motorcycle 101 guides

Where to Sleep When Riding a Motorcycle Cross-Country

Where to Sleep When Riding a Motorcycle Cross-Country

Cross-country motorcycle trips are journeys that can help you learn more about yourself, life, traveling, and your motorcycle. Riders with reliable touring motorcycles and a passion for traveling often embark on cross-country motorcycle trips. These trips are opportunities for you to improve your riding, planning, and decision-making skills. When riding on the open road, you may encounter many challenges. One such challenge is finding a place to sleep during a cross-country trip. Luckily, there are many accommodations available to motorcycle enthusiasts that cater to different budgets and levels of comfort.

Do you like fancy hotel rooms, small motels, or camping out in the wilderness? Are you riding with a group of friends and looking for a house rental? Thanks to AirBnB, Boondocking, Dyrt, and others, booking an accommodation has become quite easy. However, if your motorcycle trips go awry, you may have to settle for the nearest place to sleep. This article covers every type of accommodation available during cross-country trips.

1. Factors to Consider When Choosing an Accommodation

Consider the following factors when choosing a place to sleep during a cross country motorcycle trip:


Figuring out how much you are willing to spend on a place to sleep can help shorten the list of possible accommodations. You can check the rates of hotels, motels, camping sites, motorcycle-only resorts, and glamping sites online to come up with a budget. During a cross-country trip, you will likely be staying at multiple places with varying rates. Plan your stays to ensure you spend wisely and get a consistent level of comfort throughout your trip.

Security & Parking

Make sure you choose a place that ensures the safety of your motorcycle. For example, motorcycle-friendly hotels offer a secure parking lot. In addition, make sure you are booking a hotel room in a busy but safe locality or area. Also, carry your motorcycle panniers or saddlebags with you inside the room to reduce the all risks of theft.

Amenities Available

Many riders embarking on a cross country trip prefer to rent hotels and motels for the facilities they offer, such as a comfortable bed, clean room, laundry service, shower, and bathroom. All hotels tend to offer these basic facilities, but the quality of service and per night charges might differ. In addition to these essential amenities, some hotels also provide other deluxe facilities or high-end services, such as unlimited WiFi, air-conditioning or heating, depending on weather, hot showers, indoor pools, complimentary breakfast or coffee, a built-in restaurant or bar, lounges for relaxation, and secure parking lots with adequate parking sports. then check all the services offered by the hotel before booking an accommodation. If you are interested in these deluxe facilities on the cross country trip, take your time searching the hotels offering the majority of these facilities. These hotels are high in demand so make sure you start looking early to make your reservation on time. Joining different social media pages or platforms to get recommendations. Once you find such a hotel, it is advisable to contact the staff before making your reservation. At times, the facilities mentioned on the websites are discontinued or unavailable.

On the flip side, if you are a motocamping enthusiast but are looking for a comfortable camping experience, choose a site that has facilities like electric hookups, laundry, heating, showers, an on-site diner, and a well-lit parking area in addition to clean camping spots. Motorcycle-only resorts, glamping sites, and privately owned farmlands with designated campsites readily offer these facilities. Search for campsites at the comprehensive websites of Kampground of America (KOA), use Google to search motorcycle glamping sites or resorts. Apps such as Dyrt, Reserve America, and HipCamp will also prove to be helpful.

On-Site Recreation

If you are looking for a more luxurious experience than just a place to crash, then make sure the hotel you are booking offers a range of recreational facilities, including a restaurant and bar built within the hotel, indoor and outdoor swimming pool, gaming zone, fitness and wellness center, sauna, tennis or squash court, etc.

Convenient Location

It is best to choose a place that is along your intended route. This will reduce the chances of arriving late, losing your accommodation, or having to pay extra for a room or campsite.

Flexible Booking Policies

When booking a room, look for hotels or motels that have flexible booking policies, allowing you to make adjustments in case of any delays.

Road Assistance

Knowing how prepared you are to handle a motorcycle breakdown is another important thing to consider. When embarking on a cross country motorcycle trip, it is important to carry a road assistance card and a motorcycle toolkit with you. If, for some reason, you miss these two essentials, it is advisable to look for a place that has motorcycle repair shops in close proximity.


Do you like wilderness, scenic views, or buzzing cityscapes? Some riders like to sleep in rustic cabins away from the noises of the city. Others prefer to sleep in cities or areas close to notable locations to use their riding time efficiently.

If you prefer amenities, security, and luxury, then opt for hotels. If you prefer flexibility, freedom, and the wilderness, then consider reserving a campsite or glamping site, or renting a rustic cottage or cabin. If you are working on a tight budget and don’t want to sleep on the ground, then opt for hostel rooms. You can use Airbnb, HomeStay, BeWelcome, Couchsurfing and similar online platforms to search for accommodations.

2. Accommodations During a Cross-Country Motorcycle Trip

After you have planned your route and taken all the factors listed above into consideration, make a reservation at any of the following locations:

2.1 Motorcycle-Only Campgrounds

Motorcycle-only campgrounds or resorts are becoming popular among riders. These sites are well-maintained, offer all the necessary amenities, have on-site restaurants with fresh food, and offer a place to mingle with other motorcyclists. Almost all motorcycle-only resorts offer beautiful scenery, allowing you to connect with nature without giving up all the comforts of modern life. Unlike other public campgrounds in national and state parks, there are no RVs and cars crowding the parking lot and camping site. This way, you don’t have to spend hours finding a secluded campsite. Motorcycle-only campgrounds have limited campsites, so you should reserve your space beforehand and learn about their policies for late arrivals to avoid losing your reservation. When deciding to stay at camping sites during your trip, make sure to equip your bike with high-quality luggage bags, a backrest, sissy bars, and safety accessories. 

2.2 Motorcycle-Friendly Hotels

During your trip, you will see many hotels and motels. Hotels are the most convenient accommodation option, especially if you ride through a city. However, not all hotels have secure parking lots. Plus, many hotels are located in cheap neighborhoods where theft is common. Hotels located in busy urban centers are not budget-friendly, forcing you to choose between safety or budget. It is recommended that you always choose a hotel that guarantees your bike’s safety and offers decent comfort.

2.3 House Rentals or Airbnbs

House rentals or Airbnbs are ideal if you prefer comfort, privacy, and security. Moreover, house rentals are the best option if you are traveling with friends or planning an extended stay. You can also work from house rentals since most include Wi-Fi and designated work areas. Also, the kitchen and grill areas allow you to cook your own meals. Make sure that the house rentals have a secure parking space or garage. Check the reviews and ratings of a house rental before making a reservation.

2.4 Rental Cabins

Many riders cut their cross-country rides short and choose to stay in the wilderness instead. You can find a rental cabin and spend time enjoying recreational activities, including exploring, hiking, nature walks, wildlife sightings, and swimming. Rental cabins also have kitchens so you can cook your own meals. Make sure to carry groceries with you before leaving to stay at a rental cabin and also plan where you will buy groceries if you run out during your stay. 

2.5 Public & Private Campsites

Public campgrounds are some of the most sought after motocamping sites as these areas offer some of the best motorcycle rides, allowing you to combine on-and-off motorcycle adventures. National parks, national forests, state parks, and their surrounding regions have specific camping areas where you can set up a tent and start a campfire. Due to the unparalleled scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, and surreal experiences offered by these public campsites, they attract tourists in a large number each year. Resultantly, all the public campsites tend to fill up fast even though they have primitive facilities and lack showers, laundry, potable water, and electricity. In some campgrounds, campfires are also not allowed. If you are interested in a public campsite, book your spot at least six months before you embark on your journey.

Private campgrounds include multiple amenities, including electricity, showers, potable water, and laundry service. Though private campgrounds are also beautiful, they are no match for picturesque national parks and their scenic geographical features. The cost of staying at private campgrounds is more expensive than private campgrounds.

3. Alternative Solutions When You Don’t Have a Reservation

Many motorcycle enthusiasts prefer not to reserve a place to sleep beforehand. They like to explore and improvise as they continue on their journeys. Not having a reservation gives you the freedom to alter your route whenever you want. However, last-minute reservations may backfire as hotels and campsites fill up quickly. Even if you have a reservation, factors like bad weather, a collision, a breakdown, natural disasters, and an incorrect odometer reading can prevent you from arriving at your intended destination. Try to find a place to stay before it gets dark. You should begin your search after 4 p.m. while there is still light to give you time to book a room or find a public campsite. If you are unable to find a proper accommodation, the following options are still available:

3.1 BLM Lands and Freedom Camping Sites

During a cross-country trip, you will find numerous BLM lands where dispersed camping is allowed, provided you adhere to the “no trace policy.” Even if you are not a camper, it is suggested that you pack a hammock with a rainfly or a camping tent. You can camp anywhere on the BLM lands. However, if there are any designated camping areas nearby, you will need a reservation. Some campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so make sure you check all the campgrounds nearby. If it is already dark, look for a BLM land on Google Maps and spend the night there. It is worth mentioning that most BLM lands are located in the Western U.S., which means there may be no BLM lands available if you live in the Eastern U.S.

3.2 Rest Stops

Sleeping at rest stops is legal and free, but you cannot set up a tent or a tarp. You are only allowed to use a sleeping bag. However, you do have access to bathrooms and clean water. Some rest stops also have small shops where you can buy food.

3.3 Private Farmlands or Ranches

Some landowners rent out campsites, cabins, or cottages to travelers. Compared to public campgrounds, it costs more to stay on private farmlands. Though farmland owners prefer reservations, they also accommodate travelers who drop in. These sites provide all amenities, including showers, laundry, and breakfast per request. The accommodations are well-maintained, allowing you to relax and recharge.

3.4 Couchsurfing

If you can find other motorcyclists near you, you can check to see if they will allow you to stay with them for a night or two. Forums like ADV Rider and Bunk a Biker are reliable platforms you can use to find other riders to stay with. You can also reach out to local riders on Facebook and Instagram or use couchsurfing apps like HomeStay and BeWelcone. Many locals may also be willing to accommodate you even if they are not motorcycle enthusiasts.

4. Takeaway

To ensure a safe and comfortable cross-country motorcycle trip, it is good to know where you will be spending the night. Sometimes, motorcycle cross-country trips can be unpredictable. You cannot foresee or plan for everything that may happen during your trip, but you can at least secure a place to sleep by being flexible, patient, and creative. Be prepared to pay extra for a last-minute reservation, ask locals for help and a place to sleep, and sleep at rest stops or hostels along the roads. Always pack a sleeping bag, tent, and hammock before embarking on a cross-country trip. Even if you make a reservation, you should be prepared in case you have to sleep on the ground. There are several aftermarket motorcycle parts and luggage options available at Viking Bags including sissy bars, crash bars, seats, fairings, handlebars, saddlebags, sissy bar bags, swing arm bags, tank bags, and backpacks.

Related Readings

Reading next

How to Sell a Financed Motorcycle
How to Sell a Financed Motorcycle

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.