So we spent nearly 4 months travelling with a van.
I still have mixed feeling about it.
I am going to compare the Pros and Cons to clarify between the van and the motorcycle for travelling:
- The driving on the motorhome is boring, there is no other way to say it. Very boring. On the motorbike, in another hand, the ride IS the main aim of the trip and is fun, exciting, sometimes scary but always amazing;
- Comfort is obviously greater while driving than on the motorbike though. Storms and strong winds can make the ride very miserable on two wheels;
- It is great to have you own kitchen and fridge/freezer… but on the motorbikes we can often find guesthouses with kitchen facilities;
- It is certainly more comfortable to camp with the van than with the motorbikes.
- Cost of travel is about similar as the campsites can be rather expensive in Europe. With the bikes we usually go to cheaper countries and the cost of accommodation is usually not too bad;
- The initial cost (buy a van/ convert it) is massive compared to investing in two small 250cc bikes;
- Storage is another issue with the van, while with the bikes they can fit in a shed;
- Travelling with the bikes, we often end the day in a guesthouse, in the heart of the village or town. So we can explore on foot. With the van, driving into old towns is not a good idea. Campsites are often miles out of town in the middle of nowhere, which means you still need an additional vehicle to get to places or to buy food;
- It is fine to camp and lounge with the van, but when the weather is consistently bad, sitting in a muddy campsite in the middle of nowhere, whether in Greece, Italy or France, is not much fun. With the bikes we can hole up in a guesthouse in much better comfort;
- The campervan crowd is not that friendly compared with the bikers. I found some of them really looking down at travellers in cheaper vans;
- Camping wild with the van you certainly have some comfort…. But wild camping with the motorbikes in far away places can be amazing.
- Last but not least: the feeling you get while travelling on a motorbike, of utter joy, does not compare with the van! Motorcycling is amazing!
In the end I suppose it is very much about personal preferences. In many occasions, I did miss my motorbike. So, the van is not out, yet, we will go out again with it next September for 5 or 6 months, searching for that eluding winter sun.
However, more long distance motorcycle trips will follow. I have a big project in the pipeline that could take us off for a year or more very far away!
But for now, we are off to South East Asia soon.
I have not been much in that region, only Vietnam, so I look very much forward to explore Thailand, Burma, Laos and Cambodia for four months.
We will mainly backpack using public transports, but I plan to rent two motorbikes in Burma to explore the country! So watch this space!