Planning a long-distance motorcycle tour can be daunting, with many variables to consider. The best way to plan such a trip is to research the route you plan to take and ensure it’s suitable for your needs and experience level.
Additionally, make sure to have all necessary kit and equipment, as well as an emergency plan in case something goes wrong.
Finally, remember that having fun should be the main priority of any long-distance motorcycle tour!
With the correct planning, touring can be an incredibly rewarding experience. By taking the time to properly prepare, you’ll set yourself up for success so that you can enjoy every moment of your journey!
This is how we go about planning a long-distance motorcycle tour.
Let Your Mind Wander
Letting your mind wander is the first and most important step when planning a long-distance motorcycle tour. Allow yourself to dream and come up with ideas for the route you will take, the stops you will make, and the adventure that awaits you.
Start by thinking about where you want to go and why – what kind of scenery do you want to experience, what places do you want to explore, and how long can you realistically expect the trip to take?
Consider the roads you’ll ride and the skills and setup you’ll need to ride them. Will you travel alone, with a pillion, or as part of a group?
Let all these things go through your mind and see what feels right.
Plan a Long-Distance Motorcycle Trip: Decide How Much Time You Have
Deciding how much time you have for your long-distance motorcycle tour is a significant factor to consider. And it’s one many get wrong! But this will determine the length of your trip, the route you take, and the places you visit.
Start by looking at your calendar and assessing which dates you can commit to. Consider how far you can ride in a day and how many hours you can spend in the saddle. This will help you map out a rough timeline for your journey to ensure it is feasible for your time frame.
Nothing is set in stone at this point. But you need a realistic idea of how long this epic trip will take!
Consider Miles/Hours To Ride Each Day
When planning a long-distance motorcycle tour, we must consider how many miles or hours we can realistically ride each day. The amount of time in the saddle will vary depending on numerous factors, like weather, terrain, and your physical capabilities as a rider.
It’s key to plan a route that accounts for these factors whilst allowing for rest stops, sightseeing, and overnight stays.
As above, be realistic in your expectations. Whilst 400-mile/10-hour days seem manageable from the comfort of your couch, the reality is very different.
Related: Motorcycle Touring Miles Per Day: Prioritise TIME Instead!
Zoom In On Your Decided Location When you Plan a Long-Distance Motorcycle Trip
Zooming in on your decided location is the next step in planning a long-distance motorcycle tour. First, consider what terrain and climate conditions you can expect to encounter.
From here, research the roads, the potential routes you might ride, and any sightseeing opportunities.
Finally, read up on any restrictions or regulations you may need to keep in mind, as well as local customs and cultural norms.
Plot Your Wishlist
Plotting your wishlist is another pivotal phase when planning a long-distance motorcycle tour. Start by making a list of places you want to go and experiences you would like to have along the way.
This could include specific cities, attractions, natural wonders, or even overnight stays. Look for interesting locations and activities within the route you have mapped out, and begin plotting an outline of your journey.
You’ll likely find that most of them bunch in one particular region, whilst one or two stray too far out of that area. If this is the case, let the straddlers go rather than adding miles/days to fit them in – you can always revisit another time!
Plan a Long-Distance Motorcycle Trip: Start Route Planning
Once you have completed the previous steps in planning your long-distance motorcycle tour, it’s time to start route planning.
Many resources are available to help with this process, such as Facebook groups, Best Biking Roads, Motorcycle Diaries, and YouTube videos.
Seek out valuable information on the best routes, popular stops and attractions. You can even find tips on where to find the best food and lodging.
Additionally, talking to other experienced riders can be a great way to plan your route, as they may offer advice you wouldn’t find in research alone.
Plot An Outline Of Your Route
This is just a rough outline and can be done using Google Maps or your route planner of choice. Drop pins and let the software come up with ways to connect them.
From this basic outline, asses if your route is realistic or if you’re looking at it through rose-tinted glasses.
Don’t forget to include lunch stops, coffee breaks, sightseeing time, and account for traffic, as these can add time on to your day.
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Plan a Long-Distance Motorcycle Trip: Look For Places To Stay
Once you have plotted an outline of your route, you now need to ensure there are places to stay overnight along the way.
To do this, research campsites or hotels near your planned route. Book ahead if possible, particularly during peak season, as many places can be fully booked (more on this below.)
Consider using online booking sites such as Booking.com to help with the process. Additionally, remember to allow for some flexibility where possible, and be prepared to change your route if needed.
Accommodation is essential when planning a long-distance motorcycle tour – in terms of practicality and cost. Whilst it’s possible to camp, most riders will want to find accommodation along the way.
There are plenty of options available, from camping sites and hostels to hotels and motels. Research the area you plan to visit and get an idea of the available accommodation.
Additionally, consider your budget for lodging when planning your route to ensure you stay within your means. It’s wise to do this now. The last thing you want to do is plan your route in meticulous detail only to find there’s nowhere to stop along the way.
Related: Motorcycle Camping Gear Checklist
Getting There & Back
Getting to and from your chosen destination is one of those things many forget about when planning a long-distance motorcycle tour. But it can ruin your entire trip if you get it wrong.
Make sure you plan out your route carefully so you can easily get to and from your destination without any problems. Consider whether you will be taking the same route coming and going or if you will be taking different routes in each direction.
Work out how you will get to and from the start/end point – will you use the Eurotunnel or get the ferry to Santander, Belgium, or Holland?
Add these additional times onto your route in the preliminary phase, as it can add a couple of days onto your route.
Check With Your Calendar
Once you have mapped out your ideal route and chosen a destination, check your calendar to ensure your trip is possible.
First, consider any unmissable events you might need to attend, such as birthdays, anniversaries, or family trips.
Additionally, ensure you can get the necessary time off from work!
Plan a Long-Distance Motorcycle Trip: Do Your Admin!
This is the time to break out the notepad and pen! Make a list of the things you need to do on the build-up to your trip.
This might include booking your bike in for service, fitting new tyres, considering European breakdown/insurance cover, your luggage setup, and kit requirements.
Depending on where you are in the world (and where you’re travelling to), it may also include visa applications and other legal requirements.
Also, jot down how much these things will cost, as you’ll need them for the next step.
Cost calculations are an essential part of planning a long-distance motorcycle tour, as they will help you understand all the expenses you are likely to incur.
Consider fuel costs along the route and other associated expenses, such as meals, accommodation, and sightseeing. This is an important step as it makes the cost of what you’re planning a reality.
You’ll need to put your sensible head on to ascertain whether you can (or can’t) afford it. To be safe, add a buffer of 20-25% – because things are almost always more expensive than you think!
If You Can’t Afford It
If you can’t afford your long-distance motorcycle tour, don’t panic! There are plenty of ways to make it work without breaking the bank. Consider saving up and budgeting for the trip over a period of time until you have enough money saved to cover the cost.
Alternatively, look into alternative trips that may be more suitable for your budget. These can be just as rewarding and enjoyable as a long-distance tour.
Ultimately, it’s better to do it later and be comfortable than do it now and be worried about every penny you spend.
Related: Cut Costs On Your Motorcycle Trip (The 3 Biggest Ways)
Once you have calculated the cost of your long-distance motorcycle tour, double-checked that there are no conflicts with your calendar, and plotted an outline of your route, it’s time to start booking.
Depending on how far in advance you plan your trip, you may want to book flights, hotels, or campsites to ensure your availability. Additionally, if you are attending any events along the way, ensure you book those tickets in advance.
However, the simple precautions below will help with any changes you may need to implement further down the line.
Take precautions when booking accommodations and transportation when planning a long-distance motorcycle tour.
Whenever possible, find hotels and other accommodations with free cancellation policies. This way, if an unforeseen circumstance arises that affects your travel plans, you can cancel your reservation penalty-free.
Additionally, when booking transport, aim for providers with flexible policies in case of delays or cancellations.
The Best Way to Plan a Long-Distance Motorcycle Tour: Conclusion
Planning a long-distance motorcycle tour requires careful consideration and research.
From researching the route and budgeting for kit to coordinating dates and booking accommodation, there are many steps involved in planning a successful long-distance motorcycle tour.
By following these tips, you can ensure your next trip is safe yet enjoyable. So get out and start planning that trip you’ve been dreaming of!