A common question many people ask us when visiting a truly off the beaten track destination like Chernobyl is what to pack? We’ve visited Chernobyl in the baking heat, snowstorms, and all seasons of the year. So we have a good amount of knowledge on what to bring depending on the time of year.
General travel accessories for travel to Chernobyl
Whether you’re visiting the Belarussian sector or the Ukrainian sector, you’ll need to travel at least two hours to reach the Chernobyl exclusion zone. So bringing a neck pillow, a book, downloading a good podcast or music to pass the time is
definitely advised in order to keep you occupied during your journey.
Travel essentials for Chernobyl in Winter
Belarus and Ukraine in Winter can be fairly mild or bitterly cold. So it’s best to pack layers that allow you to adjust accordingly to any temperature changes. Bring waterproof clothes as you never know when the weather will change.
● Warm, waterproof, and breathable jacket
● Sweater or fleece
● Sturdy walking boots
● Sunglasses (for the winter sun)
● Flip flops for the hotel
● Medication if needed
What to pack to travel to Chernobyl in Summer
Ukraine and Belarus in the summer can be baking hot, but temperatures can dip in the evening. However, regardless of how hot it is you still need to wear long pants, long sleeves, and closed shoes to enter the Chernobyl exclusion zone. No exceptions. In the summer we advise bringing the following:
● Breathable, airy clothes
● A waterproof jacket in case of rain or chilly evenings
● A pair of comfortable but lightweight closed shoes
● Flip flops for the hotel in Chernobyl if staying overnight
● Sun cream
● A hat and sunglasses
● Medication if needed
● Mosquito spray as Chernobylsuffers from huge numbers of mosquitos due to Pripyat being essentially a giant swamp.
When it comes to what shoes to wear when traveling to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, like anywhere, comfort is key. You will be walking a lot and going through abandoned buildings and various environments, so your feet must feel good. You won’t enjoy your trip to Chernobyl if your feet are in pain.
Also, if you’re staying at the hotel in Chernobyl town make sure to bring a pair of cheap flip-flops. They’re great for the shower or wearing outside in the evening. Open shoes are forbidden when exploring the 10km zone but are permitted in Chernobyl town which is largely free of significant radiation.
A solid tip is to never bring brand new shoes. It will take a while to break them in and with the
amount of walking on your travels you will likely end up with blisters that will completely ruin
your trip. Your shoes should be well broken in so that you are comfortable and enjoy your trip.
Also, we suggest investing in a few decent pairs of travel socks as they will keep your feet dry,
healthy, and in good shape. You do not want to come back to the hotel at the end of a long day
and have cracked and sweaty feet.
What kind of luggage should I bring to Chernobyl?
This is another common question for many who are joining our tours to Chernobyl. Naturally, Chernobyl is not built for suitcases. Poorly maintained streets or potholes can take the wheel off your case quickly and see you lugging what is essentially a big box around on your travels.
You will only be spending 1-5 days in Chernobyl. As a result, we recommend bringing a small backpack filled with the key essentials. Aim for backpacks with a lot of pockets to store your things.
In this day and age, we don’t go anywhere without electronics. For your trip to Chernobyl you
will likely be wondering what electronics to take and what not to take, so we’ve put together the
most important electronics for your Ukraine packing list.
To stay connected, a smartphone and a local sim card can be useful in Chernobyl. The hotel in Chernobyl has good wifi, but if you want to stay connected at all times, post all your perfect travel pictures, or call your family and friends and tell them of all the fun you are having then a prepaid local sim card is best. Sim cards in Ukraine and Belarus are very easy to obtain and extremely cheap for huge amounts of pre-paid data. You can buy one at the airport in arrivals where they are slightly more expensive or wait until you are in downtown Kyiv or Minsk where they can be bought from stands on the street or at various kiosks for a lower price.
However, be aware that in some areas of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, particularly Pripyat, internet connection and service may be weak and unusable.
Paperbacks are great, but they are heavy, especially when you need to pack light for a trip to
Chernobyl. So instead, you can bring an E-reader such as a Kindle which can hold your books for when you’re on the road or want to take a break from walking. Additionally, you can put maps and travel guides there which will be helpful and better than packing them on your suitcase.
Laptops can be great to bring with you, especially if you are planning to do some kind of work
during your travel. They are on the heavier side and we would not recommend it, but if you must
bring one, try to bring one that will not make your bags too heavy.
This is probably one of the most important pieces of electronics you will bring. If you do not like
taking pictures with your smartphone, then a camera will be great for you and also usually take
pictures that are superior to those captured on a smartphone. You will be visiting amazing
places throughout Chernobyl, so make sure to capture all of your memories on it.
Outlet plugs, power strips, and chargers
European outlets and voltage are different from many other countries, so you want to make sure
your electronics will fit. We recommend bringing a universal adapter as trying to source one on
arrival as your battery is rapidly going down is not fun. Additionally, if you have many
electronics, bring a small power strip. You might not have enough space to charge everything
during the night if there are only two outlets in your room.