Have Bike, Will Travel: 3 Tips for Traveling Long Distances to MTB

So you want to go on a mountain biking trip? Whether it’s on your own or through a biking company, you’ll need to take some important steps as you plan ahead. Here’s a quick outline of what you need to do to set yourself up for the best trip possible.

Riding in Italy. Photo: Sergio Barboni.
Riding in Italy. Photo: Sergio Barboni.

Planning Your Trip

Once you’ve done your research and booked a trip on your own, or with a company/guide, you’ll need to take care of some important details. The first detail is how you’re getting there. If you’re flying somewhere with your bike, be sure to read the airline’s policies to see if there are any fees for checking your bike.

Photo: Jeff Barber
Photo: Jeff Barber

Some airlines, such as Southwest and Frontier, will even let you check it for free and just count it as one checked piece of luggage. (Note: You’ll want to get a case for your bike to prevent damage in the handling process. Click here to read more about packing your bike.) Airline policies, however, are always subject to change, so make sure to check online before you book. Shipping your bike is another option if you don’t want the hassle of lugging it around with you during the travel process. If you want to avoid the hassle altogether, then you can just rent a bike at your destination.

If you’re going out of the country, it’s imperative you have the right documentation. Whether it’s a passport or travel visa you’ll need to give yourself several months to secure all the right documents. Traveler’s insurance is also something you’ll want to secure, as many tour companies require proof of it.

Health and Vaccinations

Along with the fun and adventure of mountain biking come certain health and safety issues. Altitude sickness may be a risk if you’re mountain biking high in the mountains. It can happen even if you’ve never had it before, so it’s a good idea to pack some Acetazolamide and take it about 24 hours before ascent. Other tips for avoiding altitude sickness include eating light meals and avoiding overexertion… which can be hard if you’re mountain biking. You’ll also want to bring a medical kit with you if you’re not traveling with a guide who already has one. You’ll want to be prepared for any animal stings, scratches from a fall, blisters that will pop up, or anything more severe. Make sure to pack lots of sunscreen as well, and apply it regularly–especially when you’re sweating a lot during the day.


Depending on where you travel, you may have to get a vaccine. Make sure to do your research before your trip on a website such as MD Travel Health that will give you country and region-specific information and what vaccinations they recommend.

What to Pack

In order to ensure a fun, safe, and successful trip, you’ll need to bring good amount of cargo along. Here are some of the necessities you’ll want with you:

  1. A Hydration Pack: This will be riding on your back the whole trip, so make sure to find one that’s lightweight, durable, and comfortable.
  2. Spare Tubes, a Pump, and Tire Leavers: Flat tires are something you should expect, so you want to make sure you’re prepared for them. You’ll also want to pack chain lube, spare chains links, and a multitool to fix any unexpected damage to your bike.
  3. ID, Cell Phone, and Money: These items, along with your clothing and other basic gear, allow you to ride fully prepared and with confidence on your trip.
Photo: Syd Patricio
Photo: Syd Patricio

Before you go out on your next biking adventure, be prepared with these 3 tips. From getting proper vaccinations to bringing spare tubes, these tips will help you get prepared for the excursion of a lifetime.

Mike founded Sacred Rides nearly two decades ago in Fernie, BC, out of a love of sharing our world’s natural beauty, and (of course), for mountain biking. He is both a social and serial entrepreneur, and a loving father of three young kids. Constantly learning, Mike brings his fun-loving attitude to every aspect of life, and believes that mountain biking can (and should) be a force for good in the world. 
In addition to growing Sacred Rides to $1M+ in annual revenues, he also co-founded the international charity Bikes Without Borders and is the Dean of Social Enterprise at the Centre for Social Innovation.