What to take on a motorcycle trip? The eternal problem, especially of the motorcyclists and they passengers – what to take with you, having at your disposal three back trunks, in the most optimistic version. Everyone will say that only the necessary things, but for each person, they can be different. Admit, did you tried to convince your “second half” that an iron, dryer and another pair of shoes “or maybe I will want to look nice” are not essential equipment? We, for example, have not been able to agree on the question of the electric iron. Sometimes it goes on holiday with us, sometimes it doesn’t. Despite some controversial issues, taught on our own skin, we know that it is worthwhile to plan the trip well. Probably some will say that everything can be bought, yes, but the prices of e.g. medicaments can surprise us a lot. Therefore, in order to make it easier for you to think about what you need, we have gathered all the information together, creating our highly subjective guide – what to take with you on a motorcycle trip.
What to take on a motorcycle trip? Where should I start?
Each trip is different, the composition of our baggage changes depending on which direction we go, how we intend to spend the nights, or how we organize meals. It is known that when going south, we will not pack warm clothes and vice versa. For the purpose of this article, we assumed that we are preparing for relatively comfortable motorcycle tourism, that is, accommodation in hotels/guesthouses/private accommodation, eating mainly in local pubs and restaurants. Tourist and camping equipment will be described in a separate article, as well as the system of packaging before the expedition.
What to take on a motorcycle trip – documents and finances
- Identity card and/or passport – always check that your documents are valid. Please note that some countries will not allow us to enter if the validity of your passport or ID card is less than 3 or 6 months. It is also a good idea to carry a photocopier of your identity card with you if you are worried about leaving it in hotels when you register.
- It is good to have a photocopy/photograph of a complete set of documents (except for payment cards) available in the cloud via the Internet.
- Driving license. When traveling outside the EU, check if an international driving license is required in a particular country.
- Civil liability insurance plus Green Card (required in many countries outside the EU).
- Vehicle registration certificate with a valid technical inspection.
- EHIC card (we will try to write an article about it soon).
- Payment cards (it is good to have two different systems, e.g. Visa and Mastercard). We personally have been using the Revolut card for several years. We have written about the advantages and disadvantages of Revolut’s card here.
- In most countries, it is possible to pay with credit/debit cards, but sometimes the only option is cash, so remember to take at least the currency of the country you are going. The coins are useful at the petrol stations, for example, to pay for the toilet.
- Optionally, you can also buy assistance insurance, we personally use the Allianz offer, but there are several offers available.
Download our subjective checklist!
Keep your documents in a string bag in the inner pocket of your jacket. The driving license, ID card or payment card are not exposed to moisture, but it would be foolish to lose the remaining papers if you met a rain somewhere along the way. We have heard that condoms are also a good substitute. They also work well to protect the phone from moisture. We didn’t test it, but we can believe it’s quite a good solution.
What to take on a motorcycle trip – first aid kit and medicines
It is worth adding a few things to the standard first aid kit available for sale. Mainly something for travel ailments, associated with climate or different water, which can cause poisoning or other ailments. These are commonly available medicines, no extravagance, no prescriptions.
- Painkillers – it is worth having at least two types of painkillers with different active substances (paracetamol and ibuprofen).
- Smecta – in our opinion, the best for all kinds of ailments related to the digestive tract.
- Antipyretic drugs – e.g. Fervex, Gripex, aspirin, everyone has their favorites in this category,
- Disinfectants – e.g. Octenisept.
- Cream with UV filter – you know, a tan adds beauty, but sunburn does not. Additionally, it is worth to buy a product useful in case of burns, e.g. Panthenol.
- Dry ice – very useful if you need to use cold compresses. Best for bruising. Tested on our own skin – works great.
- Electrolytes, e.g. Orsalit.
- Of course, allergy sufferers should have their own antihistamines and/or adrenaline in the medicine kit.
What to take on a motorcycle trip – cosmetics
Everyone has their own way of personal hygiene, but after a whole day on a motorcycle, it is nice to find in our cosmetic case at least the items from the list below. Here we recommend that you do not test any new cosmetics that may cause allergies during your trip.
- Washing gel/soap.
- Hair shampoo (optional). Dry shampoo also worked well – we recommend it especially for girls who have to wash their hair every day and are going to a campsite.
- Moisturizing cream. We recommend coconut oil, which has magical properties – it works well as a cream, hair conditioner and sometimes…. you can also fry something on it. Unfortunately, if we care about its health properties, it must be unrefined, and thus has a slight coconut aroma and burns very quickly.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste.
- A hair comb/hairbrush.
- Toilet paper/tissues.
- Quick-drying towel.
- Moisturizing wipes.
- Intimate hygiene articles (mainly for women).
What to take on a motorcycle trip – the first aid for a motorcycle
- A wheel repair kit with CO2 cartridges or a small compressor – it’s not a big cost, and often an emergency repair of a punctured tire will save us time and stress on the road. Just remember to check the expiration date for CO2 cartridges. We prefer a small compressor.
- Spare fuses and bulbs.
- A set of basic tools (e.g. multitool) and keys useful for your motorcycle.
- Cable ties, a small thing, but useful and more than once can save your ass.
- Engine oil for eventual refills.
- Chain lubricant, of course, if your motorbike has a chain.
- If you are going to countries where you know that you may have problems with the availability of petrol – it is worth having a small petrol canister.
What to take on a motorcycle trip – useful accessories and electronics
- Backup keys for motorcycle/cases.
- Navigation/telephone with an offline map uploaded.
- Small flashlight.
- A paper map of the area to which we are going.
- Camera and camcorder with extra batteries.
- Intercoms, are they useful? The matter of preference and how we like to travel. Since we bought them, we can no longer imagine traveling without them. We wrote about our low-budgets intercoms here.
- Power chargers and motorcycle chargers for electronics (navigation/telephone/intercom/ camera/ camcorder).
- Power bank.
- External disk for copying photos/videos.
- Small umbrella – if we anticipate sightseeing, and the weather may be different. Only if you are going to Iceland, do not take an umbrella.
- A bottle of water and something to eat, not always local shops are open.
- Earplugs – because we don’t know where we will sleep.
- A needle with a thread and a safety pin.
- Matches or lighters – because you never know when you will have a chance to have a bonfire or a barbecue.
- Nail cutters.
What to take on a motorcycle trip – clothing
What we take with us from our clothes depends largely on the direction in which we go. Going to Nordkapp we will focus more on warm things that are unlikely to be useful to us in southern Europe and vice versa. So do not take literally what we wrote below, rather treat it as a hint or a good point to start with. When it comes to everyday clothes, and more specifically the number of clothes, remember that we have limited capacity in our motorcycles. It is best to take less with the option of washing them than to buy, for example, T-shirts for every day. Also, remember to use plastic bags or rolled vacuum bags to save space when packing in panniers/bags that can get wet.
- Jacket and pants or motorcycle overalls. Whatever you prefer, though we personally believe that textile clothes, in motorcycle tourism, work much better than leather overalls. Consider also taking all the linings with you. You may think we’re going south, you don’t need any linings, but driving at night can be a pain in the ass. But, to be honest, we prefer to dress like onions – thermoactive clothing, fleece, motorcycle jacket and a rain jacket as a good insulation from the wind. It seems to us that such a set was warmer than the linings.
- Motorcycle gloves and a helmet. It is worth to make a pledge, which gloves will be more useful for us – summer or winter.
- Rain suits, at least for a jacket and trousers, although it is also useful to protect shoes and hands. We personally have been using one of the cheaper ones for years.
- Thermal underwear/shirts – two sets are useful – one for cold nights and the other for warmer days.
- Socks – we have been using compression socks for a long time.
- Long/short pants – depending on whether we are going in cold or warm countries).
- Dress (for women’s version).
- Sandals or sports shoes.
- Warm blouse/polar.
- Shoes or shower slippers.
- Optional baseball cap.
- Swimwear and shoes for water if you want to spend time on the beach. Water boots are especially suitable for the Balkans, where beaches are mostly rocky and meetings with sea urchins are not pleasant.
This is how our list looks like, you can download it in the form of a pdf checklist, which always makes it easier for us to check whether we have everything. Let us know what else you’re taking with you, maybe there’s something else important. We didn’t write about camping equipment on purpose, we want to write a whole separate article about it, but first, we have to test it on our own.
Download our subjective checklist!
A bunch of useful links at the end
- Have you heard about the Revolut card yet? In our opinion, this is currently the most optimal choice, although not the perfect one. Read our article on how to use the card.
Some of the pictures are from https://www.jednoslad.pl and https://pixabay.com.