Motorcycle Travel FAQ

Welcome to the Motorcycle Travel FAQ. Ask questions in the comments and we’ll add them (and the answers) to this article. 

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Contents

Motorcycle Travel FAQ

Welcome to this FAQ page. We regularly receive emails asking similar questions about getting started with motorcycle travel, how to go on a trip and questions about life on the road. So, to make it easier, we’ve collected the most commonly asked questions and placed them here. Feel free to ask more questions in the comments and we’ll add them to the article. 

We are also asked a bunch of questions specific to our round the world trip, and we placed those in a separate article. Check that one out here.

READ MORE: Questions We’re Always Asked

How do I pick a destination or route?

It’s different for everyone. Some people just want to see the world and don’t mind where they go. So for them, it can be as easy as closing their eyes and pointing at a map. Others may have always wanted to ride the Silk Road, or spend a year pottering through Southeast Asia or ride from the top to bottom of the Americas. 

Think hard about where you’ve always wanted to go and what you want to see in the world. Then look at paperwork requirements to get yourself in, then how to get your  bike in and see if it’s doable and how you’d get there. And of course, if taking your own bike is too expensive or takes too much time, then just fly in and rent one

Check out our Destination guides for some inspiration.

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What motorcycle should I take?

This is a really common question and there’s no right or wrong answer. It depends on where you’re going and what you’re doing, what you want from your bike, your budget and what you love riding. We actually have an article dedicated to helping you choose a motorcycle for travelling below where we go into a lot of detail on how to choose your bike.

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What riding gear do I need?

It depends where you’re going and your budget. But overall, your gear needs to be safe and protective, comfortable and suited to the conditions and elements you’re travelling through. Have a read of our How to Choose Your Adventure Riding Gear guide next.

READ MORE: Riding Gear Guides

What luggage should I take?

Hard vs soft luggage is the long-debated question of motorcycle travellers. Put simply, soft panniers for off-road and hard panniers for asphalt. For more info, we have a specific guide already written answering hard vs soft and more guides on the different luggage setups and options out there in our luggage guides section. 

READ MORE: Motorcycle Luggage Guides

How much does a motorcycle trip cost?

This is completely dependent on where and how you’re travelling. If you’re on a rental motorcycle in Norway and staying in hotels every night then the answer is a small fortune. If you bought an old 250cc dirt bike to ride through Southeast Asia and stay in homestays then the answer is next to nothing.

You can make it exceptionally expensive or incredibly cheap. On our round the world trip we spend around £25 a day all in for the two of us – including petrol, food, drink and accommodation. We have a separate budget for visas and shipping. In very expensive countries this budget increases a lot, but then in cheaper countries we try and go under the £25 to make up for it by camping etc.

For more info on budgeting, money advice and how to travel cheap, have a read of this guide. And if you’re interested in earning money as you travel have a read of the Making Money guide too. 

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Do I need motorcycle insurance?

There are two types of insurance when it comes to motorcycle travel. First up is your personal travel insurance. This is separate from the motorcycle and does not cover your bike in any way if it’s stolen or damaged. This is health insurance. It’s extremely important to have. For example, Alissa had a bad crash in Nepal and our insurance company forked out £20,000. Make sure you’re covered.

You should get this cover before leaving on your trip and carefully read the policy to make sure you are definitely covered. There are a lot of caveats in the fine print, such as the bike has to be a certain capacity, or you can’t use it as your main mode of transport, or it’s only valid for 30 days etc. Check our insurance guide below.

Secondly is motorcycle insurance. This is a legal requirement for a lot of countries. Different countries have different rules. For example in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Europe etc insurance is strict and you must have it to ride on the roads. You’ll have to purchase this insurance via the phone or online. There are some countries where you can just buy the insurance at the border and some that won’t even need it. Every country is different so you’ll need to do your research on each one. 

Bear in mind, it’s extremely rare (other than in countries like the US etc) that you can buy insurance that will cover your bike for theft or damage. Normally it is third party only.

READ MORE: Motorcycle Travel Insurance Explained

How do I get my own bike into other countries?

Paperwork is the biggest headache for any motorcycle traveller. To get your motorcycle into a country it is not registered in requires either a Carnet de Passage or a Temporary Import. Every country has their own rules and restrictions, length of time you are allowed to keep your bike in and cost for doing so. Some countries you can extend this time and some you can’t. You will need to research the customs requirements for each country individually. We have dedicated articles for each country we travel through in the Destinations section where we explain the entry requirements. 

Have a read of our travel paperwork guide for more info on this.

READ MORE: Motorcycle Travel Paperwork Explained

How do I sort visas while on the road?

If you’re in the planning stages of your motorcycle trip and are going for up to a year, then you can probably sort most of your visas before you leave. A lot of entry visas can also be arranged online these days.

Visas can be tricky if you’re on an extended and long-term trip. But not impossible. This is because your visa may expire by the time you reach the country. So you will have to visit embassies along the way. Using iOverlander (a free phone app) will help show you where these embassies are, opening times and procedures etc. Bear in mind, some countries (like Pakistan) require you to get the visa from the embassy in your home country. There are, however, not many countries with this requirement.

How do I deal with bribes?

Don’t panic. Unfortunately, it’s part of motorcycle travel and something you may have to deal with dependent on where you travel in the world. We put together a dedicated guide to help answer this question.

READ MORE: How to Deal With Bribes on the Road

How do I communicate with locals?

This is a really fun part of travelling. Learning a few words before you enter that country and a huge smile make all the difference. Communication isn’t a problem, but is something quite a few people worry about. Charades, pens and paper, the internet, Google Translate and having pics of things on your phone in an easy access folder makes it easy and fun. Have a read of this guide for more info.

READ MORE: How to Communicate When You Don’t Know the Language

How long does it take to prepare for a motorcycle trip?

Preparing for a motorcycle adventure is very subjective. Some people pack it all in and leave within a week, some spend years preparing. It completely depends on your own personal circumstances and how ‘prepared’ you want to be.

Firstly, you’ve got your finances to consider and how long you need in advance to accumulate your budget. That’s of course completely down to you.

Preparing your bike, luggage and gear is the easy bit. Once you’ve decided on what you want, it’s just a case of finding time to put it all together.

What really soaks up time though is the research into where you’re going and how long for. If you’re going to be travelling through multiple countries and continents then you need to account for so much more, including: shipping, visa and entry requirements, timeframes in each country and visa/ import extensions, where to get spares for servicing, tyres etc. This can take a lot longer to plan than say a European tour.

So, there’s not really a definitive answer into how long it takes to prepare for a motorcycle trip. It’s down to what you’re doing, where you’re going, how long for, your personal finances and how prepared you want to be. But if you are thinking about going on a trip, then start planning yesterday and go!

What costs the most on big trips?

The most expensive aspect of a long term or round the world motorcycle trip is shipping. If you’re travelling round the world on a motorcycle then this is impossible to avoid. With careful planning and good research, you can keep your shipping costs down to a minimum. For example, carefully calculating the differences between sea and air freight from and to certain countries. Have a read of our shipping guides for more info.

READ MORE: Motorcycle Shipping Guides

Do I need experience?

No. Certainly not. But of course, if you’re thinking of heading out the front door for a round-the-world ride and you’ve never travelled on a bike before, then it might be worth going on a few smaller trips first.

You’ll quickly figure out how what you do and don’t need or if you’ve missed any important items of your pack list, you’ll be able to iron out any snags on the bike like an uncomfortable seat or handlebar height etc.

But, you do not need to be a mechanical genius, expert off-roader or travel extraordinaire. Many accomplished and seasoned motorcycle travellers just decided to go for it one day with no experience at all. Anyone can do it.

READ MORE: What They Don’t Tell You About Motorcycle Travel  

What do I need to pack for a motorcycle trip?

We have a bunch of great guides on packing for bike trips that answer this question in loads of detail. The first one below lists everything you need. Of course, you can easily remove the obvious bits you don’t need if you’re not planning a RTW world.  

READ MORE: Motorcycle Trip Packing Guides

If you have any questions about motorcycle travel, just post them in the comments below and we’ll answer and add it to the article. We’d love to hear from you!

Read more on motorcycle travel

Thanks for checking out The Motorcycle Travel FAQ. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycle travel that we recommend you read next. 

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