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Plan your bike trip: what paperwork do I need?

By Nathan Millward

Round the world adventurer Nathan Millward rode home to the East Midlands from Australia on a 105cc Australian postal bike (he didn’t like flying). He’s since ridden across America to Alaska, writing two brilliant books about the experience.



Plan your bike trip: what paperwork do I need?


Paperwork can often be the worst part of planning any trip, mainly because it's hard to know where to start. Things to consider include bike insurance, visa requirements, and then international documents such as the Carnet de Passage. If you're travelling in the UK and Europe it's sensible to carry the bike's log book, the insurance documents and, if you're on the continent, proof of health insurance as well. Try and have these handy, maybe in your tank bag or side pocket of your pannier. If you do have to produce them then it's easier and less stressful if they're there to hand.

Make sure your passport's up to date and has enough legibility remaining to cover your trip and the six months extra that some countries require. A good place to check what documents a country needs is the Foreign Office, with up-to-date advice at Make use of forums such as or one of the Facebook groups such as UK Adventure Riders. Riders with recent experience are often on hand to impart information and thread together all the little bits that can seem daunting for someone setting out for the first time. For information on the Carnet de Passage visit, though that document only applies if you're heading into Africa, South East Asia or taking your bike over to Australia.

If you are planning a trip to Iceland, the paperwork is minimal. The advice would be to take your driving licence, log book, insurance document and passport. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be any breakdown cover available for Iceland, though rental and guiding company Biking Viking, based in Reykjavik, also have workshop facilities and can recover your bike anywhere in Iceland. 


Do I need travel insurance?

Just like any holiday, a trip on a motorcycle – be it in the UK, Europe or beyond – can be ruined by delays, lost documents, illness and more. There are plenty of travel insurance options, but you need to make sure you get a policy that includes riding motorcycles, and if it does, that it's for bikes of the engine size you'll be riding (many only cover up to 250cc). At its most basic, you should look for insurance that provides cover for the following: 

  • Medical expenses

  • Loss or theft of personal possessions

  • Lost or delayed luggage

  • Loss of your passport and other documents

  • Travel delays and disruptions

  • Having to cut your holiday short

In addition though, if you’re taking a motorcycle (or you're renting one while you’re away) be sure that your insurer will cover you for any medical expenses, should you have an accident. You must also think about where you’re riding – some policies won’t cover you if you’re trail or enduro riding, or if you’re on a race track. Remember – this isn’t about your bike being covered, it’s about your medical expenses, should the worst happen.

If you're only going away once, a single-trip policy will likely be all you need, but also consider an annual policy, which could extend to cover your family holidays too (a good insurer should also be able to offer cover for your whole family). 

Read all of BikeSocial’s motorcycle adventure planning tips here.


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