No matter if you’re looking for a new canoe for your fishing holiday or reading about the coolest beach destination, planning a trip for you and your family is not easy. If you decided on a motorcycle adventure, you should always be prepared for all types of weather and bring enough cash and food with you.
With only 10 paid vacation days per year, on average, it’s no wonder Americans try to make the most out of their time away from their jobs. Whether it’s a trip to Africa, visiting relatives in another state or booking a luxurious beach resort, it’s all about the quality time you get to spend with your friends and family to recharge your batteries and be able to face the challenges of your job or school for another year.
However, those who are more adventurous and don’t find pleasure in sipping cocktails on the beach all day long can indulge on a motorcycle trip. Here is everything you need to know to properly prepare for a long ride.
Decide on a road
There are hundreds of good roads for motorcycle enthusiasts across the country but you should pick one according to your preferences and level of training.
If you want to see as much as possible from the country, you should also consider the length of the trip. Newbies should stick to a journey across a few neighboring states while more experienced drivers can pick any state in the country.
Ideally, a motorcycle trip should last anywhere between 10 and 21 days, depending on what you want to see and how much you are planning on riding daily. Keep in mind that you also need enough time to eat, rest, and enjoy the scenery.
California and Florida have some of the most iconic routes for bike enthusiasts, filled with beautiful beaches and wildlife. Those who are looking for something out of the ordinary can also pack for a trip through Alaska or any other state near the Canadian border.
Consider the season
Another thing to take into account when planning a trip on your motorbike is the right season. It depends on the length of your journey and the climate of the state(s) you will be crossing.
The best season to go on a trip with your motorbike is summer because you get plenty of daylight and can enjoy the warm weather. However, some states like Florida and California have year-round good weather, meaning you can plan your trip anytime you want. If you want to avoid hot temperatures, late spring (May), and early fall (September) are the perfect months.
Traveling on your motorcycle is different from traveling by car, so you need to pack accordingly. Forget about bulky suitcases crammed in the trunk as you will have very limited space in the back of a motorcycle.
Saddlebags and duffle bags are the most convenient types of luggage to bring with you on your trip as they are made of lightweight materials and are flexible, meaning you can stuff another hoodie or a light jacket.
You should pack your luggage according to your destination, time of the year, and the places where you will be sleeping at night. If you opt for hotels, motels or rented apartments, you don’t need to bring too many toiletries with you as they can be provided by the staff members. The same goes for pots and cooking utensils as you will be mainly eating out.
If you’re looking for a budget adventure on two wheels, camping tools and a sleeping bag are mandatory. Make sure to only bring the basics with you, and opt for lightweight pots, kitchen tools, and other products.
No matter the time of the year and the destination, you should always pack some warm clothes with you. A sweater, a rain jacket, and some warm socks must be in your travel bag, especially if you plan your trip in early fall.
Apart from that, you’ll also have to think about your riding gear. Opt for quality products that offer both comfort and protection since you will be riding for at least 4-5 hours a day. Consider the materials and their freedom of movement and worry less about style.
Shoes are also important so bring a couple of pairs with you. We don’t recommend wearing flat-soled sneakers or shoes when riding for many hours as they won’t provide the support your feet need. Instead, opt for a pair of biker leather boots that will keep your feet cool and dry no matter the weather and temperatures outside.
If you’re expecting a bumpy ride, you should also consider some elbow and knee guards for extra protection. Some motorcycle jeans also come with extra padding and protection for your knees and bottom, while leather gloves remain mandatory.
Don’t forget about a protective helmet and other accessories that might make your ride more comfortable. A pair of earplugs will protect your ears from wind and loud noises on the highway, while a camera mounted on your helmet can help you in unforeseen situations.
Drinking enough water is crucial whenever you plan a long journey, especially if you’re riding during the summertime. Temperatures can easily exceed 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit and not even the wind will cool you down for too long. Therefore, you need to make sure your body stays hydrated to be able to properly focus on the road.
If you are on a tight schedule and don’t want to stop every hour for a hydration break, there are plenty of bottles specifically designed for those riding motorcycles.
A hydration pack also comes with a long tube you can use without stopping, while the insulating bag will keep your water bottle cold for many hours.
Those who are on a tight budget can easily lower their expenses by packing snacks and foods instead of eating at diners and restaurants three times a day. Nuts, apples, protein bars, peanut butter, cans, hummus, and meat sticks can be easily found in the snack pack of any motorcycle enthusiast. They are rich in proteins and fats, meaning they will keep your belly full for hours, saving you at least $20 daily.
However, make sure the foods you bring with you are suitable for a long journey and won’t go bad after a few hours or one day.
For instance, as delicious and nutritious bananas are, they won’t stay fresh for more than a couple of hours in your bag, meaning you can’t bring them with you. The same goes for most fruits, including berries, peaches, and melons. Dairy products like milk, yogurt or cheese should also be avoided.
On the other hand, dry fruits, carrots, cucumbers or pepper sticks are not only healthy but also low in calories, providing a balanced meal.
Eat at off-hours
Another way to save money on food without starving or packing too many snacks is to reschedule your eating hours.
Usually, breakfast is served between 7 and 8.30 AM, while most people take their lunch break around 12 PM or 1 PM. During this time, most diners and restaurants on the highway will be packed with tourists or locals, so you may want to avoid them if you don’t want to wait in line for too long.
By readjusting your eating habits with one hour you will be saving a lot of time and avoid the hassle of overcrowded restaurants.
Remember that the whole purpose of your trip is to enjoy the scenery and not reaching your destination as soon as possible. Therefore, take breaks as often as you want to stretch, rest your eyes, eat, hydrate, and enjoy the beauties of nature.
Breaks are essential to keep you focused on the road and maintain your body in good shape so never push yourself too hard on the highway. Ideally, you should take a 10-minute break every hour and a half of riding to keep your body and brain alert.
Apart from that, we also recommend a one-hour break for lunch. You should avoid riding during the night as well as you won’t be able to keep your eyes focused on the road all the time. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep before any trip that will take more than two hours.