If you’re thinking of going on a long overland journey, there are so many things to consider – including trip planning. But should you plan your adventure ride carefully, or is it better to just wing it?
The Case for Planning
Depending on your personality, your preferred mode of traveling, and your time frame, planning your journey can be a great tool to enhance the experience. A good place to start is making up your mind on what are you interested in most on your trip and set your priorities. Love riding remote off-road tracks in the wilderness? City nightlife and cuisine? Temples, archeological sites, museums? Traditional heritage and indigenous cultures? Decide what is the main attraction, or focus, of your trip, and plan accordingly.
Once you know what you want to see, start putting routes together. Use open source maps for best GPS tracks, check Google Street View for paved vs unpaved roads, and ask other travelers’ advice about road conditions, fuel availability, and accommodation en route.
Now, decide on your time frame and daily mileage, and adjust your plan accordingly.
The Case for Winging It
Love freedom and whim? Forget schedules and pre-planned routes: just pack your bike, pick a general direction, and go.
This only works if you have an unlimited, or at least a considerably large, amount of time for your trip. When your return date is unclear, you’re free to wander, get lost, explore, double back, or suddenly change direction with no restrictions. It’s a fantastic way to explore the world on two wheels in a very natural and organic way!
Plan Your Journey, and improvise, too!
There is no reason why you can’t mix and match. You can have a general plan, then change parts of it as you go along. Or, you can set out with no clear goal at all and then find yourself researching and planning your next moves. You can leave yourself 20, 30 or 70% of the whole trip open, or do it the other way round.
The important thing is not to limit yourself to your own choices. For example, if you see you’re rushing too much, why not slow down and explore the current country or region better instead? Flexibility is your best asset when you’re planning a journey, so whichever way you do it, make sure that it aligns with your priorities wishes and expectations.
Forget checking destinations off and start exploring!