What should I bring on trip?
1) Hand sanitizer – When you’re traveling in Indochina area, there’s not always going to be soap and water to wash your hands. Given the presence of germs and bacteria your body might not be used to,as well as general dust and dirt, using hand sanitizer can help keep you healthy.
2) LifeStraw – The tap water isn’t potable and should be avoided, especially for Western visitors. In the country’s tropical climate, though, you’ll need to be careful about staying hydrated. Bottled water is available for purchase throughout the country, but it creates a ton of plastic waste – and the cost will eventually add up. A better option is a LifeStraw, which filters tap water as you drink. They’re also relatively cheap and don’t take up much space.
3) Activated charcoal – Hopefully you can avoid getting sick by watching what you eat and drink, but many travelers do end up with a bout of illness. In case it happens to you, be prepared by bringing some activated charcoal on your trip. The capsules absorb toxins in your stomach, helping prevent diarrhea and other symptoms.
4) Electrolytes – Electrolytes are also useful to have on hand, in case you get sick and just for general hydration. Diarrhea and vomiting can leave you seriously dehydrated, and these tablets will help replenish the electrolytes you’re losing. Even if you don’t get sick, it can be hard to stay hydrated in a tropical country, especially if you spend a lot of time outside, and using these tabletson a regular basis can help.
5) Travel sheet – Some of the accommodations you find might be less than pristine, which makes it nice to have your own lightweight sheet to wrap up in. That’s especially true for hostels, so a travel sheet is one of the top backpacking essentials. Even if you’re not on a shoestring budget, a sheet like this one is also useful on buses that have the A/C blasting.
6) Quick-dry towel – Not all guesthouses and especially hostels provide them, so a towel definitely needs to be on any backpacking checklist. A regular bath towel is super bulky though, and these lightweight quick-dry towels are much more convenient for traveling. Even if you’re staying in higher-end places, a towel should still be on your packing list , since you’ll want one for beach days, picnics, or swimming in the lake or river.
7) Sarong – almost always bring a sarong when travel, because they’re cheap, lightweight, and surprisingly versatile. If you’re in a pinch, your sarong can act as a towel, curtain, picnic blanket, sheet, or even swimsuit cover-up. Used as a scarf, they also meet the dress code to enter temples. With so many uses, a sarong is one of the essential things to take to this area .
8) Flip-flops: Women’s and Men’s – Flip-flops are most travelers’ main shoes and you’ll definitely want them for visiting beaches and using shared showers at hostels. Flip-flops with good traction are especially useful in the rainy season, since it doesn’t matter if they get wet and any mud can be easily washed off.
9) Umbrella – One of the top packing tips ? Make sure you’re prepared for the rain. If you visit during the rainy season, you’re probably going to get caught in a downpour at least once, and you don’t want to be without an umbrella when that happens. It can rain during the dry season as well, so it’s a good idea to bring an umbrella any time of year.
10) First-Aid kit – If you’re planning to spend much time outside (and even if you’re not), be sure to put a First-Aid kit on your list of things to take . It’s easy to get small cuts and scrapes, which could potentially get infected if they’re not covered, so you’ll want to be able to care for them right away.
11) Travel Insurance – While more serious illnesses or injuries that require seeing a doctor or taking medication are less likely, you don’t want to be unprepared. Even though many people forego travel insurance, it should really be considered one of your packing essentials. Most plans will not only cover medical expenses, they’ll also pay to evacuate you in an emergency and to replace belongings that get lost or stolen. Just knowing you have insurance in case of these situations can give you some peace of mind while you’re on the road as well ,generally use World Nomads insurance when travel, and they’re the go-to company for many frequent travelers.
12) Passport pouch – You’ll obviously need to take your passport to this area, and it’s not a bad idea to bring some extra headshots and photocopies of your passport’s ID page. A passport pouch will keep your passport and other important documents safe and organized. This one can also hold cash, credit cards, and even a cell phone, and is a good way to carry valuables when you’re in crowded places.
13) Waterproof phone case – Most people these days travel with their smart phone, if only for its camera function. If you’re planning to visit the beach, go kayaking, or otherwise be near the water, a waterproof case should be high on your list of things to take to this area. It will keep your phone safe,and even let you capture underwater photos. This one works with pretty much any smart phone.
14) Travel backpack – Trying roll or a carry a suitcase over Indochina’s rough roads will make your trip much less pleasant, so consider using a backpack instead. Osprey is a beloved backpack company among frequent travelers, and this one has lots of useful features, making it a contender for best backpack . A 46-liter pack can normally be used as carry-on luggage but is still plenty big enough for travelers who pack light.
15) Rain cover for backpack – A rain cover is one of the top things to bring, and it’s useful for way more than just a rainy day. Its always put the cover on when you are in transit and will be stowing my bag under a bus or in the back of a minivan. Not only does the cover protect your pack in the case of rain, it also shields it from the dust and mud it might be exposed to. Plus, by making it much harder to get into your backpack, using a cover makes it less likely that things will get stolen.
16) Packing cubes – Using packing cubes means you won’t be able to cram quite as much stuff into your bag – but everything you do pack will be infinitely more organized. Without a set of cubes, you’ll be constantly digging through your backpack for small items and having to unpack everything to find them. Packing all your clothes in a few cubes, though, will completely eliminate that problem.
17) Lonely Planet – Sure, some of this area’s jaded long-term expats might mockpeople for using the Lonely Planet guidebook, but it’s still a great resource for getting an overview of the country and finding budget-friendly options. Just make sure you get the newest edition for up-to-date information.
18) Camera – You should plan on packing a camera. While many travelers just use the one on their phone, it’s worth investing in an actual camera if you really want to get great shots of some beautiful place . For travelers who don’t want a bulky or expensive DSLR, the Canon Powershot is a good in-between choice.
19) Power adapters – There are a couple types of electrical outlets in this area and many of them don’t require an adapter (they can take either round European plugs or flat American ones). But you may encounter some that do need an adapter, especially if you’re bringing anything with grounded plugs. This universal one will have you covered anywhere in Indochina or elsewhere.
Essential Items for a Cycling Trip
By now, you’ve probably booked your tour (or are awfully close!) and are excited and anxious for your upcoming adventure. Now it’s time to prepare. But where should you start? We’ve organized trip preparation into several helpful pages for you. See below for a breakdown on some great information and tips on how to get you prepared for your upcoming tour.
Packing for a bike tour
Rule #1: PACK LIGHT. Try to limit yourself to a carry-on bag. This isn’t a requirement, just a suggestion. (The extra airline fees are just the beginning of the trouble with extra or heavy bags—train stations and hotels don’t always have elevators!) It’s tough but doable, especially if you plan ahead.
If you’re not sure if your suitcase is too heavy, carry it a couple of blocks at a fast clip, or up a flight of stairs without stopping. If you’re uncomfortable, it’s too heavy. (We recommend this activity for pre-dawn, before the neighbors wake up and wonder if you’ve finally gone over the edge.)
On most bicycle tours, you’re on the move with little time for laundry and drying. When possible, travel with fast-drying clothing – from undergarments to outerwear. Synthetic fabrics/blends are not only the most breathable and quick drying, they can also be the easiest to pack (the worst fabric to ride in is cotton).
A few ways to make the most of limited packing space:
- Stuff hollow items (like shoes, helmets, and water bottles) with other small items (socks, MP3 player, etc.). No dead space!
- Roll clothes to eliminate air and reduce wrinkles.
- Packing cubes make the most of small spaces, organize your items, and make packing and unpacking a cinch (key for the daily hotel moves typical of bike tours).
- Stuff sacks are another helpful packing organizer.
Note that bike rentals generally do not include helmets and that you must bring your own.
Suggested packing list
See information on appropriate gear and equipment for your bicycle tour.
- Water bottle
- Waist pack or small day pack
- 2 pairs of riding shorts (we recommend padded shorts and that you try them out before your tour)
- 2 riding jerseys (quick-dry)
- 2 pairs of quick dry socks for cycling
- Comfortable shoes for biking and walking
- Riding gloves
- 2-3 tee-shirts or casual shirts
- Trousers or jeans
- 1-2 pairs of casual socks for non-cycling activities
- 3-5 pairs of underwear (quick-dry)
- Cool-weather jacket or rain jacket
- Extra layers and gloves for cooler season or climate (thin, thermal, water-resistant)
- Bathing suit
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hand sanitizer
- Passport, wallet and ID
- Health insurance card
- Travel insurance card
- Cash and/or credit cards
- Camera (with spare battery)
- Plastic bags (for dirty laundry, wet clothes)
- Electronic chargers (for the camera, e-reader, cell phone)
- Adaptors or converters
First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Antiseptic cream or antibiotic ointment
- Band-aids and ‘Second Skin’ for blisters
- Salve for chafing
- Medications (in original bottles with your name on them)
You have several options when it comes to money during your trip. Every destination wants you to spend your money there, but they all have different norms and infrastructure for accessing and using it. Be sure to research your specific destination, but here are a few reminders and guidelines.
An international cell phone can be extremely helpful, especially if you’re on a self-guided tour and need to reach the tour operator between towns. It’s also great peace of mind so that family can reach you in case of emergency. Or just call (or send a text, photo, or video!) to friends back home to remind them that you’re on an overseas bike tour and they’re not (or just to say “hi!”).
Books and maps
If you’re like most travelers, the building anticipation of your bicycle tour is half the fun, and you may enjoy doing some research and getting additional materials in advance of your tour.