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30 minute read

The Ultimate Odysseys Unlimited Packing List

December 15, 2023

You’re standing over an empty suitcase as a long-anticipated trip swiftly approaches, asking, “What should I pack?” If we just described your current plight, then this is the post for you.

The struggle to decide what to pack for a trip is one many of us know all too well. Since many of our guests often ask us what to pack for their Odysseys tour, we put together this packing list of both general necessities and specific items we recommend that you bring with you. Refer to this list as you begin to pack to make sure you are fully prepared – and not forgetting anything!

And if you are reserved on Patagonia Explorer, Patagonian Frontiers, Machu Picchu to the Galapagos, and/or one of our Safari tours, be sure to refer to the supplemental lists at the end of this post for packing recommendations specific to your tour.


  1. Packing Advice
    1. Clothing Recommendations
    2. Packing Checked vs. Carry-On Bags
    3. What NOT to Bring
    4. Sustainable Packing Tips
  2. General Packing List
  3. Packing for a Safari Tour
  4. Packing for a Patagonian Tour
  5. Packing for Machu Picchu to the Galapagos
  6. The Final Word


Click here for a printable PDF checklist of this packing list.


Packing Advice

It’s important to note that we can’t tell you exactly what you should pack. We can’t anticipate every item you may (or may not) need or want to bring. There are too many variables, such as the time of year, climate and weather, cultural norms, your itinerary, length of stay, pre- or post-tour extensions, personal preferences, etc. However, we do have suggestions, based on our own travel experiences and our expert knowledge of our tours. Therefore, we recommend that you use this list as a starting point to create your own personalized packing list, adding and removing items as you see fit.

Below you can find some general tips and information on packing for an Odysseys Unlimited tour.

Clothing Recommendations:

Pack for comfort. Our advice is always to pack for comfort; pack for layered wear; and pack comfortable, broken-in walking shoes with non-skid soles.

  • In general, dress casually. All our tours are casual, though some guests do prefer to dress “smart casual” for group dinners. It is a good idea to bring one or two nice outfits for evenings out in bigger cities and for welcome and farewell dinners – and, of course, for “just in case.”
  • Plan outfits for your free time. If you plan to participate in activities or events in your free time that require more formal wear (such as eating at a high-end restaurant, attending the theater, etc.), you’ll want to plan one or two appropriate outfits.
  • Be aware of cultural norms, climate, and weather at your destination. Refer to the General Information document on your My Odyssey portal for specific advice regarding dressing for your destination(s).

Packing Checked vs. Carry-On Bags:

  • DO pack necessities in your carry-on and personal bag. You should pack important items such as medication, travel documents, electronics, eyeglasses, money, IDs, and medical devices in your carry-on. It’s best practice to plan for the possibility that your checked bag gets delayed in transit, so be sure to have enough toiletries and clothing in your carry-on to last you a day or two.
  • DO NOT pack important or essential items in your checked baggage. You don’t want to be without any necessities – such as medication, IDs, travel documents, etc. – in the event that your checked bag is delayed in transit.

What NOT to Bring

Finally, there are a few things we recommend you DO NOT bring with you, such as valuable jewelry or other precious or sentimental items; expensive gadgets; and generally, anything you can’t afford to lose. You don’t want to ruin your vacation by worrying about your possessions.

Sustainable Packing Tips

  1. Pack light. The less your luggage weighs, the less fuel is used on planes and vehicles – and it makes traveling easier for you, too!
  2. Reuse whenever possible. Consider obtaining a TSA-compliant kit of refillable travel-sized bottles and containers for your liquids, gels, and creams. Many of these kits come with a TSA-compliant quart-sized reusable bag as well. Avoid disposable plastics while packing; opt instead for items like reusable packing cubes, cloth laundry bags, a refillable water bottle, etc.
  3. Buy used and buy from small businesses. When shopping, check local thrift stores for clothing, luggage, and other travel supplies – you may be surprised by what you can find. And when buying new, aim for the highest quality rather than the cheapest price; the more durable something is, the less you will need to replace it, meaning less waste overall. Patronize ethical and/or small businesses when possible – including when online shopping.
  4. If you do need to use a disposable item, make sure it is recyclable (bonus points if it is made from recycled material!).


General Packing List for an Odysseys Unlimited Tour

Below is a list of items we recommend packing for an Odysseys Unlimited tour. Use this list as a starting point to create your own personalized packing list, adding and removing items you may (or may not) want or need to bring. Always check the General Information document in your My Odyssey portal for destination-specific packing advice.

Click here for a printable PDF checklist.


  • Comfortable, broken-in walking shoes with non-skid soles
  • Casual, comfortable clothing that can be easily layered
    • For warm weather: Bring lightweight clothing, such as items made of linen or cotton. Consider long-sleeved, loose-fitting clothing, as it protects you from both sun exposure and insect bites while keeping you cool.
    • For cool weather: Bring light- to medium-weight clothing that can be easily layered to adapt to changing temperatures. For some destinations, it may be a good idea to bring a hat, gloves, and medium-weight jacket.
  • Sleepwear
  • Underwear
  • Socks (consider above-ankle socks if mosquitos are a concern)
  • Layering items such as sweaters, cardigans, and thick button-up shirts
  • Rainproof and windproof jacket (or a reusable poncho with a hood)
  • Bathing suit (for hotel pools and spas)

Accessories & Travel Supplies:

  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Day pack (such as a small backpack) for long days of sightseeing – to hold items such as your camera, an extra layer, water bottle, umbrella, binoculars, snacks, etc.
  • Money belt to wear under your clothing
  • Small cross-body bag with a zipper that can be worn in front of your body for everyday use
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Collapsible umbrella
  • Neck pillow
  • Compression socks
  • Sleep mask
  • Foam and/or silicone earplugs for sleeping in planes and hotels


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Facial cleanser, body wash, bar soap, and shampoo/conditioner (if you do not wish to use hotel-provided toiletries)
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume/cologne
  • Shaving supplies
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Hair styling products and supplies
  • Fingernail clippers
  • Makeup and brushes, sponges, etc.
  • Face/wash cloth (many European hotels do not provide these)
  • Any other cosmetic or sanitary products that you use every day

Medical, First Aid & Safety Supplies:

Important Note: Always check your destination’s regulations on importing controlled substances, prescription medications, and/or medical supplies (such as CPAP machine, syringes, etc.) prior to departing. Additionally, we recommend that you NOT travel with any CBD or THC (marijuana) products as regulations and enforcement can vary dramatically from country to country and can change without notice.

  • Prescription medications
  • Vitamins/supplements
  • Eyeglasses (consider bringing a backup pair, if possible, in case your regular pair are lost or break while traveling)
  • Contact lenses and contact lens cleaning solution
  • Medical ID tag or bracelet, if needed
  • Note in the language(s) of your destination(s) outlining any food allergies for meals on your own, if needed
  • Any other medical supplies you may need (insulin monitors, syringes for medication, blood pressure monitor, CPAP machine, etc.)

We also recommend putting together a small first-aid kit containing the following:

  • Over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen (Advil®) and/or acetaminophen (Tylenol®)
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Tweezers
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Antibacterial towelettes/alcohol wipes
  • Antiseptic/antibacterial ointment
  • Anti-nausea medicine such as Pepto-Bismol®, TUMS®, and/or “less-drowsy” Dramamine®
  • Anti-diarrheal medicine such as IMODIUM®
  • Anti-itch cream in case of insect bites
  • Other commonly needed over-the-counter medications, such as Benadryl®, medicine for cold/allergy symptoms, eye/ear drops, etc., as needed
  • Hand sanitizer

Other supplies to consider bringing:

  • COVID-19 antigen self-tests
  • Medical-grade KN95 or N95 face masks
  • Sunscreen for the face and body with a high-level, broad-spectrum SPF factor (at least 30 SPF is recommended)
  • Mosquito repellant containing DEET
  • Emergency repair items: sewing kit, safety pins, string, small roll of duct tape, stain removal pen, eyeglass repair kit, etc.
  • Lip balm
  • Pocket tissues
  • Small flashlight
  • Non-pharmaceutical nausea/motion sickness aids, such as Sea-Bands®, peppermint and/or ginger candies, etc., if needed


  • Mobile phone
  • Tablet
  • E-reader
  • Smartwatch/fitness watch
  • Headphones/earphones (we recommend that they be noise-cancelling for long flights and motorcoach rides)
  • Camera and lenses, dust covers, filters, extra memory card(s), etc.
  • Charging cables and/or spare batteries for all electronics
  • Portable power bank
  • Universal plug adapter (if necessary)
    • Ensure yours has plugs specific to where you’ll be traveling; not all adapters labeled as “universal” work everywhere.
  • Electricity converter for older, single-voltage electrical appliances (if necessary)

Important Documents & Emergency Info:

  • Passport and/or government-issued ID
  • Visa/entry document(s) (if required)
  • Credit, debit, and/or ATM card(s)
  • S. cash (amount dependent on your destination and spending habits)
  • Small amount of your destination’s local currency, if desired
  • Printed passport-sized and -compliant photos (useful in case your passport or ID is lost while traveling)
  • Printed contact information for pet sitters, house sitters, family/friends, insurance companies, doctors, hotels, airlines, banks/credit cards, and Odysseys Unlimited
  • Odysseys Unlimited emergency contact information (in the event of an after-hours emergency)
  • Proof of inoculations/vaccinations (if required)
  • Written prescriptions and/or letter(s) from doctor(s), as needed
  • Photocopies/photos of social security card, birth certificate, passport photo page/government-issued ID, visa(s)/entry document(s) (if required), insurance cards, and any other important documents
  • Copy of trip itinerary

On some tours, you may also wish to bring some items to give to the local people in more remote areas, such as:

  • Small souvenirs from your hometown or a small hostess gift if your tour has a home-hosted dinner or other get-together with a local family
  • Small gifts for children: crayons, stickers, pens, pencils, erasers, books, small notebooks. Please do not bring candy or gum.
  • Sample or travel-sized cosmetics and toiletries: lipsticks, blush, nail polish, etc.


Supplemental Packing List for Patagonia Frontiers and Patagonian Explorer

On our Patagonia tours, we cover varied terrain and a spectrum of different climates, so it is useful to pack the following items in addition to the items provided in the general packing list:

  • Warm hat
  • Gloves
  • Warm jacket
  • Hiking poles (must be packed in checked luggage)
  • Waterproof parka
  • Sweaters and/or fleece
  • Fast-drying clothes
  • Thermal underwear
  • Waterproof trousers/rain pants
  • Sturdy hiking shoes/boots with good traction
  • Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and mosquito repellant containing DEET
  • Ponchos and rain gear to protect you and your belongings from damp locations


Supplemental Packing List for Machu Picchu to the Galapagos

Some unique locations, activities, and hotels on our Machu Picchu to the Galapagos tour require specific supplies. Packing the below item will ensure that you have a comfortable journey.

  • Light fleece jacket
  • For clothing, bring lightweight long-sleeved shirts and trousers for sun protection
  • Be sure to bring a rain jacket, poncho, and collapsible umbrella (although note that umbrellas are prohibited at Machu Picchu)
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Low-calorie sweetener, if desired (you may not be able to get it at your hotels)
  • Binoculars
  • Pocket tissues, moist towelettes, and antibacterial lotion (for freshening up during the day)
  • If you bring a camera, bring along two lenses – 50 mm and zoom 200 mm minimum
  • Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and mosquito repellant containing DEET

For Machu Picchu:

  • Small, soft-sided, duffel-type bag for your overnight stay at Machu Picchu (you can pack this in your checked luggage, or use it for your carry-on; you will need to leave your checked luggage behind and meet up with it again in Cuzco)
  • Broken-in walking shoes or hiking boots
  • Walking stick with a rubber tip (must have a rubber tip to be used at Machu Picchu)

For the Galapagos Islands:

  • Be sure to bring your bathing suit
  • Closed-toed water shoes for wet landings while exploring by boat
  • Sealable waterproof bags to hold wet or damp items
  • Non-slip sneakers or rubber-soled walking shoes to wear onboard our ship
  • Galapagos Islands field guide
  • Motion sickness medicine or Sea-Bands®
  • Snorkeling gear is available onsite, but you may wish to bring your own mask/snorkel (particularly if you have a prescription mask)

Important Note Regarding Packing for the Amazon Rainforest Pre-Tour Option: Due to limited space on the Amazon Rainforest pre-tour option, some luggage restrictions apply. For the Amazon Rainforest pre-tour option, checked luggage is limited to 33 lbs. and one carry-on item per person. If your luggage exceeds this limit, you will be required to store it in the secured Iquitos Office of Ceiba Tops.

For tips and an overview of how to pack for your Machu Picchu and Galapagos Islands journey, please view our packing video guide created by Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director Tomas Palma by clicking here: Packing for the Galapagos with TD Tomas Palma.


Supplemental Packing List for Safari Tours

There are a myriad of items that prove essential for getting the most out of your safari adventure. The following are some things to keep in mind while packing, along with a list of items we recommend bringing on your tour.

Clothing Color for Safari/Game Drives

Black- and blue-colored fabric is known to attract tsetse flies, so avoid wearing these colors while on game drives, specifically in the South Luangwa. Also, white clothing tends to stain from the dust on safari, so earth-toned clothing is suggested. Muted colors that blend into the foliage/bush are best for safari activities as they tend to hide dust quite well. When not out on game drives, bright colors and patterns are perfectly acceptable attire. However, please remember that camouflage is forbidden in Zimbabwe.

Luggage Guidelines

Several of our safari tours follow strict luggage guidelines due to space restrictions on internal flights.

Checked Luggage for Africa’s Wildlife, Classic Safari: Kenya & Tanzania, and Tanzania Adventure: Guests are restricted to one piece of checked luggage per person. Your checked luggage must be a soft-sided, collapsible, duffle-type bag. This bag can have wheels and a retractable handle. The total weight of your checked luggage cannot exceed 33 lbs. per person, regardless of any higher weight limits imposed by other airlines on which you will be traveling. Any additional charges that may be levied by either the domestic or international airline because of excess weight are the traveler’s responsibility.

Carry-On Luggage for Classic Safari: Kenya & Tanzania and Tanzania Adventure: Guests are restricted to one carry-on bag per person. The bag must total no more than 15 lbs. when packed and total no more than 43 inches in dimension (length plus width plus height). Because you will keep this carry-on in the main compartment of the safari vehicles with you, you will be most comfortable utilizing a small, soft-sided bag.

Plastic Bag Ban for Classic Safari: Kenya & Tanzania and Tanzania Adventure: In an effort to reduce the negative impact on their environment, both Kenya and Tanzania have enacted a ban on plastic carrier bags.  Anyone found selling, manufacturing, or carrying plastic bags could face fines of up to $38,000 or a prison sentence of up to four years.  We advise guests on these tours to refrain from packing any and all forms of disposable plastic bags.

Safari Packing List

  • Broken-in walking shoes or lightweight trail shoes
  • Casual clothing that can be easily layered. Dressing in layers on these trips is critical, as the temperature can vary widely based on seasonality and time of day. Many people wear convertible zip-off pants that can be worn as either long pants or shorts.
  • Casual, comfortable clothing that can be worn during the day around lodges.
  • Rainproof and windproof jacket
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Above-ankle socks (to avoid mosquito/tsetse fly bites)
  • Bandana, buff, or light scarf to shield you from sun and dust on game drives
  • Resealable plastic bags (to protect your cell phone and other personal items from dust)
  • Good quality binoculars (one pair per person); 20x50 minimum is recommended
  • Field guides
  • Safari vest with pockets
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Eyeglasses (contact lens wearers may be bothered by the dust while on safari)
  • If you bring a camera, bring along 50 mm and 200 mm minimum lenses, as well as dust covers, lens tissues, and filters
  • Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Insect repellant with at least 40% DEET concentration for protection against malaria, dengue, and other mosquito-borne illnesses

For Africa’s Wildlife and Southern Africa Odyssey:

  • Sports sandals or similar shoes that will dry easily after becoming wet at Victoria Falls (avoid flip flops)
  • For May to August departures:
    • Hat
    • Scarf
    • Gloves
    • Warm Jacket
    • Layering items like fleece shirts and sweaters/cardigans
  • On Africa’s Wildlife, we have the chance to make donations to a school in Victoria Falls. As we make these donations a few days before the flight that imposes a strict luggage weight limit of 33 lbs., don’t hesitate to bring some school supplies and books that weigh a bit more.

For tips and an overview of how to pack for your Southern Africa safari, please view our packing video guide created by Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director Tonia Devereux by clicking here: Packing for Southern Africa with TD Tonia Devereux.


The Final Word

We hope these lists are helpful to you in preparing for your Odysseys Unlimited tour.

As you prepare to travel, you may also find our online travel supply store, My Odysseys Outfitter, a helpful resource. To find a collection of recommended products for your tour, simply click on “Shop by Destination” and choose your destination from the drop-down menu.

And, of course, if you have further questions, please feel free to contact us; we are happy to assist you.

Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET

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