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Old 27 Jun 2012
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Europe Tour - 6 months

In the very beginning stages of planning a 6 month tour through Europe next year, and starting to think through some of the macro economics and high-level plans. Any advice and information on the below topics is greatly appreciated.

It will be my wife and I on two bikes. We live on the west coast of the US. I'm a dual US / FIN citizen; she is US. We are pushing 50 in age.

Thinking BMW F800 & F650. We've both had Rotax BMWs in the past. Maintenance would be easier being that the F8/F650Gs are similar. Though I'm not sure we'd really need that off-pavement capable bikes in Europe, eh? We are mainly off-road riders here. Leaning toward getting slightly used bikes here and kitting them up; and shipping to/from Europe.

We don't want to camp but some of the time; we don't need fancy. If budget would allow, not having to carry camping gear sure would be nice. Would $150 USD / day get us through, inclusive of fuel/oil/tyres/etc. I can do all bike maintenance.

Western Europe; Scandinavia; some into Russia; Baltics ... and then south. Probably not UK. Probably be up north July & Aug.

Thinking something like June-Nov, with the latter half in southern, warmer countries.
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Old 27 Jun 2012
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Hi Matloik,

Your trip sounds like it will be nice and relaxed, having 6 months to drift around Europe, perfect. Your timing is spot on too, doing Scandinavia/Russia in June/July and then heading south. There will be some chances to explore gravel roads in the north, they're pretty well graded and doable on road tyres in the summer.

It would make sense to have identical bikes to reduce the amount of spares you carry but you won't be far from the BMW dealer network in Europe so you may decide not to carry any.

$150 a day for 2 bikes sounds a bit low even if you're camping, hotels can be pricey in some countries you will pass through. Scandinavia especially. Luckily you will be able to stay in cabins there as almost every campsite will have them. They cost around 30-50 euros a night. There will be budget hotels once you're further south though and B&B's, I'd allow 50 euros a day for accommodation.

Fuel will be a big cost running 2 bikes as we're paying up to the equivalent of $8 for a US gallon, 1.50-1.60 euros a litre in Europe.

Petrol diesel fuel prices in Europe

If you average 200 miles a day at 50 mpg that will work out at around 28 euros per bike.

I guess you will not be cooking your own meals either so you will have to allow for that too. You're away for 6 months so you won't want to live on burgers so I'd guess at least another 30 euros a day.

That comes in at around 140 euros/$175 a day for fuel, food and accom. So I'd say budget for $200 a day for the basics and a little cash to spend.

When I travel in Europe I usually work on 50 euros a day for everything and I camp, and cook all my own meals. It's the hotels that bump the price up.

Good luck with your planning.
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Old 28 Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by matloik View Post
Thinking BMW F800 & F650. We've both had Rotax BMWs in the past. Maintenance would be easier being that the F8/F650Gs are similar. Though I'm not sure we'd really need that off-pavement capable bikes in Europe, eh? We are mainly off-road riders here. Leaning toward getting slightly used bikes here and kitting them up; and shipping to/from Europe.
Consider (2) F650GSs. From experience--I ride an 8GS in the US, and a 658GS in Europe--for 90% of Euro riding conditions, the F650 is more than adequate. It's smoother, and only lacks grunt & absolute top end of the 8GS. Fully capable of daylong 150 kmh (90mph) on autobahns if necessary, and more comfortable daily rider over secondary roads. Equally customizable for any difference in personal ergonomics between yourself & wife. (Unless your inner male "macho" requires the 8GS )
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Old 1 Jul 2012
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Russia is not easy due to the visa requirements so I have just decided to give it a miss. Scandinavia is gat, I am off there myself in a few days, only problem is its expensive!!!

Fuel is going to be your big cost and haotels are not that cheap either, but there are plenty of cam sites

Haves great trip
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Old 14 Jul 2012
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Some advice; read it and do whatever you like with it, but we ARE CURRENTLY DOING what you are planning to do, we are on a 65 day trip and so far we did: Belgium; Netherlands; Germany; Denmark; Norway; Sweden; Finland, Estonia; Latvia; Russia and for the moment we are in Ukraine. We are heading off day after tomorrow to Transnistria; Moldova; Rumania; Hungary; Slovakia; Czech Republic; Germany and then back home to Belgium.

So advice:

- Take both the same bike!!! First of all it's easier for parts, for maintenance and if something breaks and you don't know what it is use parts for one bike to test it on the other one. Works great! Also, you'll have the same pro's and con's of the bike so if you are more or less the same drivers, all should go fine.

- For the trip you want to do, basically you can do it one ANY bike you like, everything is paved if you wish. In some places it is even very, very hard to find off road pistes etc. So depending on how "wild" you want to go; be smart and go for a bike that you like, don't expect doing Paris-Dakar stuff in EU... (although you can, check out our website, but then we specially look for those kind of 'roads')

- Budget: Well, this is always a big item, also for us. If you stay in hostels or the really cheap hotels, you'll pay like 10€ pp for a night. If you like luxury and go to 4 star hotels, well you'll be in for at least 120€ a night set back. We took our tents with us, ending by sending them back home as after 45 days on the road we used them twice... So don't bother taking it with you unless you really enjoy camping, which we don't... Instead go to hostels, cheap hotels (booking.com is good for searching an area) or even better, be part of the couchsurfing community.

- Budget (2): Same goes for food: go to the supermarket and buy your stuff or go to expensive restaurants... make the balance yourself. Eastern EU is cheaper than the rest of EU, Norway is RIDICULOUSLY expensive for everything. We planned on doing the whole country in 3 weeks, ended up doing it in 2 just to save money as we did spend A LOT there for nothing. But it is absolutely breathtaking to ride there; so take everything from somewhere else before going there...

- Roads: Eastern EU and Russia the roads are 'bad' but anything with good suspension will do, 800 or 650; no problem. Highways are most of the time better there also. W-EU everything is better than most places in the USA... ;-) But then I guess you don't want to drive on the highways as they are really boring, just good to go fast from one place to another without seeing anything from the country.

So that's it for the moment I guess, you can always contact me for more info if you want and you can stay at our place for free for a night (or two) in Antwerp(en) - Belgium.

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Old 14 Jul 2012
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Originally Posted by lmhobbs View Post
Russia is not easy due to the visa requirements so I have just decided to give it a miss.
True, but nothing is impossible!
We got a regular tourist visa for 15 days with the bikes... just a lot of papers to get and to fill in... but then it gives you also a goo idea how it is at the border and stuff...

Anyways, if you want to know what you missed there, have a look HERE.
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Old 25 Jul 2012
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This is a good site looking for a room (Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland): Urlaub in den Alpen - Hotel, Pension, Ferienwohnung, Unterkunft, Skiurlaub, Wandern in Österreich, Willkommen - Tiscover

Let me know if you pass Vienna.
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