Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Motorcycle Tours - Know What You Are Buying

A few years back, I had the bright idea that I wanted to go riding during the winter. I assumed the only way to do so was to head some place warm and rent a bike. So that is what I did, I located a company offering a tour in Arizona; it coincided perfectly with my daughter’s February vacation. I packed her off to her Dad’s and I packed up for Arizona. I learned a lot about renting a bike through a tour company during that and subsequent adventures. With winter upon us, I thought I’d review some of what I learned should you be considering hiring a motorcycle tour company.

Know What You Are Buying.
Sure you can read the glossy brochures and scan the web site but to really know what you are buying you need to ask plenty of questions. Pick up the phone, or email. Get things in writing. If you get a slow or no response to your questions, let this be a red flag to you.

Had I asked these questions prior to booking my Arizona tour I may have picked a different vendor! Some of the questions stem from my more successful Euro tour.
  • Will I be getting the bike of my choice?
  • If I can’t get the bike of my choice, what model bike will I have?
  • Can riders in the group swap bikes during the trip?
  • How many miles a day will we be doing?
  • Will there be the opportunity to ride without the group?
  • Will the guide stay with the group at all times?
  • Will tank bags and maps be provided?
  • How many guides will there be?
  • How many guests per guide?
  • Do the guides speak my language, and/or the language of countries we will be traveling?
  • Will the group be divided by skill?
  • Where are the accommodations? Get specific names if possible, and review online.
  • If you can’t get specific on the accommodations, find out the age of the facility, last facility upgrade, and travel star rating if applicable.

  • Ask for referrals! Ask for names of recent guests on the same tour.

  • What type of weather can I expect at the destination?
  • What expenses will I be incurring in addition to the tour fee?
  • What accommodations are made for breakdowns?

  • How can I be reached in an emergency?

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