Two-wheel travel: Paperwork and red tape

Author: Geoff Hill Posted: 13 Aug 2013

Paperwork and red tape: an idiot’s guide from one who knows because he is...

1. Essential reading

Chris Scott has a lot to answer for. I was reading his Adventure Motorbiking Handbook in bed one night in 2004 when I got to the bit about the Pan-American Highway, at 16,500 miles from Chile to Alaska the longest road in the world.

It sounded so brilliant that the next day I went looking for every book I could find on it, only to find there weren’t any.

Oh well, I thought, I’d better ride it and write one.

Adventure Motorcycling Handbook

Now called The Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, Chris Scott’s book is still an invaluable guide for anyone planning to head for the horizon.

Other books I’ve found inspiring include The World's Great Adventure Motorcycle Routes by Robert Wicks, a guide in words, pictures and maps to 30 great routes, and the similar Great Motorcycle Journeys of the World by Colette Coleman.

For pure inspiration, favourites are Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon, One Man Caravan by Robert Fulton, and The Rugged Road by Theresa Wallach

One Man Caravan

Naturally, modesty prevents me from naming any of my own bike adventure books: Way to Go, The Road to Gobblers Knob, Oz and In Clancy’s Boots - they’re all on Amazon as well.

2. Visas

By far the easiest way to organise these, especially if you live outside London or a major city, is to use a one-stop visa agency, which is more expensive but well worth the lack of hassle. I’ve found Visa Express very helpful and friendly.

3. Insurance

Bennetts’ standard policies include up to 90 days cover in EU countries or countries which aren’t full EU members but have signed up to the EU driving directive. For cover outside the EU, click here or call 0330 018 7990 and the referrals team will see what they can do.

Outside Europe, a good source of information is the insurance forum on Horizons Unlimited and in the USA, I’ve found Motorcycle Services expensive but efficient and friendly.

4. Dosh

Forget cash. Forget traveller’s cheques. Take a credit card. The end.

Either preload it with enough money for the trip, or sign up for the online banking facility most banks offer now and transfer money from other accounts to stay in credit.

The only disadvantage is a fee, typically 3.5%, for cash withdrawals.

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