If you are planning a motorcycle trip for the first time, it can be overwhelming to get started. Just how much do you need to pack, should you book hotels in advance, and what happens in case of a breakdown? To help you prepare for your first motorcycle adventure, I put together a simple but solid trip prep checklist you can follow:

Motorcycle Trip Essentials

To decide on your luggage set up and packing list, you first need to plan the duration of your motorcycle trip. If you are going away for the weekend, you will only need the bare essentials. However, if it’s a two-week ride or a cross-country expedition, you may need to prepare differently.

For a short motorcycle trip spanning two or three days, all you need to pack is a change of clothes, your toiletries, some shoes or flip flops, sunscreen or a warmer layer (depending on whether you’re going to California or Colorado), and your phone. Pack light, and don’t try to bring too many clothes, tools, and electronics as you are only going away for a few days.

For a longer trip, it’s good to add some motorcycle spares and tools, your laptop if you need it for work or photo or video editing, camping gear if you are planning to camp, and some snacks for the road if you know you will be doing long distances daily. However, even if you are traveling for a longer period of time, try to keep your luggage as small and light as you can. This will make packing and handling your motorcycle much easier.

Hotels vs Camping

Before you leave, decide on whether you will be staying in hotels and motels or camping. It’s a good idea to book or at least research accommodation in advance to get the best deals and to make sure they will have secure motorcycle parking. If you intend to camp, pack your camping gear and research campsites in the area you will be traveling to. For wild camping, always make sure it’s legal to camp and that you are not intruding on private land.

Motorcycle Maintenance on the Road

Even if you aren’t mechanically minded, give your motorcycle a quick once-over each morning before you ride. If you have serviced your bike before going on the trip, it should be mechanically sound and road-ready. The best practice is to check the tire tread and tire pressure every morning before you roll out. Also, check that your lights and turn signals are working, and check the oil level every once in a while. If something on the bike feels off when you’re riding, look for a bike shop or a mechanic immediately and make sure you solve the issue.

Download the Women’s Motorcycle Tours official packing list HERE.