How To Make Sure You’ve Got Everything You Need Before You Leave Home
Here is a suggested list to help you make sure that you’ve got all the kit and personal gear you might need. This is to be balanced off with the foundation stone of adventure motorcycle touring where less is more.
- Travel Insurance Documents – if you require assistance then there will be contact details in your documentation. Also, do read your insurance and see what the terms and conditions are. You will need to contact the insurer within a set time from the time of the incident. Find out what that is.
- Tickets and Passes
- Registration and Ownership Documents for Bike. Also note, if you are not the registered owner of the bike you will require a Letter of Permission from the owner stating you are allowed to use it. This is particularly pertinent when arranging a self-guided tour. The tour operator must provide you with a letter stating you are the designated rider.
- Driving License/ International Drivers Permit
- Vaccination Certificates – keep this with your passport.
- Marriage Certificate if travelling as a wedded couple
- Cash – don’t forget to carry a few hundred dollars in US currency
- Credit/Debit Cards – I carry both a credit card and a debit card. Also, make sure the cards are ‘active’. So do a few transactions on all cards just before you leave.
- Scanned copy of all documents sent to a Gmail or other account that can be accessed via a web interface.
Clothing and Personal
This is in addition to your riding gear of course. Pack pretty much what you need for the climate and places you’re going to. Do take:
- Sturdy walking shoes
Here are few things to avoid:
- Women travellers need to be aware dress customs in some countries, particularly Muslim countries. No bare arms, legs or cleavages.
- If you are in the habit of wearing jewellery, leave it at home. A flashy gold bracelet immediately signals you as a target.
- Don’t wear flamboyant or what appears to be expensive clothing. Khaki is fine.
If you wear prescription glasses, it is a MUST to take two pairs of your glasses. If you break a pair out on the road, you may be in trouble with getting an optometrist to get you another pair.
I carry four pairs of prescription glasses:-
- 2 pairs of my everyday glasses; and
- 2 pairs of my prescription sunglasses.
Don’t go overboard here, as you can still clean your teeth quite effectively without toothpaste.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss
- Soap in vented soap container – nothing is worse than a cake of soap that has become a gooey blob.
- Shaving supplies – or better still, just don’t shave. Arrive home with a growth, it makes it look more authentic.
- Microfibre towel – these are great. Quick drying and roll up into a tight little bundle.
- For women riders – best to take personal hygiene products from home.
As a minimum, take the following.
- Sun Screen
- Insect Repellent – absolutely vital in malaria prone areas
- Pain Killers
- Gut Pack – a selection of targeted antibiotics in the event of a stomach/bowel infection or a bladder infection. Also includes rehydration salts. Your travel medical center will put one of these together for you.
- Malaria Prophylaxis
- Anti-fungal creams – anybody whose suffered some fungal growth around the groin will know about this one.
- Antiseptic powder – these tend to be better than the creams, as they can help dry out a graze or a cut.
- Bandages and Band-Aid type plasters
- Eye drops and eye bath
- Personal Prescription Medications – make sure you have a letter from your doctor stating what they are.
- Tweezers and sharp probe to dig out splinters.
- Small pair of sharp stainless steel scissors.
- Nail clippers or nail scissors capable of trimming toenails. If left grow too long, they can start to in-grow; and that spells much discomfort.
There are numerous things that you might need; in fact the list is dynamic. Here are a few that typically don’t find their way onto such lists in books.
- LED head light – they look like the old fashioned miner’s lamp, in that they fit on your head with a strap. Great because they keep both hands free and the light shines wherever you point your head.
- Cheap pens and pencils – wherever you go in developing countries you’ll soon or later be surrounded by some kids. A gift of a pen to these kids means the earth.
- Multifunction tool kit – combination of pliers, cutters, wire strippers… you name it.