Here’s How to Budget for Your Adventure Motorcycle Tour

The Complete High Level Budgeting Checklist Used By All Motorcycle Travellers

Here is a checklist that will help you put together a budget for an adventure motorcycle tour.  The topics are broad and you can add your own subtopics under each one depending on your needs.  Some may not be applicable as well.

Guided/Self Guided Tours

Let’s start with guided/self guided tours. A different bit of budgeting needs to take place when you decide to join a guided tour or have a tour operator plan out a self guided tour for you.

  • Inoculations/vaccinations
  • Travel Insurance
  • Hire of bike, cost of tour
  • Getting from home to the start and back home again (air fares, travel)
  • Incidentals (fuel, tolls, some meals, taxes)
  • Activities on rest days (guided tours)
  • Insurance excesses (if you do come unstuck and write off that brand new BMW 1200GS, how much do you have to pay). The tour operator pays the insurance, but you pay for the excess in the event of a mishap. Even though it’s about probabilities, you still need to budget for it.

The main thing with package tours is to understand clearly what is included and what is not included. Unsure, then email the tour operator.

Guided tours are a great way to get going into the world of adventure motorcycle touring. They offer the advantage that the tour operator will do the bike paperwork for you, and the myriad of activities associated with accommodation, border crossings and will typically provide a support vehicle capable of carrying your luggage plus a spare bike or two.

Pre-Departure Costs (aka DIY Tour)

  • Purchase cost of bike
  • Planning material (maps, books, software, membership sites)
  • Training (riding skills required depending on the tour, first aid/medical)
  • Passport/Visas
  • Carnets
  • Modifications and changes to the bike (after market accessories and gear)
  • Tools and equipment
  • Riding gear additions or replacement
  • Spares
  • Freight and transport (shipping bike to foreign destination, air fares for rider/pillion)
  • Insurance ( bike, medical/evacuation/travel)
  • Inoculations/vaccinations
  • Day tours/specialist tours (balloon ride over the plains)
  • Camping Gear

Out On The Road

  • Fuel
  • Tires
  • Maintenance and Servicing
  • Accommodation (hotels, B&B’s, camping permits)
  • Food
  • Ferries, transport and tolls
  • Communications
  • Border Crossings (permits, insurances, taxes)
  • Gifts and Souvenirs (that must-have incredible wooden giraffe that stands 6 foot high + cost to ship it home)
  • Contingency (bare minimum 15%, maximum 100%+)

The ‘Cost’ of Being Away

  • Home security (rent it out, put in a surveillance system)
  • Arrangements to make sure regular bills are paid.  Not good to come home and find a sign on the front fence “For Sale – Mortgagee in Possession”.  With the wide availability of the internet these days, it is not a big deal to manage it out on the road.  It’s just a matter of making sure that you don’t forget when out there.
  • Maintenance – lawns mowed, mail redirected/junk mail cleared, ongoing minor maintenance (either planned or contingency)
  • Arranging for a trusted point of contact so if you need to be contacted in a hurry or you need to make contact with home.

Budgeting for an adventure motorcycle tour is like home renovations.  Whatever number you come up with, just double it.

Having said that, still keep an eye on costs.  The longer you intend to be out on the road, the more significant minor cost over runs on a week by week basis become.

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