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Old 30 Apr 2008
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Location: Cork, Ireland
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RTW with Organised Tour/independently?

Hi there,

I am planning a RTW/Long Tour on a 4 to 8 months basis next year. I am looking at different options and I have come across a couple of websites specialized in organising Tour around the world...
Kudu Expeditions and adventurebiketour... The former seems a very well organised expedition company but you feel always in a rush to stay tight in the schedule and the later seems a more economical option. Would you have any feedbacks or would you know any other organisations ?

I am also looking at doing this independently but I dont want to travel alone. Would you have any experience to share? How easy is it to meet people who wants to ride the world? Is the choice of the bike important in terms of riding with others? How cheaper this option is compared to an organised tour?

Thanks for your help...
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Old 30 Apr 2008
Matt Cartney's Avatar
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Location: Edinburgh, Lothian, Scotland
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I have always been a fan of independant travel for a number of reasons (I do not aim to critisize package trips, they are just not for me).

Have never done package holidays because I always felt that the chances of being forced to share what should be an amazing experience with someone I didn't like were too high. They might not be very great, but imagine if there was someone you really didn't get along with, it would be awful!

If you are committing yourself to an adventure, half the skill (some would say battle!) is the trip organisation. Both before and during: getting the carnet, visas etc. where to stay that night, where to get that new tyre, how to get through this border, how to surmount this challenge or that obstacle. For me an adventure should always be a challenge, by surrendering a good portion of that challenge to someone else I would feel as though the adventure were a little less valid. I would, personally, feel as though I had not truly completed the adventure.

As an independant I have complete freedom as to where I go, who I travel with, what speed I go, how often I stop, what I eat, etc. etc. Being out on the road is essentially about freedom. By surrendering your itinerary to someone else you lose a huge chunk of this freedom.

To answer your question re: choice of bike. Yes, it does. I went to Norway with a couple of mates, they on an F650 and a Dakar, me on a 350 Enfield Bullet! They spent ages waiting for me (and, increasingly, not waiting for me!). It's a good thing to have a bike of similar performance to your co-travellers.

To sum up, I think doing a big trip can be a very daunting thing. It seems like a huge amount of organisation and risk to take alone. However, personally, I think if you take the plunge and commit to doing it independently, the feeling of achievement will be far greater than it would be if you were to join a package tour.

Just my opinion, each to their own!



*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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Old 30 Apr 2008
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Location: montana usa
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Organized tours

Try a short version like a week in the alps. This could give you a taste of what a group can be like. We have hosted groups of people for a short time where they all have a overriding goal and it can be majic. Mainly it would depend on who the tour hosting is done by. Myself I enjoy riding by myself and then meeting others in the evening to share experiences.
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Old 30 Apr 2008
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Thanks Matt for your answer !

I completely agree with you on most of your points. I never joined any organised tours in any of my holidays I plan. As you said part of the fun and the memories you build along the journey are made of these unexpected things.
Also the planning prior to the actual journey is very important and exciting...
I would definitely prefer to do this trip independently. But most of all I want to share this trip with people...and I am aware that it is that easy to meet up with people you are going to live with and to get along for months...
Hopefully HU helps...

So if anyone out there has a plan to ride the world in 2009, horizontaly, vertically or in any other directions, please let me know... One of the - following plans are the tops of my list :
- The now well known Western Europe - Mongolia-Russia- North America
- or Very top of NA to the bottom of South Ameria (TDF) ?
But I would be open for any other (good) plans.

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Old 1 May 2008
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Agree with everything said already ..... my preference would also be to travel independently.

Having said that, it would be better to go with an organised tour than not at all!
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Old 1 May 2008
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Like the others, and in no way am I disparaging others ways of doing things, but I would go solo. I tend to be a bit of a schizophrenic one day I want to ride hard and fast and just ride for the ride, the next or even later that day I want to go slow and see everything… This can be very hard to accommodate when riding with a group (e.g. 10 people that is at least 11 personalities [possibly 20 or more J] or moods or wants to deal with). Even for one day you have to match your riding style and wants with the others in the group, whereas when alone, you do not have to match riding styles (or moods), plus on a longer trip if you fall in love with a place (or person) and want to stay awhile then there is nothing to stop you. If you are ill you can stop without disrupting the schedule (or worse not stopping and risking your life – by not concentrating on your riding). I have also found that a single person or couple get better treatment at restaurants and borders then large groups (I guess it is just less stress for the people working so that gets passed on to you). Basically I say that alone you can be selfish, with a group you really have to be a team player.

I think it is good advice go on a short tour (like a week or two) with a group, see if you like it, then go for a the same amount of time alone and see what you like better. Then go that way… The third option is don’t book on a RWT with a tour group but book on to many short tours in different places around the world.. this could be the best of both worlds..

any way you cut it... good luck and enjoy

2000 Africa Twin
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Old 1 May 2008
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If you went on an organised tour, you'd miss out on all the fun I'm having right now trying to get my trip from Australia back to the UK sorted before these lovely people here deport me in about 2 weeks time. As Matt says, there's the Carnet, Visas, bike transport etc to arrange and thats before you even turn a wheel. As of right now, I don't have any visas arranged for India, Pak etc as my departure from Australia is going to be somewhat quicker than I originally anticipated. And I've never felt so disorganised in my life. But hey, that's half the fun of this malarky isn't it? The bike is at least on its way to Kauala Lumpar though.

And don't forget, it's also good to be able to pick and choose who you want to ride with as on an organised tour, you're stuck with the lot of them for the duration.

Also if you want to avoid dealing with the cost of obtaining a Carnet, I'd say head to the Americas as it's not required there.

Having said that, believe it or my bank is actually underwriting the security on my Carnet!! So after a few frantic phone calls and emails, my bill has gone from a potential £1800 down to £250- phew!

My little Vid: India/Pakistan

Suzuki DR650 SE: Ride it like ya stole it. Oh, somebody just did...

Last edited by MikeS; 1 May 2008 at 13:38.
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Old 1 May 2008
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Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
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My wife and I took a 3 week organized motorcycle tour in South America a few years ago and it was wonderful. Everything was taken care of for us.

Perfect when you are working full time and have limited time to plan/organize and also need to stay within a short vacation window.

It was exactly what we we looking for at the time: an introduction to South America and a very nice motorcycle ride.

We are now retired and travel on our own, as a couple, for all of the reasons Xander outlined.

I would add that when with a group, you are seldom approached by local people. A group can seem a little intimidating. You tend to miss the best part of travel; meeting people in their home environment.

When solo or as a couple you seem to become a magnet for local people when ever you stop. This is the essence of travel for us.
Bill Atchison
Red Deer, Alberta Canada
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