A common question many people ask us when visiting a lesser-visited Eastern European country like Ukraine, is what to pack? We’ve visited the country of Ukraine in the baking heat, snowstorms, and all seasons of the year. So we have a good amount of knowledge on what to bring for the country depending on the time of year.
General travel accessories for travel to Ukraine
Ukraine is a big country, the second-largest country in Europe in fact. As a result, travelling across Ukraine usually means a few long bus rides and some good old fashioned night trains. 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 Ukraine in Winter
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 Ukraine in Summer
Ukraine in the summer can be baking hot, but temperatures can dip in the evening. 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 shoes
- Flip flops
- Sun cream
- A hat and sunglasses
- Medication if needed
- Swimming shorts if you want to take a dip in the Dnieper River or the Black Sea in Odessa.
- Mosquito spray, especially for Chernobyl, which suffers from huge numbers of mosquitos due to Pripyat being essentially a giant swamp.
When it comes to what shoes to wear when travelling to Ukraine, like anywhere, comfort is key. You will be walking a lot and going through different streets and environments, so your feet must feel good. You won’t enjoy your trip to Ukraine if your feet are in pain. However, shoes can also take up a lot of space in your luggage, so we recommend only bringing 1 or 2 pairs. One pair should be the most comfortable walking shoes that you will wear during the day. Another pair can be used to wear during the night when you go out. If you can combine usages both into one pair, then even better! Also, make sure to bring a pair of cheap flip-flops. They’re great for Soviet-era night trains as you really don’t want to be walking around barefoot on those.
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 your hotel at the end of a long day and have cracked and sweaty feet.
What kind of luggage should I bring?
This is another common question for many who are joining our tours to Ukraine. In our experience, the majority of countries in Eastern Europe are 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.
As a result, we recommend bringing a backpack for travelling to Ukraine. Aim for spacious backpacks with a lot of pockets to store your things. If you’re taking a public bus or night train within Ukraine then portable, easily carryable luggage is a godsend in the close confinement of the train or buses. As a bonus, you can have them as carry-ons for the flight or check them in.
In this day and age, we don’t go anywhere without electronics. For your trip to Ukraine 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 are important in Ukraine. The hotels we use have 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 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 where they can be bought from stands on the street or at various kiosks for a lower price.
Paperbacks are great, but they are heavy, especially when you need to pack light for a trip to Europe. 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 taking pictures that are superior to those captured on a smartphone. You will be visiting amazing places throughout Ukraine, 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..