separately. Inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid card cancellations due to suspected fraud. 
  • Cash: Having a small amount of cash available is advantageous, especially in developing countries where it’s often still the primary method of payment. Bring just a few days' worth of spending money from home, which you can exchange for local currency on arrival and use for small transactions or as needed. Ensure the bills you bring and receive have no rips/marks and are less than 10 years old. Check the quality and amount at the exchange point and address any issue immediately if needed. 
  • Insurance documents 
  • Accommodation details 
  • Flight information 
  • Ball-point pen (a basic yet essential item for filling out forms or taking notes) 

Ready, Set, Pack! 

Packing for a cycling vacation can seem like a daunting task, but fear not! With this comprehensive packing list at your disposal, you'll breeze through the process with peace of mind. Remember, embracing a less is more approach and only packing what you truly need, you free up space to fully immerse yourself in the joys of adventure and exploration during your holiday. Every item you bring must add value to your journey, enriching your experience rather than weighing you down. In most cases, you can easily purchase any forgotten items at your destination, allowing you to travel light without worry.  

For those about to embark on a Grasshopper Adventures tour, remember that we've got your back when it comes to essentials. From our thoughtfully planned itineraries to providing all necessary equipment, we aim to ensure that your cycling vacation is a breeze from start to finish. 

Now that you know exactly what to pack for a cycling vacation, it's time to get going. We welcome you to check your list, pack your bags and be ready for a memorable cycling journey ahead.  
Here's to cycling the scenic Shimanami Kaido in Japan, enjoying roadside bánh mì in Vietnam, or tasting Uzbek wine in Uzbekistan-your next adventure awaits! 

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