Motorcycle Trip Planner Checklist: 9 Things to DoPosted On: Jan 29, 2019
A motorcycle trip is a perfect way to combine adventure, travel, and the thrill of riding. Whether you’re setting out on a long ride or simply want to get away from it all for a weekend, planning your trip is a big part of the entire journey.
Here are the nine things to do to start planning a motorcycle trip abroad.
MAKE A WISH LIST OF LOCATIONS
When planning a motorcycle trip, one of the most important things to think about is what you love most about riding. Are you a sworn twisties fan, or are you partial to off-road tracks and quiet back country roads? It’s generally cooler in the mountains and hotter in the flatlands, and the terrain can be quite different in each. When picking your destination, always factor in the kind of riding you prefer to do.
Another key element in choosing your destination is the type of travel you enjoy. If you feel best out in the wilderness, enjoy nature and solitude and love motorcycle camping, look for mountain regions and areas with national parks and reserves. On the other hand, if you love trying out new cuisine, seeing the sights and experiencing local nightlife, pick a route that will take you through the major towns and cities.
DECIDE ON THE ROUTE
Once you know where you want to go, start planning your route. Many experienced motorcycle travelers prefer to come up with a few key highlights they want to see or experience, and then connect these points with the most scenic routes available. Another great way to put a route together is to check the EagleRider.com website where you can find numerous route recommendations from our staff tour architects who are seasoned riders. There are options for both self-guided rides as well as the very convenient self-guided tour with pre-booked hotels.
Keep an eye on your daily mileage. It is very tempting to try and do as much as you can – after all, this might be your once-a-year big motorcycle trip! When it comes to motorcycle travel, less is usually more: instead of trying to rush from one destination to another, consider traveling slowly and explore the area you’re traveling through in a relaxed, immersive way.
CHOOSE YOUR RIDE
Gone are the days when you had to ride long distances to be able to enjoy motorcycling abroad. Now, you can simply fly in, rent a bike, and go… you only need to know which bike you prefer to ride. What works best for most riders is choosing a motorcycle they already own and know well. It may be tempting to rent something bigger, faster or more powerful than what you are used to, but a familiar motorcycle will give you much more confidence and pleasure than one that is potentially not a great fit.
EagleRider offers a feature-length in-depth article on choosing the right bike for your vacation. And if you want a super simple solution, simply contact us via the web form and you’ll get one-on-one recommendations on the best bike choices.
Something else to consider is that renting a motorcycle is a great way to test-ride it without committing the full purchase price. There’s no better way to test ride a motorcycle than taking a long trip on it to see whether it meets both your aesthetic and ergonomic needs over a long distance and period of time. So if you have you sights set on something different than what you currently own and would love to test it on a trip, go for it!
In addition to familiarity, think about the distances you will be doing and the type of roads you will be riding. For both paved and gravel roads, a dual sport or adventure type bike will be your best bet. If you plan to stick to tarmac, think about comfortable cruisers, and if dirt is your calling, see if you can hire a motocross bike.
PLAN YOUR OVERNIGHT STAYS
Getting good rest is important on a motorcycle trip. You want to get up refreshed and ready for the next day’s adventure. There is a wide variety of different accommodation types available from luxurious hotels to comfortable Bed and Breakfasts to modest motels, cabins and campsites. Depending on your budget and the level of comfort you need, choose your stays before you go. This way you won’t find yourself in situations where you’re forced to ride in the dark to find a place to stay.
While reserving, check with your chosen hotel or motel to make sure they have secure parking for your motorcycle. Luckily, EagleRider rentals come with a small disc lock to secure the rental bikes when garage parking isn’t available, otherwise consider bringing your own. If you plan to camp, research the area beforehand and find out whether wild-camping is legal there. If it isn’t, stick to organized campgrounds along the way. East of the Mississippi River there is virtually no wild camping, while west of the Mississippi there is ample wild-camping on public lands.
Packing is a hotly debated topic in the motorcycling community: from extreme minimalists to comfort lovers, there just isn’t one perfect solution that fits all when it comes to packing, but here are some ideas to get you started.
Before you pack, find out what type of luggage will be available when you pick up your motorcycle. Is the motorcycle luggage provided? If you’re going on an organized tour with EagleRider, there be van support for the entire trip that will carry your luggage for you. (best of all is if you don’t know what to do with your airplane roller bags, EagleRider offers secure luggage storage at all of their locations.
There is a well thought out packing article here on the EagleRider website. If traveling internationally, make sure you don’t forget your passport, travel documents, and any medications you may need.
BE SAFETY AWARE
When you’re planning your motorcycle trip, being safe is what keeps the trip enjoyable. Sure, you’re going on an adventure – but too much adventure takes away all the fun. Make sure you have travel and medical insurance, and that the motorcycle you are hiring is insured and in a top-notch condition. If you are joining an organized tour, your safety should be their number one priority.
If you’ re heading out alone, check in with your loved ones daily and let them know your route and destination for the day. Riding into the wilderness? Carry an emergency beacon with you. This way, you will be able to call for help even when there is no cell phone service.
HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
When you start planning a motorcycle trip, see if you can come up with an alternative route. Even the best laid plans can sometimes go awry due to unexpected circumstances like rapidly changing weather, road work, and so on. If traveling in the “shoulder” seasons, this is even more important as mountain passes can close unexpectedly, or hurricanes can affect large communities close to the Atlantic Ocean.
Planning for every eventuality will quickly take the fun out of any trip, but having a plan B at the ready can be a great way to quickly change your route and still get the best out of your motorcycle trip even if the original plan is not working out. There’s a balance between over planning and staying open to unexpected opportunities as you travel, and it’s up to each traveler to figure out his or her own balance between the two.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Knowing a little bit about the country or area you plan to visit is a great strategy to enhance your experience once you arrive. Before you go, do a little research on local customs and curiosities, driving culture, and road courtesies. This will help you acclimatize faster, befriend locals, and enjoy your journey in a much more in-depth way.
MAKE FRIENDS ALONG THE WAY
If you need some help or guidance while on the road, the EagleRider experts are available to you 24/7 with support and advice. Agents are available to recommend the best routes, places to see, and things to do in the area you choose to ride. Browsing online forums and social media is also a fantastic way to connect with local riders and to find riding groups and clubs all over the world.
Planning a motorcycle trip on your own may seem a little overwhelming when you first begin, but if you break it up into smaller parts it’s much easier to deal with each step at a time. Don’t try to nail down everything all at once. Think about a rough outline of your trip, then write out a plan and work on each component separately. That way, prepping becomes much less complicated and you finish up quicker. Before you know it, your trip will be booked, and you will be ready to ride!