A two-wheeled ride is an exciting way to travel. Unlike peering through a window of a bus or car, you feel like you’re part of the landscape on a motorcycle tour, not just a tourist watching it rush past. Get a 360-degree view of the scenery as you come down through a mountain pass or taste the salt in the air as you maneuver along curving oceanside highways.
When you're leaning into turns, feeling the wind on your face, and gripping the handlebars, you're not getting from one place to another. Traveling by motorcycle lets you experience the exotic sights and sounds of your destination.
And part of the fun of touring in a motorcycle group is the camaraderie that comes from days of riding together. You're all experiencing the same heat, the same cold, and the same rain. But it's not just that you're conquering the elements together, you're rising above them to become a part of the place you're visiting. And those are moments you won’t soon forget.
Where to Go
A long-time favorite of motorcyclists, the curving roads in the Alps make for a beautiful and thrilling ride for all skill levels. Take in scenery like lush valleys, towering mountain peaks, and serene lakes as you ride switchbacks and mountain passes. With a wide range of tours from beginner to expert, the Alps has something to challenge and thrill every level of motorcycle tourist. The best time to tour the Alps is from June and September, so you can to avoid the cold weather.
You won’t feel out of place on a motorcycle in Asia, where two-wheeled vehicles can outnumber their four-wheeled counterparts. Leave the busy traffic and hard asphalt of the cities and relax as you head to the countryside. There, you'll find daily life slows down as you breeze past rice fields, waterfalls, and villages. Tours in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos are best between September and March, during the dry season.
If you’re headed to either Canada or the U.S., June to September is the best time to book a motorcycle tour. Roads in Canada's far north are snow-free, giving you access to blue glaciers, clear lakes, and hot springs. Or head south on the famous Route 66 in the U.S., to pass through historic western towns and the Grand Canyon, and maybe even all the way up the California coast. In Mexico, the weather is cooler in the fall and winter, from September to March. Take a road tour through Mexican colonial towns like San Miguel de Allende. The road through Copper Canyon (four times bigger than the Grand Canyon in the U.S.!) with its rugged scenery is a favorite of motorcyclists.
Planning Your Trip
What to Look for in a Motorcycle Tour
The first thing you should look for is a motorcycle tour that matches your skill level -- beginner, intermediate, or expert. Terrain affects difficulty too, and it can change during a tour from smooth city asphalt to bumpy country roads.
Tours have a range of group sizes, so you can ride in a group of five -- or a group of 20. Something else to think about is how much you want to ride each day, as some tours have long hours in the seat. If you’ve got your heart set on seeing certain attractions, read tour itinerary details to find out where you’ll stop at along the way.
Average Motorcycle Tour Cost & Length
Some motorcycle tours are as short as two days, while the longest tours can last up to a month or more, with most lasting around a week. A week-long tour can run anywhere from $600 to $1,200 depending on the location, type of accommodations, and what’s included -- your tour may or may not include meals and fuel. For a two-week long tour, expect to pay from $2,000 to $4,000.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
Your motorcycle rental is typically included in your tour, but if you have your own bike, you may be able to use it for a discount. For gear, be sure to bring your own gloves and boots, and you can either bring your own helmet or rent one. You can usually either buy or rent raingear and an armored riding jacket.
Plan to carry both local currency as well as your credit card. Don’t forget your ATM card so you can pull out cash overseas.
Accommodations on a motorcycle tour can range from five-star hotel to budget hotels or even village homestays. Choose a bed you’ll be happy to collapse into at the end of a long day of riding. For tours that include meals, notify your tour company if you need a special diet.
Qualifications & Training
You must have a motorcycle license from your home country to take part in a motorcycle tour. An insurance company may not cover you if you don’t have a valid motorcycle license.
Be honest about your skill level when you book a tour. Beginner riders typically require at least some experience driving a motorcycle and should be comfortable taking curves. Experts have a lot of experience and are comfortable with different terrain, sharp curves, and steep ascents and descents.
It is more physically and mentally challenging to drive a motorcycle than a car, and the consequences in an accident are much more serious.
Taking on traffic in a foreign city is intimidating enough, and unfortunately not every driver in the world follows road rules to the letter. Big cities especially have reputations for unpredictable drivers.
Bad weather is risky for two-wheeled vehicles. Asphalt roads get slick in the rain, and dirt roads get muddy and slippery. Bad weather also makes it difficult for car drivers to see a motorcycle.
Choosing a reputable motorcycle tour company and a tour that matches your skill level goes a long way towards keeping you safe on the road. Before your tour begins, brush up on your skills if possible.
During your tour, keep an eye out for hazards you’re not used to. In the city, that can include vehicles ignoring traffic laws and unobservant pedestrians. In the countryside, this can include goats, sheep, chickens, and cows.