Motorcycling Touring Tips Checklist
We've put together a complete guide with all the motorcycle touring tips and tricks you need to know when planning a trip, whether it's a short weekend away in the UK or a long-distance adventure abroad.
As well as providing a general checklist for planning a safe and successful trip, we've also included some specific tips for travelling abroad in Europe. So if you're planning a motorcycling trip to France, for example, then make sure you take a look at the advice below.
- Get your bike serviced
Have your bike serviced before your departure date to ensure that it is running smoothly and no problems can occur during your trip.
- MOT and Tax
Make sure you have plenty of time left on your MOT and Tax, so it doesn't run out on holiday as it could invalidate your insurance.
Ask your insurer details regarding what happens if you have an accident or your bike is stolen during your trip. It’s better to know what your bike insurance does and does not cover for before you go away.
- Driving licence
Take your driving licence and keep it on your person at all times.
- Breakdown cover
Check with your current breakdown provider that you are covered to travel abroad and exactly what the policy covers. The last thing you want to do is travel abroad, break down and not be able to get you or your bike back to the UK.
- Spare bulbs
These don’t take up a lot of space and can be the difference between you being able to travel at night or being stuck in the middle of nowhere with zero visibility.
- Spare keys and immobiliser
Always take a spare set of keys and an extra immobiliser remote with you on your journey. Pack them in a separate location, or better still, if you have a pillion, let them look after them.
Invest in suitable luggage, even if it’s just a bike rack. Using bungee strapping for loose bags and equipment over the pillion seat is a recipe for disaster.
- Packing tips
When packing luggage/panniers, always pack equipment/belongings that you may need on the journey on the nearside of the bike. This means you don’t have to stand and unpack whilst in the road with your back to flowing traffic.
Prepare yourself for the most easy-to-fix eventualities by taking a small suitable tool kit. As well as a bulb kit, pack fuses, cable ties, insulation tape, jubilee clips, 1 Litre of engine oil, warning triangle and a puncture repair kit.
- Test your kits
Learn how to use your puncture repair kit before you embark on a journey. That way, if the inevitable happens, you already know the process, rather than trying to figure it out on a cold dark night in the rain in a layby.
- Additional kit
Earplugs are crucial if you are going to be on the roads for hours and it’s important to use Hi-Vis clothing for rainy or low light level conditions.
Invest in a traditional motorbike travel map, these are great for planning routes and helping you find nearby towns or villages you may want to stop off at. Smart phones/sat-navs are great to get you from A to B, but are awkward to navigate if you don’t know where you are.
Check out locations of petrol stations for your proposed route before you start the journey. They can become few a far between if you’re travelling away from cities or in very rural areas. A good rule of thumb: cover all of your essentials in one stop; take a rest, eat some food, and fill your tank
You can check out more in-depth guides to many of these tips such as what’s the best luggage to use, by viewing touring expert Nathan Milward’s series of guides, here.
Just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean you can relax when looking after your bike.
BikeSocial have tested all the leading motorbike locks and chains on the market so you can pick the right product for home or on the move. Get the right gear for you and always do the following when you can:
- If you have to leave your bike, leave it somewhere where there are lots of people and secure it to something solid.
- Never keep your ignition key and your bike lock/security device key on the same key ring.
- Always set your bike alarm
- If you stop for lunch, then park somewhere where you can see your bike.
- Choose a hotel that has a secure garage or parking.
- If you are unlucky enough to get something stolen, then report it to the police immediately.
Motorcycle Touring Tips for Europe
Planning on biking abroad? Some countries require you to legally carry certain items, so always make sure you check what you need to have with you before setting off.
Take a look at the following tips below to help you cover all other bases when going on a motorbike tour in Europe:
- Motorcycle Insurance
Check with your current insurance provider to make sure you are fully insured to travel within the EU. Remember, all Bennetts policies come with 90 day EU cover as standard. Not with us? You can get a quote here. We will search several top UK insurers within our panel to get you our best rate on your insurance cover.
Make sure you always carry your passport. This is not only useful to get back into the country but also required to register at many continental camp sites/hotels and useful to have if you are crossing a number of borders in your trip.
- Vehicle registration document
All EU countries request that you keep the original V5 document with you during your travels for proof that the vehicle is registered to you. In France the police can detain you if you can't prove ownership of your bike.
- Motorcycle Travel Insurance
Make sure you are covered to travel abroad. It is best to use the EHIC form as a back up to your existing travel insurance policy.
- EHIC form
The form for the European Health Insurance Card is available at most Post Offices and is useful to have if you are taken ill abroad and need treatment.
- UK Sticker
You don’t need a UK sticker if your number plate already has the ‘UK’ identifier and Union flag on it.
However, if your number plate says ‘GB’ with the Union flag, the Euro symbol, the England, Scotland or Wales flags, or has no flags at all, then you do need to display a UK sticker clearly on the rear of the vehicle.
In Spain, Cyprus or Malta you must display a UK sticker regardless of what’s on the number place, and if you have a GB sticker, you need to cover or remove it before driving outside the UK. You don’t need a UK sticker to ride or drive in Ireland.
For the latest information, check the government site here.
- Mobile phone
If you plan to take your mobile with you, check with your provider to make sure phone calls can be made and received abroad if necessary. Always ask what the charges will be for the country you intend to travel in so that way there are no surprises when you come home to your bill!
- Continental adapter
This a handy thing to pack as it will allow you to charge your mobile phone or other electrical items you may carry with you on your journey.
- Tie downs
These are really useful for the ferry crossing to ensure your motorcycle is stable and secure and not going to move around.
- Camping card international
If you're planning to go camping whilst abroad, Camping Card International might be a valuable investment as you receive good discounts at many campsites and tourist attractions.
Bennetts customers can also gain some fantastic discounts on accommodation with Eurocamp and motorcycle accessories through BikeSocial membership. Simply sign up with your policy number here to see how much you can save.
As well as doing all you can to prevent theft, when travelling abroad, never leave valuables with your bike when you’re not riding as it could make the situation a lot worse.
- Don't leave credit cards, passports, travel documentation with your bike. Without them you are in trouble.
- Use traveller's cheques rather than keeping cash on you. If traveller's cheques go missing they are easy to replace.