So you’ve decided to head on a solo journey across the country? We have thousands of miles of experience doing the same thing. Riding a motorcycle cross-country requires the right equipment, mindset, and commitment.
Generally, when riding a motorcycle cross country, you should sleep at a campsite or a rental property. These locations are the best options and will suit nearly every rider perfectly. Of course, sleeping at campsite locations will require planning.
The choice will vary based on the type of experience you are looking for and the areas you are driving through. Keep in mind the route you are taking and what is in the designated areas you plan to stop in.
Planning your trip is extremely important. Oftentimes, planning gets confused with removing all spontaneity. That’s not the case. Plenty of freedom still exists every day to find new adventure but a firm plan where to stop and sleep at night can make all the difference.
Keep reading for the full blueprint to plan your cross-country motorcycle ride perfectly.
Places To Sleep When Riding Motorcycle Cross Country
1. Camping Sites
A popular choice by many brave riders who venture off on a cross-country motorcycle trip is to camp along the way. Camping is very broad and it can be done in many different places. Some of the top choices include state parks, national parks, private campgrounds, or traditional camping in any location.
If you plan to camp, your packing list might be a bit different and bringing tools and tents is essential. Finding areas in the woods, along the roads, or on beaches in different locations is the most solo option with no services included that you would find at a private campground.
Parks are more regulated options with designated areas to use for campers. It is also a safer option with park rangers always on patrol. There are also rules to follow too. Be sure to do your research depending on the style of camping you want to do on your trip.
We recommend staying in parks or at private campgrounds to meet other people and keep your packing lighter. There are so many tools needed to camp on your own with limited space on your bike.
2. Hotels and Rentals
If camping doesn’t appeal to you, finding hotels and short-term rentals, like Airbnb is a great option too. It will cost a bit more but your trip will include more luxury and better access to things like a kitchen and a clean bed. You can also keep your packing light if you go with this option.
The style of rentals will vary. Options include Airbnb, local hotels, hostels, and other vacation rental platforms like Vrbo. If you plan to stick to a strict arrival time in each location, you can book your rooms in advance to have a secure place guaranteed upon your arrival.
If not, local hotels and hostels will typically have availability upon arrival. It might take a few visits to different locations, but finding a room for a night or two should not be a problem.
For those who prefer more comfort and luxury, we recommend this option for riding your motorcycle cross country.
3. Family & Friends
If camping or hotels don’t seem like the best choice for you, there are other choices to consider. Many times, people will connect with family and friends along their route and stay with them to save some money and catch up with old friends.
Another low-cost option is Couchsurfing. This is a platform that lets you connect with others anywhere to stay on their couch for free. It is an adventurous idea and a good way to meet new people while saving some money.
Whatever you decide to do, there are plenty of options to consider. Decide what fits you the best and go with it. You can always adjust along the way. Drive safe and collect some memories along the way!
What’s the Better Option?
There is no right or wrong answer when choosing. Some even mix camping and hotels on their trips to experience both. There are people who prefer a warm bed after a long day. Those people would be best-suited to find hotel rooms.
Others want to experience nature on their trip. If that’s you, camping fits you best.
Decide what you want to experience during your trip and try it out. You can always change your mind after the first night or two.
Hotels will typically have free breakfast to enjoy which can prepare you for your day nicely. Remember that this would be a more expensive option and rooms will cost much more than camping. Especially if you are planning a long trip.
Figure out your budget before you decide. Maybe you can afford to do a few nights of hotels and the rest will be a camping adventure.
Just remember to bring a camera for the memories!
How To Stay Safe
With any adventure comes a little risk too. To stay safe during your trip, you need to be mindful of your surroundings and keep your wits about you. There is no need to be paranoid, but stay alert and always monitor your belongings. Never leave your things unattended.
Keep valuables like cameras and phones hidden when necessary. The world is much more friendly than we give it credit for though. Say hello to people and be willing to meet new friends.
Avoid overdriving too. The most dangerous thing you can do is drive while you are tired. It can lead to an accident or losing your focus on the road. The best option is to always stop and get some rest and return to the road tomorrow.
What is Your Destination?
The first and most important question you have to answer is where will this miraculous ride end? The choice can be difficult. The world is a big place with so many options to choose from and it can be hard to lock into one place.
Try thinking of any famous landmarks or national parks you want to visit. Maybe a longtime friend lives across the country and you haven’t seen them in a while.
Once you decide on your destination, we can start the planning phase.
How To Plan Your Route?
The starting point and end point will ultimately determine your exact route. Make note of important locations that you would like to pass through. There are some famous routes to consider when you are planning your own.
- The Historic Route 66 Road Trip
- The Border-to-Border Road Trip
- The Atlantic Coast Road Trip
- The Great River Road Trip
- Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip
Each of these routes offers a scenic ride with popular stops along the way. Take the entire trip or incorporate parts of them into your own unique route. With so much to see in this country, the options are endless.
How Many Miles Per Day?
In order to maximize your time in all locations, we recommend riding between 150-300 miles per day in ideal weather conditions. There is no reason to push yourself too much especially if the weather is poor. This strategy will give you more time to explore each location along the way too.
Factor in stops for fuel and rest when calculating your miles per day. It won’t be a straight shot and you will need to make a few pit stops along the way.
Don’t spend your whole trip focusing on knocking miles off the list. Instead, enjoy the journey itself. Take the time at each stop to try new food and meet new people. Those are the memories that will make the trip last forever.
How to Pack for Your Trip?
Before you start packing, let’s consider where you will be riding and what the temperatures will be like. Most riders will wait until the summer months to perform this type of trip to avoid any harsh, cold temperatures.
You must also remember that space is very limited. Packing must include essential items only. We recommend sticking to a few core options of pants and shirts with many pairs of underwear. Laundry can be done as needed during the trip in select locations.
Consider packing light cooling vests or sweatshirts if any regions get colder at night. The early mornings tend to be colder too with less sunlight.
Always have enough cash handy to pay for essentials that you might need too in case credit cards are not accepted. It is good to have both just in case. We rely on our phones for everything now, but having a map handy is another good backup plan in case it dies or you have no service to find directions.
Here is a list of basics we would recommend bringing along with you:
- Protective gear like boots, helmets, jackets, and gloves.
- Bags or backpacks to hold your gear in and strap onto the bike.
- Water and food to stay nourished while riding. Easy snack options are best.
- Basic tool kit for your bike in case repairs are needed in desolate areas.
- Ear plugs
- Spare key for bike.
Try to keep it simple and stick to essentials only. Anything extra can always be purchased later on if needed.
I’m William Guzenski, ASE certified master automobile technician & automotive expert. I love to attend race events and car shows throughout the country. I also loves to travel 40-foot motorhome, exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns. I’m currently building another car for Bonneville Salt Flats and will be campaigning a drag car at several events.