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Before you go - what to pack for the Transzip?
This list is based on a direct trip (5 days on the train without stops!) For those doing stopovers you can restock supplies at the supermarkets in Ulaanbaatar, Irkutsk and Ekaterinburg all of which have a wide selection available. During the summer months there is also a large range of goods available at the larger stations along the way and in the dining car.
- Tea, coffee, cordial, Tang (according to taste) – note, bottled water can be bought everywhere.
- Crackers, biscuits, chocolate, peanuts, chips.
- Small amount of fresh fruit ('Bring bananas!' yelled the Monkey), dried fruit, lemon for tea.
- Something to add taste: peanut butter (North Americans), sausages (Germans), Branston pickle (Brits), Vegemite (Aussies and Kiwis), chili sauce (Indonesians like Sarah:]), soya sauce (Orientals), curry powder and black pepper (Neil).
- Remember that there is a dining car on every train. You don't have to bring for three meals a day, just enough to provide variety or fend off an attack of the munchies. You can also stock up at each stopover city. Water and beer can usually be bought at the platform or in the dining-car!
- For the traditionalists: alcohol - beer (best bought on the platform before departure), Chinese brandy is OK but be warned: the Chinese version of Whiskey is not for those with a mild constitution or who want to remember their Trans-Siberian trip! Plenty of vodka and (Russian) champagne available in Russia.
- For the refined: shaker, ice cubes, cocktail glasses, wine, champagne.
- For the addicts: cigars, cigarettes, pipe, tobacco, snuff.
- For the cautious: condoms.
- For the adventurous: whipped cream, Baby-oil, large sheet of plastic.
- For the lonely: a Teddy Bear (don’t you dare to use a Monkey!).
- For the studious: books: 'Trans-Siberian Handbook', 'Russian Phrase book', Lonely Planet guides, S.A.S. survival manual.
- For the musical: Discman, MP3, short wave radio + batteries.
- For the bored: a puzzle or game (chess & backgammon are popular in Russia).
- For the Dutch: don't bring anything, just borrow as usual ;-)
- Music, books, stickers, foreign coins, photos of yourself, postcards, tea, etc.
- Shopping bag, plastic bags in various sizes, day-pack, money belt.
- Batteries, 'travellers' adapter plug, alarm clock, torch.
- Plug for the basin.
- Toilet paper (at least 2 rolls), tissues, tampons, soap, shampoo, shaver.
- Aspirin (especially for those who insist on swallowing Chinese Whiskey).
- Decongestant, travel sickness pills, lip balm, antacids, anti-mosquito cream (summer), thermals and gloves (winter), slippers or flip-flops.
- Specialist film rolls (regular film is cheaply available throughout China and Russia).
- Padlock and chain, adhesive tape, ice scraper, sponge to clean your window, screwdriver, lighter or matches.
- Cup, mug with a lid, teaspoon (can be used for coffee too), knife, bottle opener (often one on the under-side of your cabin table).
- A photocopy of your passport and visas for easy replacement in case of loss.
- Small denominations of US$ cash in bills issued after 1990 (with metal strip). Make sure all bills are crisp clean and not even slightly damaged!
- For the sake of others: CLEAN SOCKS!
Please use discretion when shopping; there is a 35kg luggage limit!