17 Aug Packing List for a Summer Self-Guided Bike Tour in Europe
Our self-guided cycle trip from Bruges, Belgium to Amsterdam included 6 days of leisurely biking, from 4 to 6 hours per day. Temperatures ranged from 50 to 85 F and we had one day of light rain.
The big benefit of the self-guided tour package is that luggage transport is taken care of for you. You simply have to pack up your bags each morning, leave them at the designated spot in the hotel by 9am, and find them waiting for you at the next hotel when you finish your day’s ride. Panniers are provided on the bikes so you can take with you just what you need during your ride.
Luggage drop off in one of the hotels during our journey
Although many of the hotels had a laundry service (which charged per piece of clothing), we found it more economical to hand wash in the sink or shower and let things dry overnight. I washed my bike shorts twice during the trip and socks and underwear as needed. To speed up the drying process, we sometimes used the hotel hair dryer or set a fan on the clothes.
In Amsterdam, the city of bikes, with my backpack and carry-on laptop bag at the end of our bike trip
Clothes to Pack for One Week Summer Bike Trip (Women):
(See Jedd’s previous post for a men’s Europe packing list and tips)
Padded bike shorts
3-4 pairs of light-weight shorts/pants/capris to wear over the bike shorts
4-5 athletic shirts
Light rain jacket or poncho (depending on climate)
Compress-able down jacket
3-4 pairs of athletic socks
Underwear and sports bras
Miscellaneous Items (Pick and choose what suits you)
Mini handwash laundry packets
GPS and portable battery recharger (may be supplied by the tour company)
Reusable cups, utensils, and other compact picnic items
Small day pack
Daily Items for the Pannier
Credit card, ATM card, and local currency
Light jacket or arm warmers (for chilly mornings)
Map/directions for the day
Voucher for the hotel
A small day pack is a good idea to keep in your pannier for the times you want to park your bike, explore a town, and take your valuables with you. It also helps to have some kind of bag if you pick up any food from supermarkets for picnic lunch, as we found that most stores in Belgium and Holland encouraged people to use their own bags.
Optional/Dependent on Circumstances:
Compress-able down jacket
Poncho/Rainjacket (if chance of rain)
GPS (if using)
Forks and other picnic supplies (if needed)
Plastic bag or shower cap to cover bike seat if parked in rain
Ziplock bag to keep map out of the rain
Provided by our Tour Company:
Coil bike lock
Back wheel bike lock
Tire repair kit
Rain cover for pannier
We were concerned about bringing our laptops on a trip like this, since the options are to either keep them awkwardly in your bike pannier or entrust them to the transportation service and hotels every day. Although we scaled back our online work during the trip, we nevertheless had no choice but to bring computers along. So we opted to pack them up snuggly in a backpack, put a lock on it, and have them transported along with our other luggage.
We also packed a surge protector with adapters for the countries we visited in Europe, plus the chargers for our phones and camera.
Of course, there are a few other items you’ll need just like any other trip, like your toiletries. Most hotels will supply soap, shampoo, etc. but occasionally you’ll get one that doesn’t. We always keep a couple plastic grocery bags to keep dirty laundry as well.
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