Not sure the best forum for this....BCSB needs a trip planning forum.
My 19 y/o daughter is planning a 5 week backpacking trip through Europe with her friend, with Italy, Croatia & Greece being the primary destinations. Seeing as it would be her first time traveling further than downtown without us, and she's always relied on me for our vacation planning / execution, there's a bit of trepidation for us and her for when she touches down the first time in Italy.
So we decided to join her for the first week in Italy so she and her friend can get their bearings and used to things like navigation, train travel, language issues, finding hotels / hostels etc.
Once they are comfortable and ready to head out on their own, the fun begins. I'm planning on a 2 - 3 week motorcycle rental from somewhere in northern Italy, and touring Italy, through the Alps, and into eastern Europe (Slovenia, Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia etc.)
I'm looking for input from anyone that has done a European bike rental, and specifically in the countries above. I can search the internet for tons of information, but I'd like input straight for the horses mouth, and I know some of you guys have quite a bit of experience with this.
Some initial questions I have:
1. A rental place recommendation for a decent 2-up machine (R1200GS, R1200RT, K1600GT, Multistrada, etc)
- includes luggage (Top and side cases) and unlimited kms
- Good price, I've seen 7 day prices for these bikes range from €600 to €1300
- Preferably one that doesn't require a €3000 credit card hold damage deposit, I understand the need for it, but €500 seems more reasonable
- Insurance included
2. Did you bring your own riding gear, or rent gear?
- Since we will be "backpacking" the first week, bringing all our riding gear could be a pain. I was thinking maybe shipping it in advance to the rental location if feasible. I'd rather not rent gear.
3. What did you do with the luggage that you did not require on the bike while on the ride?
4. I'm thinking of camping at least some nights to save a few €s, however this complicates the gear situation. Is it possible to rent camping gear, or purchase cheaply? Would only need a tent and light sleeping bags & mats. As long as there is a cafe / bakery nearby for the am we'll be happy.
5. Any cost saving tips - my budget for this endeavor is $10k for the two of us. After flights, trains, and m/c rental this leaves ~$5500 which at current crappy rates is ~€3600 or €170/day for 21 days. That should be doable, especially in Eastern Europe where its cheaper. That doesn't include the damage deposit, which is why I'd like to avoid a €2500 credit card hold if at all possible.
6. Any other gotchas I haven't mentioned that you had to deal with.
7. Any not-to-be-missed roads, attractions, out of the way destinations etc.
Thanks in advance!