A motorcycle tour is a bucket-list item for many of us.
What’s better than riding the latest and greatest motorcycles in some of the most beautiful parts of the world, surrounded by friends (or soon-to-be friends) and delicious daily food?
And yet, despite all the fun a moto tour promises, there are still several things to consider before putting down your hard-earned cash and committing.
We here at MotoCalifornia have compiled a list of 10 things to consider before purchasing a motorcycle tour. Some might seem fairly obvious, while others might not be things you’ve thought about. Either way, armed with this knowledge, picking your next tour should be a little bit easier.
1. Riding Experience
Before purchasing a motorcycle tour, you should consider your riding experience. If you are a beginner rider, it’s important to choose a tour that’s suitable for your skill level. Generally speaking, motorcycle tours aren’t recommended if you have little experience. Usually, the tour organizer will state what the minimum riding experience should be and will also explain the kind of roads that will be traveled. For example, some tours require the riders to be comfortable with extremely twisty roads. Others may require you to be comfortable handling a big adventure bike. If you have any doubts, contact the tour operator and clarify what kind of riding experience is needed so you can make an informed decision.
2. Route and Destination
Check out the itinerary and route of the tour. Ensure that it covers the destinations and attractions that you’re interested in. Also, make sure that the route, and the overall tour, are the right distance for you. Some tours spend a significant portion of the day riding, while others find a balance between riding and enjoying the sights and sounds of where you’re traveling. So, decide for yourself if you want to ride or be a tourist. There is no wrong answer.
3. Tour Operator’s Reputation
Nobody wants to get fleeced spending money on a tour only to find out the total experience isn’t what you bargained for. A bad experience will leave a sour taste for a long time. Alternatively, a reputable tour company will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. Check the reputation of the tour operator by reading online reviews, checking their social media presence, and asking for referrals from friends or members of social media groups who have taken similar tours.
4. Motorcycle Rental and Insurance
Obviously, you’ll need a motorcycle to ride while you’re on a tour. For this, there are a few different options, and it’s best to check with the tour operator about their rental options and insurance coverage. Some people prefer to ride their own personal motorcycle and will even ship it to the tour start destination. Some tours require you to rent a bike from them. Others still will let you do a combination, where you can ride their bikes part-time and rent from a third party at other times. This is great if you want to try a wide variety of bikes – say, if you’re considering buying a particular bike in the near future. Companies like Rider’s Share are like AirBnB for motorcycle rentals, and if your tour group allows, make a great option for securing a bike for your tour. Ensure that the insurance coverage is comprehensive and includes liability, collision, and theft.
5. Accommodations and Meals
Consider the quality and type of accommodation provided during the tour. Check if meals are included or if you need to make arrangements separately. On a MotoCalifornia tour, you’ll stay at wonderful villas and eat fresh, delicious meals prepared by our on-site chef with seasonal ingredients. We’ll also treat you to massages, yoga classes, and even cocktail hours at the end of every day.
6. Cost and Value
Motorcycle tours aren’t cheap (and if they are, scrutinize it carefully to figure out why). Compare the cost of the tour with other options available in the market. Consider the overall value of the tour and the experiences it offers rather than just the price. A MotoCalifornia tour is all-inclusive, except for flights, we provide a turn-key concierge luxury experience. You only have to unpack once, and we’ll take care of the rest.
7. Safety Measures
Check the safety measures taken by the tour operator. You’re generally responsible for bringing your own gear, but do the lead riders follow traffic rules and regulations? Do they ride responsibly and within the means of the group? And if you’re more experienced, do you have the freedom to ride at your pace?
8. Weather and Climate
Tours are usually advertised far in advance of the booking deadline, which makes checking the weather a little difficult. However, it’s worth considering the weather and climate conditions of the destination during the time of the tour. You can go on weather apps and see weather trends for a given area. Usually, tours are held during a nice time of year, but sometimes the weather gods have their own ideas. Make sure that you are adequately prepared for any weather conditions that may be encountered during the tour, as unless there’s an extreme weather condition, tours will generally run rain or shine.
9. Group Size
Consider the size of the group that will be traveling together. A smaller group is more intimate, and if the riding levels of the group are similar, the actual riding will be more fun. Bigger groups also mean a larger discrepancy in riding skills, but a good tour group will have multiple guide riders to allow the group to split up based on skill level. Ensure that the group size is comfortable for you and that it allows you to have a personalized experience. Remember, it’s not uncommon for people to make lifelong friends after riding with them for a week on a tour.
Check the flexibility of the tour itinerary. Ensure that there is room for adjustments and changes in case of unexpected circumstances such as weather changes, road closures, or personal emergencies. As mentioned before, except for extreme weather events, a tour will go on rain or shine. But it’s good to clarify the company’s policy regarding personal emergencies, both leading up to the tour and while you’re on the tour itself.