How to Plan a Cross Country Motorcycle Trip

POSTED BY Andrew Kass||

Are you thinking about making a cross country motorcycle trip? Some proper planning in advance can ensure that you’ll have an amazing time while you explore the countryside. Although there’s something to be said for grabbing your bike and hitting the road without any prior thoughts on where to go, doing so can leave you in the middle of nowhere, with little to see and nothing to do. For some bikers, that’s there idea of paradise. But others would prefer to travel knowing they’ll see amazing things, meet amazing people, and have a comfortable bed to sleep in each night. If you are one of the latter, read on and learn more about planning your cross country motorcycle trip.


Online maps make planning your trip easier than ever. Simply put in your starting point and ending point and then start making stops along the way. If you excursion is taking you hundreds or perhaps even thousands of miles, you’re going to have to plan some stops. You will want to stretch your legs, fuel up, get a bite to eat and, at night, get some rest.

How Many Miles Should I Plan to Ride Each Day?

If you want to enjoy yourself, you should plan to ride around 200-300 miles a day, depending on weather and road conditions. This gives you ample time to explore, enjoy some good meals, make a few new friends, and even sleep in a bit, if you want. Remember that an average 50 mph for six hours won’t equal 300 miles. You need to factor in time for rest stops, meals, and time for conversation with others, too. What good is the ride if you are just ticking off the miles?

What Should I Pack?

Packing for a cross country road trip should be done with care. After all, space is at a premium, and you don’t want to be hours from home and find out you left something behind. Jeans can be worn at least a few times, but you probably don’t want to wear underwear for more than a day. After all, a lot of us sweat when we ride, and that can get nasty. So pack some extra drawers, socks, and t-shirts. Demin shirts and vests that you can layer make great choices, too. If you’re riding in summer, a cooling vest is a great addition. And if you choose to ride in autumn or early spring, remember your long johns. Early mornings can be crisp, cool, and downright uncomfortable with them.

Remember to bring some cash for emergencies and those off-the-beaten-path places that still might not accept credit cards. Don’t forget your insurance card, in case of unforeseen emergencies. A map of your route is a great addition. Even if you use a GPS (and I recommend you do), a backup map can save your butt if something happens.

Should I Camp or Get a Hotel Room?

If you’re young, adventurous, and cheap, camping might seem like a good idea. I’m not going to stop you, but for me and most folks I know, a nice warm bed is just what the doctor ordered after a day spent riding. Campgrounds can be loud, weather is unpredictable, and sleeping bags really leave something to be desired. Sure, you might save a few bucks, but if you use Priceline or Hotwire, you can probably find a hotel or motel room for not much more than a campground. You’ll sleep better and probably get free breakfast out of the deal, too. And about that breakfast- chow down! You’d be surprised how hungry you can get, and if you’re travelling in rural areas, cafes and restaurants can be few and far between. Grab an apple or a couple granola bars for the ride, too, just in case.

If you don’t plan on bringing a camera, make sure you have plenty of space on your smartphone for pictures. I’m always surprised how many pictures I take – and I don’t regret a single one. We live in an amazingly scenic country, and no matter the route you take, you’ll find plenty of photo opportunities.

One final word before you take off on your cross-country motorcycle trip. Take a moment and add 1-800-MOTORCYCLE to your phone. You never know when someone is going to fail to see you and cause a crash. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere and get hurt, you’re in big trouble. Even if you are in your own town, a motorcycle crash can leave you with thousands in medical bills and the inability to work. Insurance companies are not your friend- they’ll offer you a settlement that probably won’t even pay your hospital bills. If you end up in a crash, call 1-800-MOTORCYCLE. The attorneys at Kass & Moses represent injured bikers, and they will work to get you the cash you deserve! Don’t settle for less.