1. Get informations about the country
We assume that you have already decided where to go and know how much time you have available. Now you have just to get as much information you can about the place, doing a search on the internet, reading magazines, buying travel guides and/or books about that country. Indulge and dream as much as you want reading the experiences of others... only later you'll have to be a bit more concrete.
When you've awakened from dreams, check the necessary documents to enter the country: passport, visa... I would suggest you also to study a few words of the local language to make you understand, to check whether it is necessary to have special vaccinations or if there are risks and/or alarms you do not know. More information you have, the more you will be prepared to deal with unexpected situations.
2. Determine your budget
Whether you're going on a bike trip around the world or for easy one-week vacation, determine your budget and make an estimate of your daily spending limit. This way you can much better evaluate your equipment and the trip in general: you will understand, for example, whether you will be able to afford to sleep under a roof or if it will be worth to carry a sleeping bag and a tent; if you go out to eat or if you will need to carry a camp stove and the food to be cooked; if you visit all the places of interest that you choose or if you will need to make a selection.
In short, knowing how much you can spend will tell you what kind of trip you're planning and how to program it!
3. Plan your trip
Here we are, of course: once you've decided where to go and you've realized how much you can spend, start planning in detail. You have to study the route, choose what to see and what to skip, where to go and where not to go. There is no one who knows you better than yourself, that's why only you can decide your pace, the daily kilometers to plan, climbs and descents, points of interest where to stop, etc ... however, please note that for sure the unexpected will be the true salt of the trip so do not fight them by planning everything, you may lose the best part!
4. Check your bicycle and your equipment
Now that you've programmed and planned what to do during your bike trip, you have to spend some time with your best travel companion: your bicycle! If you know a trusted mechanic it's time to visit him. Bring the bike to do a general check or, if you have a bit of familiarity, you can do by yourself the routine checks: brake pads, spokes, gear and chain are the main components to be checked but also steering, handlebar, saddle, frame and wheels deserve a bit of attention sometimes.
In addition to the bicycle you should also check your equipment: you will not want to spend some sleepless nights as you float in the tent after a shower because you did not want to open it at home to quickly check it? In addition to any camping gear, check your panniers or your bike trolley, the roof rack, your handlebar bag, all the technological accessories and everything that you're going to take with you. After fixing everything, make a full load trip test: it's not neccessary to stay around for days. Simply ride a route you know, close to home, just to notice any problem.
5. Get a travel insurance
Ok, you took care of your best travel companion and furnishings ... now you must also think of yourself! I strongly recommend you to get a travel insurance.
Yes, I know, the first thought that came to your mind is to bring down your hands under your belly and touch yourself energetically! Okay, now that you're done you can stop for a moment and reflect. Yeah, sure, I'm sure that nothing will happen to you and when you'll be back you'll think you have thrown away your money. But... what if something unexpected happens? Is the risk of getting into trouble worth ? Maybe it is better to rest easy and enjoy your holiday without worries and thoughts on your mind.
Furthermore, now there are also special insurance for sportive travelers in which you have special coverage on your bike or your luggage. Just google a bit to find the best company for you.
6. Learn a bit of mechanics
We are almost there! You're ready but among the things to do before going on a bike trip I would still suggest you a few: first, if you are not very practical with bicycle mechanics, you should learn a bit of it. Perhaps you can get some suggestion by a friend of you or, if you prefer and you think it may be something you're passionate about, you can take a course to learn the basics: replace a tube, change spokes, adjust the gearbox are the basics and if you have plans to travel to remote areas at least a minimum of mechanical self-sufficiency is desirable ... at least to reach the first bike shopwhere to ask for help!
7. Say hallo to family and friends
Have you not done it yet? Did you warn no one of your departure? Well, you should do it for two reasons: perhaps there are some friends or someone in the family that has already been where you want to go and will surely give you some useful information: there is always something to learn. Second, no less important, telling your family and friends of your departure is also a safety issue: if something goes wrong, back home there is someone who knows where you are and where to go and look for! Again I am sure that it is an excessive precaution, but it's better to overdo that not to care at all!
8. Forget everything and enjoy
Well, now that I have you lectured for good, I want to tell you one thing: forget everything I've told you so far, saddle up and enjoy... Because at the end this is what you are getting ready to face: an adventure by bike!
And I can assure you, there is no greater enjoyment of being on the road riding you're own bicycle, with the unknown in front ready to be explored! If you see it differently, you just have to comment below and tell us what are for you the things to do before going on a bike trip ... otherwise have a good trip!