Below is a checklist, to help any biker who’s planning a trip to Europe.
- An emergency kit, including a high visibility jacket – if you break down you should try to make you and your bike as visible as possible, use a warning triangle and hazard lights, then put on your high vis jacket and wait for help somewhere safe.
- Spare bulbs and fuses – the last thing you want is for your lights to go out when you’re driving around Europe in the dark.
- First aid kit – in some countries it is compulsory to carry one, but you should always carry some first aid supplies.
- A small specialist folder which you can attach to your bike, this should securely hold some loose change, a map and anything you will need close to hand without the need to stop and get off your bike.
- Always pack your EHIC when travelling in Europe.
- Spare bungee hooks just in case one breaks, or you decide to buy some bulky souvenirs.
- Sun protection and after sun – most of your body will probably be covered by leathers or protective clothing, but your neck will be especially vulnerable to sun burn.
- Light tool kit.
- A small amount of clothes – you shouldn’t waste too much room on clothes; carry a few t-shirts, pants, socks etc. and rinse along the way.
- Wheel goo, in case you get a puncture.
- Travel insurance documents.
- A valid international driving licence (with paper counterpart) which is valid for the bike you’re riding.
- Your vehicle registration paperwork.
- The bike’s MOT Certificate.
- Your international insurance certificate.
- Your passport (plus a photocopy kept in a different location).
- A photocopy of any prescriptions, and if you wear glasses carry a photocopy of that prescription too.
- A list of important phone numbers, for example your travel insurer’s emergency assistance contact details.
- To let your bank know that you’re going abroad, otherwise they could suddenly block your card when you’re trying to buy fuel somewhere in Europe!
- To bring a Sat Nav – they can be really helpful to tell you the speed limit, and help you find hotels and restaurants – as well as preventing you from getting lost.
- To wear protective leathers, gloves, boots and a helmet at all times – even if you’re travelling in a hot climate, you never know when an accident could occur.
- Speed limits will vary, and could be marked in kilometres.
- Driving laws and rules vary in different countries; make sure you’re aware of any regulations before you travel to avoid getting caught out.
- To purchase and use a GB sticker when travelling abroad.
- Make sure you know which side of the road to drive on! It may sound obvious, but when you’re on a long journey or tried it can be easy to shift into autopilot and make a mistake.
- Some countries have certain vehicle requirements which you must meet, for example in Germany you are required to use special tyres in the winter months. Make sure you can meet these requirements before you travel.
- Check that your license allows you to drive abroad, for example if you do not have a full motorbike licence you will not be allowed to hire or ride a Harley Davidson. Remember that in some countries you also need an International Driving Permit.
- Check that your motor insurance covers you to drive abroad. It is definitely worth investing in breakdown cover as well – just in case. Travel insurance will not cover you for liability when driving abroad, so you must make sure your bike or rental insurance does.
- If you’re using your own vehicle abroad, make sure you give it a full service before you depart. Do not forget to get petrol.
- Drive cautiously and expect the unexpected, remember that the driving style may be extremely different to what you’re used to.
- If you’re doing a lot of travelling, make sure you pull over and take regular breaks, driving whilst tired only puts yourself and other road users at risk.
- Don’t drink and drive, you aren’t allowed to do it in the UK so there is no need to do it abroad, many countries have a zero tolerance to drink driving so be careful.
Hiring a vehicle;
- If you’re planning to hire a bike during your trip, make sure you research and use reputable companies, you need to know that the bikes are safe and well serviced.
- Again check with your insurance company, make sure you’re covered to drive a rented vehicle abroad, if not invest in extra cover. Check the excesses on your cover carefully, these vary depending on the insurance provider and policy, could you afford to pay the first £500 towards an accident?
Visit the Holiday Safe website for more information on affordable and specialist Motorcycle Travel Insurance.
Author Bio: Amber Howard is the Brand Manager of Online Travel Insurance provider Holidaysafe.co.uk. She is a travel enthusiast who loves writing about all things ‘travel’, from industry news to top destinations.