Packing for Hungary and Slovakia

 photo IMG_6709_zpsjkppvmgk.jpgI am taking a very different approach to my cycle tour of Hungary and Slovakia than I took with my previous travels. In the past I have thrown a few things in a bag and my bike in a box the day before I departed. I didn’t put too much thought into what I did or didn’t pack because I had four panniers, a rack pack and about 60kg baggage allowance on the flight (I love Air Asia’s buy what you need baggage policy). This resulted in me carrying quite a bit of weight and also carrying items that I didn’t use. But it also meant that I didn’t have to make many compromises in camp comfort.

But this trip is different because I only have 30kg baggage allowance (including my bicycle) and 7kg carry on allowance. For Korea my bike (in box) weighed 26kg and my luggage weighed 15kg (I had packrafting gear with me). For Japan my bike (in box) weighed 23kg and my luggage weighed 10kg (I didn’t have packrafting gear and had fewer clothes and kit). In both cases, I am glad the airline didn’t weigh my carry on backpack because it definitely went over the 7kg allowed. So I still needed to cut down on my luggage. And that’s exactly what I did. It does help that it will be summer in Hungary so I don’t need to carry as much warm clothing and can take my lighter weight sleeping bag.

 photo IMG_6710_zps3dtuuhus.jpgCutting down has also had another benefit: I can travel lighter on the bike too. It turns out that the frame triangle on my Specialized Fatboy fatbike and my Vivente World Randonneur touring bike are the same size. This means that I can use the frame bag on both bikes. And so I am going to travel Hungary and Slovakia bikepacking style. I test rode the bike loaded today and it felt wonderful. It’s so light and nimble compared with being loaded with panniers. The most difficult item to pack is my laptop. While it’s a small laptop (Asus Transformer Book for the tech heads out there), it is still an odd shape. But I found a spot for it and even remembered to leave space for food that I will buy while in Hungary.

So here’s my packing list:

Camping equipment 

Cooking equipment 

Clothes

Other

  • Black Diamond Storm head torch – An old favourite
  • Toiletries and towel (towel is from Daiso)
  • Bike pump, pedal tool, shifter, bike multi tool, tyre levers and patches
  • Bicycle lock
  • Cannon Powershot D30 camera and battery charger
  • Asus T100 Transformerbook laptop and charging cable
  • Mobile phone and charging cable
  • Maps and marker pen
  • Helmet – Compulsory in Hungary on roads with speed limit >50kph
  • Tozzie – My travel buddy who was given to Paul and me by a friend

Planning for Hungary and Slovakia

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Over the past year I haven’t done much in the way of planning my travels. This has led to some really fun off-the-beaten track adventures. I’ve taken roads that are less touristed and found myself in some great little villages and towns. One of the downsides is that I sometimes find myself pushing too many kilometers early in my trip and having too much time towards the end of the trip. In Korea this left me in Busan for a week and in Japan I ended up in Mito for a week. It also means that I have to route plan a lot on the go, which detracts from recovery and relaxation time.

In Malaysia, Paul and I prepared a plan, booked some accommodation and found the trip much more relaxing than our plan as we went trip in Thailand.

So for Hungary and Slovakia I am making a rough route plan. I have some really great maps of both countries that even have camping grounds marked. So now I am marking castles and thermal baths on the maps. A route is coming together through northern Hungary into Slovakia. I will mark up some distances so that I can easily work out the days available as I ride along to prevent myself from rushing. It will also help me contact a few Warm Showers or Couch Surfing hosts to see whether they are available when I am coming through their areas.

It’s fun to plan a little for my next trip. It is making me excited about the adventure. Next week I will pack and weigh my gear because I can only take 30kg check in baggage and 7kg carry on. The good thing is this means my panniers might be a bit lighter on this trip than they have been in the past.