You have the motorcycle. A lot of open road. And the freedom to go wherever you want.

So skip the security line and long waits at the airport and ignore the confines of a rolling cage - grab your to-go bag and head out on two wheels.

Don't misunderstand between taking a motorcycle vacation and taking your motorcycle on vacation. You can take your motorcycle on vacation, as the primary means of transportation, or take a motorcycle vacation which means you take your ride as the primary means of transportation but the whole point of the trip revolves around the motorcycle.

If you have never taken a motorcycle vacation or considered one but yet to roll the throttle on planning well that's the beauty of it - a motorcycle vacation requires far less planning than any other vacation because when it all comes down to it your vacation starts the second you leave home. A cruise along the coast? Riding the Badlands? A journey inside Zion National Park? That's the vacation and instead of traveling by tour bus or car you get a priceless thrill ride taken only by a few.

Of course planning helps - where do you want to go and how do you want to get there? You can take the highways or map out an unhurried trip through farmland and other laid-back roads hitting an ice cream stand or ma and pa restaurant along the way that gladly extends your trip for as long as you want.

Preparing for a Motorcycle Vacation

Like any extended vacation you need luggage to hold your clothes and other personal items. And one benefit to a motorcycle vacation actually comes with how little space you have. You don't have a trunk you can fill with 4 suitcases. Instead, you have limited space in the form of saddlebags, tank bags and sissy bar bags among other similar style luggage for motorcycles which forces you to pick the essentials and travel light.

But the persnickety need not worry. A number of luggage systems exist that you can adorn on your motorcycle and with a backpack that fits snug you can haul around a week's worth of casual clothing and your riding gear with very little problem.

Mounting a GPS device to your motorcycle helps you quickly find alternative roads to follow and of course prevents you from truly getting lost. Motorcycles do run out of gas. And, using a communication device allows you to talk with a fellow rider to alert him or her to an unplanned change in direction or a wish to stop somewhere.

Maintenance Needs

Depending on the length of your motorcycle vacation both in terms of time and miles we also recommend bringing some essential parts and tools for on-the-go oil and filter changes and to address any minor issues you might encounter. In one of your luggage compartments, bring along:

You can also map your route and plot the closest auto parts stores on your route. Some auto stores let you borrow tools and allow you to work on your bike in the parking lot and will dispose of your used engine oil.

Motorcycle Vacation Destinations

OK, so perhaps you want to go somewhere instead of just riding to and fro. While some riders pack their bags and head out to see what awaits, most motorcyclists actually ride to a destination which consists of one aspect of the motorcycle vacation while the getting there consists of the other.

A trip to the in-laws counts but if seeing New England in the fall has always been a desire or trekking through Yellowstone and seeing Mount Rushmore remain unchecked on your bucket list, RIDE THERE. You see and enjoy a lot more on two wheels because your focus turns to the road and your surroundings instead of the radio and other dashboard gauges. In many respects, you have a 360 degree view instead of the visual impairments you get inside a car. You will find the travel a more leisurely pace rather than the usual hectic race to "get there" and stopping to rest or just soak in the sights feels natural and easy compared to the cumbersome nature of a car.

The Road Less Traveled

Whether you have a planned destination or just enjoy the feel of the road, we ride out of enjoyment not necessity thus taking side roads and detours or even getting lost feels like a choose your own adventure instead of a time suck. Adventure riders head to the hills or somewhere off-road while the rest of us navigate through side roads and along other out-of-the-way gems far off the beaten path.

Because the point of the journey is not to arrive.