In Part I of Take your Dream Motorcycle Road Trip we discussed the details of finding a place to sleep for the night in foreign lands. Now we’ll cover food, fuel and motorcycle maintenance. I recently finished a 19,000 mile journey that took me through Central and South America for eight months. Here are some helpful tips that helped me take that dream motorcycle road trip, a life-changing experience you, too, can enjoy.
I treat myself to a nice restaurant every once in a while when traveling, but for the most part I eat at local neighborhood establishments and steer clear of places intended for tourists. In many places there are establishments (sometimes run outside the back of a house) with “set meals,” which cost only a few bucks and will fill you up and give you a taste of local cuisine. Set meals mean just that – one kind of meal with little room for variation. Don’t even think about ordering off the menu at these places since menus don’t exist! If you’ve chosen to camp often then cooking your own food is the cheapest alternative. I find it to be very satisfying. Check out backpacker equipment and recipes for more details.
Calculating fuel costs is pretty simple. Take your average fuel efficiency of your motorcycle and the average miles per day (total trip mileage / number of days traveled), and multiply it by the average cost per gallon. Finding out what the average cost per gallon can be tricky. I was paying $2/gallon in Ecuador and $6/gallon in Chile. Check out this Wikipedia article to get a sense of the average gas prices: TypicalGasolinePrices.
If your trip lasts more than four months, chances are that you will have expenses for the maintenance on your bike. Tires, chains, sprockets, oil changes and air filters are just a few of the major jobs that you need to perform. Take out your motorcycle manual and determine when the scheduled maintenance is for major things like valve inspections. Map all these things out in terms of miles. In 15,000 miles you will probably have to swap out your chain and sprockets. A $150 chain, on a year long trip for 30,000 miles will cost you 82 cents per day.
(((Total Trip Miles / Life of Chain in Miles) * Price of Chain) / Total Days of Trip)(((30,000 / 15,000) * 150) * 365)
Compare your average travel costs per day with your average living costs per day now. Rent or mortgage, cable, cell phone, magazine subscriptions – just add it all up and see how much it costs for you to live. Now compare it to life on the road and having the time of your life, and I’m pretty confident your traveling budget is significantly less than your current budget. Get rid of the baggage and go out and explore the world! Make that dream motorcycle road trip a reality.