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Motorcycle Touring Tips - Advice for Long Distance Travel

I've learned a few things from our travels, what I call motorcycle touring tips - especially from the trips that we've taken out of the States. I have learned that while it would be helpful to learn the language of the country to which I am traveling, it is not impossible to communicate what you need to communicate in a foreign country. Most people will go out of their way to try to help motorcycle travelers. Through the use of maps, gesturing and some English, you can learn what you need to know.

It is useful to learn some basic words - bathroom, gasoline, hotel - think of what you may need to ask for, and then with the help of a translation book, figure out the words you need to learn. We always travel with a language book, and I usually spend some time on the flight figuring out some basic words.

A festival street somewhere in Burgundy, France
Other Motorcycle Touring Tips:

- Be respectful of cultural traditions.

- Learn the meaning of traffic signs.

- Obey speed limits, especially when traveling through little towns.

- If you get lost, don't panic. Be calm, use your map and find someone who is willing to help.

- Keep in mind that some gas stations in Europe use special cards, and thus are not accessible. Also, very few gas stations operate 24 hours a day.

Bob Posing for a Picture at Scenic Crater Lake

Bob posing for a picture at scenic Crater Lake

- Extra insurance is a great idea. Check with the touring company to see what they offer, and also consult with your automobile insurance company. Mishaps do happen, and it's much better to be prepared. (That's why some people call it adventure motorcycle touring).

- One of my most favorite motorcycle touring tips: Stop to experience what the country has to offer. It's more than just barreling at top speed through mountainous roads. Take a train ride, spend an afternoon in a little village, stop at a few museums. Meet some locals, get to know the waitress who serves you dinner. Have your picture sketched by an artist in a plaza. You will remember these times along with those hours spent on the bike.

- Make sure that you take the right gear, including boots and raingear that you will allow you to both ride and sight see in comfort.

- Make sure that you take an International Travel Adapter Plug Set. If you are traveling in a foreign country, don't rely on the travel store salesperson to give you the right adapter. Trust me on this one.

- Travel with the basic OTC medications - anti-nausea, anti-diarrhea, analgesics, Benadryl for allergic reactions. Also check to see if you need to have any preventative medications or immunizations if traveling to an exotic destination. Dysentery can really ruin a 2 week vacation. (And always go for the bottled water - ALWAYS.)

- I highly recommend that you keep a travel journal documenting your trip and things that you want to remember about each day. Even though you believe that you will never forget your experience - trust me, you will certainly forget some of the very things that you want to remember.

A Castle In France

A real life castle in France

- Take a camera, with plenty of room for pictures. I have needed to find an extra memory stick for my digital camera on a few vacations. Now, I travel with two, and a charger and many extra batteries.

- Be flexible. Sometimes things just don't go as planned, but don't let that ruin the experience. As stated frequently by a very wise friend after a ride through a hail storm: "We're making memories right now."

- If you are traveling alone, make sure that you have emergency equipment, identification and contact information. It's probably a good idea to investigate some survival equipment.

- In all likelihood, you will spend months planning your motorcycle tour, and will invest some bucks. Travel Insurance Plans can provide you with coverage for unexpected medical expenses while on a trip.

- In reality, most of these motorcycle touring tips are just common sense - something that can be in short supply when the excitement of the trip overwhelms you.

Most of All, Enjoy Your Grand Adventure

Rocky Mountain High

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