Text by Melanie Merritt
Photo by Florian Neuhauser
Planning your dream vacation shouldn’t be a nightmare. Especially when you’re enlisting the help of a tour operator. But between researching where you want to go and calculating how much it’s all going to cost (Wait, do I pay for my own gas?) it’s easy to get stressed out before you’ve even started to pack. Here are five things you should consider when planning your next big motorcycle adventure.
1. Develop expectations for your trip:
Most people decide to go on a trip with a destination in mind, but not all of us consider what kind of overall experience we want to have. Ask yourself some of these questions before you begin your research.
How many miles do I want to ride per day?
Do I enjoy riding in a group or would I rather ride alone?
What expectations do I have for my accommodations? (Realize that the lodging in some countries may be different than what you’re used to.)
How many free days for sightseeing do I expect?
Should I choose a tour with a support vehicle? (Tours without support vehicles generally require that you pack a lot lighter.)
2. Talk to an expert or someone who’s already been there
The first time I went to Times Square in New York I was pretty shocked at its small size and, well, I wasn’t that impressed. Before you decide on a destination for your next big motorcycle trip, talk to someone who’s actually been where you want to go. And with so many great resources available on the Internet, you may not have to know someone personally. Create an account on TripAdvisor to read personal reviews. MatadorNetwork.com is also a great resource for interesting and personal travel stories and photos.
3. Find affordable airfare ahead of time
According to BBC Travel consultant Sean O’Neill, to get the best deal on flights you need to make your purchase on a Tuesday, in the afternoon, about three weeks in advance for domestic U.S. tickets and around 34 days in advance for international flights. Read the whole article here.
4. Familiarize yourself with the not-so-fun parts of your trip
Paperwork…who needs it? None of us are really that fond of reading handouts or filling out forms. That’s probably one of the reasons you chose a tour operator instead of planning the trip on your own. But here is a list of resources that you may want to checkout:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention The CDC publicly lists information you need to know about immunizations when you travel.
Travel State This website helps you figure out passport/visa regulations that pertain to your trip.
The Weather Channel Website The Weather Channel is a great resource for annual forecasts and for planning in general.
DMV Research the traffic laws of the countries you plan to visit.